Monday, January 31, 2011

Love and Orangutan Twins

As Valentine’s Day approaches and red and pink hearts pop into view at every turn, I think about love and it’s many variations. Certainly when I say, “I love you” to my husband it’s very different than when I say, “I love double-stuffed oreos”. Wait, maybe another example, different than when I say “I love March Madness”. There that’s a more diverse comparison. (Sorry honey!)

When I heard about a blind orangutan giving birth to twins I couldn’t get to the article fast enough. Orangutans only give birth every eight years on average and twin births are rare. Not only was it love at first sight when I saw the pictures, but from my point of view this gorgeous girl loves motherhood. Look at the contentment in her eyes. Mom is blind. She can’t see the objects of her affection but she can touch them, hold them, she knows they’re there. Here’s the link to see this amazing new family.

This reminded me of a short that I wrote some time last year. About a love, a connection, two very different mothers felt.

When We Meet

When we meet, I notice your skin first, pale and butter smooth; so unlike my own, rough and walnut hued. Our eyes meet and we seem to lock in a child's 'who blinks first game' - your misty blue eyes focused on my amber ones. As we stare in silence, I begin to notice the details. Rings of flaxen hair wrap your face in sunlight. Eyes dipped in sorrow rest close above a delicate nose. You seem to be studying me as I do you.

Dark nudges away the light and I think about the time, aware that the gates will close at any moment and you will be asked to leave. Something is making it hard for you to turn away, as if there is something you need to share but can't. I want to ask you to return but I know you won't understand, so I try to communicate with my eyes, hoping you see my wish in them.

Before you turn to leave, my friend Barney comes to your side and I turn my ear to the conversation.

"You come here a lot, don't you?" Barney asks.

"Yes, I do." You wrap your arms around your chest in a hug. "I'm quite drawn to her."

"Our orangutans are pretty popular." Barney glances at me and then tilts his head toward you as if he has a secret to share. "But, she's a favorite of many."

Your thin lips tilt up in a weak smile. "I have so many questions."

"Please, that's what I'm here for." Barney points to the Zoo Volunteer patch on his shirt.

"She looks sad. Is she?"

"Gema is a bit sad. She's mourning the loss of a baby."

I watch as your face changes. Your lips quiver and tears start to spill from your lower lids.

Barney gently touches your arm, "I'm so sorry, miss. Was it something I said?"

"She and I have a lot in common," you say.

You rest your narrow fingers across your belly and I do the same.

Now when I see you again, I will look at you through new eyes. We are different, yet in many ways one and the same. Your heart beats to a rhythm much like my own. You eat, you sleep, you play, you bleed. You form relationships, you have arguments, you reconcile. You are tender to those you love and harsh towards those who anger you.

You love, you mourn . . . you love again.


So, my oft stream of consciousness rambling wandered down a few paths but hopefully all leading to the same message. Love can and does come in many different packages and here’s hoping you all get a heavy dose today and always.

Sealed with a kiss,


By the by, P.S. and all that stuff: I'm hoping the fact that I'm writing this two weeks in advance of Valentine's Day will distract readers from my inconsistent blogging. I'll do better, I will. It's a new year after all!