“He was a killer, a thing that preyed, living on the things that lived.”
― Jack London
There comes a time when the mask of civilization falls. When the soft creatures of home reject human love and embrace their beastly nature. The ancestor awakens, and he is claws and teeth and predatory rage.
That’s Bullet making a crazy face at me. He’s not even mad. I think he was just meowing, and the camera caught his mouth at a funny angle.
But I like to pretend this is a bit of prehistoric lion peeking out. I love these little reminders of the wilder world among us. For me, they are few and far between; I’ve lived in the city for about sixteen years now.
Wildlife is rarely on the menu here. I see the occasional snake, turtle, or possum, but that’s about it.
This is more the norm:
I didn’t photoshop this to make him cuter. He turned himself into an anime character out of sheer will.
My exploration of domesticated wild things continued with a walk to the local land trust. There I took a meeting with Big Lou, an emu who lives on the grounds. This is his foot:
LOOK AT THAT FOOT.
Oh, the things I could do with a foot like that. The possibilities are endless. I could:
1) kick things
2) claw things
But is it even called a foot? *googles “what are a bird’s feet called?”*
Yep, they are called feet. But maybe emu and ostrich feet are something different…
Nope, still feet. And yes, I just googled “parts of an emu” hoping for a diagram with labels in the results. There were three.
Anyway, back to the foot. I bet we’re thinking the same thing. Dinosaur!
Check out that big orange eye set against his light blue skin—how alien! How beautifully prehistoric! He even has a natural mohawk. I think it was my date with this gorgeous emu that turned my mind to dragons and got me writing about Vemrithrax.
I must have watched for a half hour as Big Lou clicked his beak at me. (a nearby sign says he is begging for grapes)
Our tendency to humanize our animals can make us forget the wild parts. I’m not saying it’s important to remember, but it can be a fun eye-opener when they remind us.
Random snakes, Bullet’s growling, Big Lou’s crazy dinosaur foot… they make me appreciate our coexistence with the wild. The asthmatic furball sleeping on the couch next to me has an ancient beast within. A very tiny one, but I like knowing it’s there.
What about you? Have your animals ever heard the call of the wild? Any sudden reminders of the thin green line between us and the beast? Those of you living near a big forest will have better stories than me.
This mother and her annoyed daughter certainly do: