It probably won’t surprise you that I am not a terrific rule-follower.
Like, even with flowers.
Christmas is one of my favorite times of year for a flower that actually represents springtime.
Red ones, and red and white ones, bursting and over-bursting (my favorite stage of tulip) from a great holiday-green shade of stem… Oh baby… Count. Me. In.
Once I stuck a bazillion (okay, maybe a couple of dozen) red tulips all willy-nilly in a massive twinkly-lit pine/spruce/holly garland that hung on the fireplace mantle. It was gorgeous! And also quite the conversation starter… “Are those……tulips?!”
Why yes, yes they were.
Because wHy not?
And most people, most by far, loved the idea!
But one particularly rules-based person actually made a ‘humpf’ face, very similar to the one that Jane Kangaroo makes in Horton Hears a Who (“and the small kangaroo in her pouch said ‘humpf’ too!”) anyway, the kangaroo lady said the most passively condescending word she could come up with at the time…
It was pretty funny.
I actually think she was kind of pissy at the thought of tulips being displayed in the evergreens at Christmastime. It was clearly some sort of etiquette breach. Perhaps this lady felt particularly anti-Dutch that year.
That’s probably it, now that I think back.
Because she wasn’t wearing wooden shoes.
But the big thing was that I liked them.
My house. My rules.
Christmas tulips for all!
But that’s the thing, isn’t it?
Me being me, you being you.
More easily said than done, as they say, in a world full of people working very hard to convince us to be more like themselves, or how they want us to be, or perceive us to be… or need us to be.
I’m kind of a big fan – like the biggest fan – of those who stay true to themselves in a world of seven billion humans (and who knows how many other species (I got really tired just counting the humans)).
*side note: In order for me to be your fan, you probably want to be true to yourself but also you will want to be nice to you fellow humans, and probably not a psychopath. Because I’m pretty sure that Nero, Hahn, and Dracula were being true to themselves but I am decidedly not a fan.
So I was thinking about this as I took a pic of my tulips this morning (welcome to my brain) and I decided that, since New Year’s Day is right around the corner, I needed to do something big.
Like, pick a spirit animal!
You know, an animal totem. One that reflects my lack of rule respect, and can guide me to many good things. You know, spiritually and stuff.
Way better than a boring old resolution, right?!
Anyway. Since I have not stumbled across a live flying pig (yet), I have decided…
I love the platypus.
When we lived in Australia, I hung out with platypus/platypi/platypuses/platipeople (allegedly (by me) google says I can use those interchangeably) at the Healesville Sanctuary, on many occasions. And, since they can live into their early twenties in captivity, maybe I met that one. Right there. Could totally be true!
I used to say I loved platipeople because they wear their identity crisis right out loud.
Now I love them for that, but also because they just make who they are work.
They are so improbable.
Firstly, they are one of only two mammals that lay eggs.
The other is the echidna, but I’m only telling you that so you think I am wicked smaht, biologically speaking.
The other strangenesses? The platypus is not a bird, but has a beak (it’s soft and feels like leather), and they can actually keep their eyes and ears and noses closed while they swim because their beaks are shark-y and have receptors in them! They move their heads from side to side under water, receiving electrical impulses with their beaks, that tell them when their food stuff is close.
Oh, also? They have a beaver tail for steering and webbed feet and the males have a little venomous spike-y thing on their leg. And the webbing on their feet retracts a bit to reveal claws when they want to dig burrows on land. Oh! And their fur is as soft as a mink coat (not kidding, I’ve touched one) and the babies are only the size of a lima bean when they hatch, after hanging out for only ten days in their eggs.
Back in the late 1800s, British scientists actually thought it was a hoax! (“It naturally excites the idea of some deceptive preparation by artificial means,” George Shaw, 1799.)
Breakin’ the rules, but rockin’ life anyway.
I think he is representative of so many of us.
Of most of us, actually.
We are all, in a way, improbable.
We are all, also, kind of magical.
Wait did you just get all cynical on me?
Take this, your brain:
You began as a single, microscopic orb.
You made a whole bunch more orbs and soon, you could be seen with the naked eye.
And then you became a baby human.
And you grew up on a pretty spectacular, slowly rotating sphere that gave you everything you needed to survive.
And every 365 days or so?
You get to celebrate a spin around a star.
Sounds pretty magical to me.
So there you go.
You, me, the platypus….
Free to be us.
Rockin’ it in the Milky Way, our way.
And this year, I’m celebrating my spin around the star by choosing him as my spirit animal.
Oh, don’t worry. It’s just a placeholder…
(I’m still holding out for the flying pig).
Happy New Year’s week, 2015 everyone :))
As always, come on over to Just Ponderin’s Facebook page to comment ❤