Thursday, May 01, 2008

May Day

Today I hit my head on a tree branch because I was chasing a duck. The duck was new and frightened, and when the gate swung open and offered a moment of escape, she bolted. I chased her around the large yard. We made several laps. J was shouting, "grab her neck!", but I was too timid. I am always afraid that I will hurt a bird. Or even if I am not worried about causing injury, I worry about causing distress. It must be frightening to be grabbed swiftly by the neck and then enfolded in a human's arms.

I have been thinking about humaness. Not humanity, but rather the characteristics of a "human." We went to LACMA to see the new contemporary art wing and the "Sightings" exhibit (both of which were really great), and I found myself hyper-aware of expressions of "humaness." It was like a series of rapid-fire disruptions (in a good way), but I was absolutely rattled and raw by the time we made it down to the bottom floor of the Broad where the two Serra sculptures made me feel utterly terrified.

After hitting my head, I thought it best to try and herd the duck back into the enclosure rather than continue trying to catch her. After many more laps around the yard, she tentatively waddled into the grassy, fenced area. J scooped her up, and we both gently parted her wings so we could inspect her back, which was featherless and appeared to be injured. The area was dark with scabs -- a large one in the middle and then a scattering out to the side. What did this? Another bird? A human? J held her while I applied a few drops of colloidal silver to her skin. Then we put her on the grass and it was time for me to go home and shower and ready myself for the next part of my day.

1 comment:

K. Lorraine Graham said...

I'm excited about the new wing of LACMA--your description of the show moves it to the top of the list when I'm next in LA.

Mark and I talk about humaness and the concept of what it means to be a person a lot--it's a question, I think, that has to come up if you spend a lot of time around animals and you're paying even just a little bit of attention. Lester is so attuned to himself, and to Mark and I, and frankly everything around him, that it's not an accident. He's social.

is this real?