Panda's First Smile

Panda's First Smile
PandaPig's First Smile!

Monday, February 22, 2010


One day last summer when Sami, Chai's girlfriend, was visiting us from Seattle, an unusual thing happened. A brown creeper flew to the window next to where the two were lounging on their big blue chair. He stuck his little toenails into the screen and remained there,  staring at them calmly through the open window. Both cats were baffled!  Mom had never seen a brown creeper at the feeder, much less clinging to our window screen! Even her art/spiritual friend and neighbor, am, later remarked she had never seen one do that, either, and she has lived here a long, long time.

So, this was EPIC! I watched from my cage next to their chair while Sami and Chai bonded over their exhilarating discovery. It was then I understood that they truly missed one another because, frankly, guinea pigs don't find brown creepers electrifying.

Kale electrifies us.

Brown creepers...not so much.

Mom and Edwin watched the 2 cats and recognized they could not be kept apart much longer. Since mom had become too ill to walk Chai outside around the nature sanctuary as often as he preferred (twice daily: in the morning to see where the raccoons had peed during the night and in the evening to look for the doe and her deerlings; her fawns found him curious and would approach cautiously, sniffing him while he remained motionless until finally gesturing his trust by slowly rolling over on his spotted back to reveal his velvety, bright orange pumpkin-belly: a sign of vulnerability that signaled safety to the yearlings.)  He grew excited every afternoon towards nightfall with anticipation of adventurous wild deer encounters!  But mom could no longer walk him. They both felt sad because mom loved watching Chai and his young deerFriends as she sat still, breathlessly, on the nearby grass as the day turned into night.  Those moments felt infused with Magic!  And then they came to an end.  Mom could not explain why to Chai.

So, after the brown creeper incident, Chai moved down to Seattle to live with Sami and Edwin. And no one has seen a brown creeper since. Only kale.
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I don't know if it's because of all the Olympics excitement, or meeting lots of new animals, or maybe that he still lived here with Mom when I first moved in last spring and was scared and he comforted me, but I miss Chai today.

Maybe because I've heard mom say his name a lot over the phone with Edwin who, after nearly ten years, continues to be amazed by the unexpected, sometimes mischievous, always brilliant things he does, but I miss my friend so much today.

Perhaps it is because guinea pigs are fun to be with, and mom loves us, but Chai gave me a sense of Wildness that domestic animals do not possess. Perhaps I miss him because he is Chai, and that is Why.
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"Our task must be to free widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty."
- Albert Einstein
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Video | Short track: Ohno sits down with Costas | NBC Olympic

After consulting with the United Guinea Pig Skating Federation, we are all in agreement that there was lots of pushing and impeding (read: cheating) going on to keep our Apolo from his gold medal in every race. LOTS 'O CHEATING! But we piggies are impressed by his calm, cool demeanor, his grace under fire (on and off the ice) and complete lack of bitterness towards the athletes who robbed him of certain Gold. He's well put together, inside and out.

Two races remain and they are going to be a FLYING CIRCUS! If you've never seen a short-track relay, think of Tribes from the Land of Total Chaos wearing Samurai swords on their booted feet changing partners, pushing, shoving, some intended, most not, and a melee of indescribable, total, COMPLETE UNPREDICTABILITY on ICE! Some call it pure madness. Because, frankly, it is!

Kind of like the last man standing wins: sliding, skating, flying. Whatever it takes to cross that finish line.

We of the Guinea Pig Nation wish the U.S. Speedskating Team Godspeed!