Imagine that

by Andrea Mulder-Slater 

"Mom! Mom! Come look at this!” 

The four year old was standing at the window – something wildly fantastic had caught her attention. Again.

“Maaaaawwmmmmm! Come look! Mom! Look!” 

I stood up from my chair for what felt like the four hundredth time that hour. It had been a busy day of discoveries for the littlest one in the house. As usual, my daughter’s imagination had been running wild – her detections shared with excruciating diligence.

First, there was a carrot that looked like a harbor seal.

“Let’s never throw this out! Never!”

Then, a pile of cracker crumbs which resembled a dog snout.

“I have to show Nana!”

A heart-shaped piece of toilet paper…

“Put this with your collection mom.” 

(For the record, I do collect toilet paper. Don’t ask.)

And, a day-old banana with an indisputable likeness of a baby Komodo dragon emblazoned on its spotty peel.

“Let’s take a picture of this with our brain heads.”  

Back to the window and to the kid, shaking with excitement...

Please, for the love of god, let it be a UFO, or a buffalo, or a chimpanzee. At the very least, let me witness Jay Z and Beyonce sailing by on a yacht when I look through that glass. My thoughts raced as I reluctantly stumbled to the living room - my body aching after having slipped repeatedly on the creative juices being spilled all over the floor.

“Do you see them? my fair haired girl queried softly, Aren’t they beautiful?”

Snow wrens were pecking away at the ground below our bird feeder. Tiny brown feather puffs busily gathered seeds and whatever else it is that snow wrens eat. While three worked away, oblivious to their surroundings, a fourth was standing guard on a pile of dirt left over from our home construction.  

“That’s the daddy bird.” explained my daughter – her eyes full of wonder.

I smiled at her, and slowly lifted my eyes to the water to begin scanning for celebrity ships. It was then that something danced across my peripheral vision.

After turning my head towards the movement, I shrieked, “Never mind those birds! Look at THAT bird!”

An ostrich was wandering slowly across our front yard. Strolling, if you will.

DO YOU SEE IT???!

Okay, so it wasn’t an ostrich (and I wonder where the kid gets it) but it was a bird - a brown bird. And… it was huge. Freaking enormous!

It took a moment for my daughter to distinguish the wild turkey from his (her?) surroundings, but once she did, the dancing and shouting reached a fevered pitch.

That's a big effing bird, right?!

“There’s a turkey walking down our path!” I shouted to no one in particular, which was appropriate since no one in particular responded.

Geoff and Jan - accustomed to hearing about alligators in the bathtub and penguins in the sandbox - didn’t flinch, until the littlest one started dancing and bellowing my words on repeat, “Nevermind those birds, look at that bird! Nevermind those birds, look at that bird!”

And on it went until three adults and one child stood quietly on the front deck, watching a royal lump of a bird meander around the property, stopping only momentarily to glance at our four faces staring back at her (him?) before disappearing into the brush.

Shortly after I took this shot, a falcon flew over my head. 
Apparently I live in an animal sanctuary. Or hell. Whichever.

The moral of this story is -- always listen to your children, because you never know when the gargantuan imaginations that reside within their tiny bodies will lead you to a Wild Kingdom experience in your own back yard.

Also, I need to know... Are wild turkeys aggressive? Because, you know, I haven't been outside since.

No, really.

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