After almost having to put my head in between my legs so as not to puke, we made it to Dallas. Traffic was a little rough. I preferred to read the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter novel loaned to me by a friend than pay attention to the road. Vampires ripping apart a gigantic man-eating cobra was FAR less frightening than feeling the g-force of Drew slamming the brakes MULTIPLE times to avoid rear-ending people. (My husband drives like it's Nascar every day.) Never-mind the adrenaline-inspired sweat on my hands or the thoughts of impact causing an exploding airbag to shatter my glasses and bloodily take out my eyes. (I hate my imagination sometimes.) We made it!
A couple of things you need to remember if you're ever going to drive into Dallas on a Saturday afternoon:
1) Be prepared to stop at ANY moment without warning on the highway--this is especially true at exits.
2) Bring some cash just in case you can't find the credit/debit card machine at the parking lots. You'll have to pay at least 5 bucks to park anywhere within walking distance of the cool places, like the aquariums.
3) If by chance you are lucky and can park somewhere free, sometimes all the spots are gone. Never fear. Just go drive around the block a couple of times, and by the time you come back, there will be at least one spot open. Dallas people are always on the go, always moving.
4) Depending on where you go, if you go anywhere near the Angelika Theater or Urban Outfitters, remember you are in Snobsville where all guys wear Abercrombie and all women weigh approximately 14 lbs, half of that being their gigantic bug-like sunglasses. Be sure to binge and purge all your meals for a week before appearing on the scene.
Now all that said, you're ready for a nice day in Dallas.
The aquarium was very cool, as usual. Except for the Abercrombie-wearing nit that spilled his beer on my foot (yes, you can get beer at the Aquarium). Oh, and the bird that pooped on Drew's shoulder and hair. I tried not to laugh as I wiped the purple crap from his hair and shoulder, I really did. Tried and failed miserably. XD (I love you, Drew!)
I was able to snap some pretty amazing pictures of the world's exotic creatures. This picture is of a sting ray.
I was in a tunnel of glass, and the creatures were swimming all around me, and I was able to catch it right above my head. Doesn't it look like it's actually flying through the forest???? I thought the snap-shot was delightfully bizarre!
Anytime I'm lucky enough to be around a flamingo...
...or a tiny dart frog...
...or a shark...
...I feel the interconnectedness of it all. We're all alive! All of us, whether we swim, fly, climb, or burrow--we're all the energetic extensions, the sentient inhabitants of this great planet. Even the bird-eating tarantula with its silky brown skin and bulbous body, was somehow like me, I sensed. Sure, if I had seen it crawl out from under my couch, I probably would have busted a hole in the wall trying to get out of the room and would have bought a shot gun and started looking for another rent house. But bear with me, seriously for a moment. When I knew that it couldn't on-instinct hurt me, that I was safe with the pane of glass between us, I felt that we shared something similar. It, like me, is merely living for its brief time on Earth. It doesn't gripe about its circumstances or complain about the food its being served. It just lives. As does the jaguar, so gorgeous in its spotted pelt. The massive cat sleeps when it's sleepy, eats when it's hungry, and plays when it feels like playing.
Life is so profoundly simple for animals.
Why can't it be for us?
Somehow in our growing intelligence we humans have forgotten how to live in the moment. We've made leaps and bounds in technology and art and medicine, but we've somehow left behind the art of living just for the day.
But we haven't lost the ability. After leaving the aquarium, I remembered. That once-forgotten sense of life now thriving in my heart, I felt at peace. When I ate dinner, I didn't think about work or worry about getting all my errands done tomorrow or judge the person at the table next to me for being too loud. Instead, I savored every bite of my food. I looked into my husband's eyes and went nowhere else in my mind but into those green orbs. I tasted every sip of my drink and listened to and appreciated the lively sounds of other living humans talking and laughing around me. And it was indeed a lovely dinner.
Thank you, animals! And may you continue to inspire people to return to today, because if you really think about it, readers, today is all we really have.