Looking For the Joy

It has been a while, friends. Two months. I know this because two days after my last post, my department suffered an unspeakable tragedy. Two months. And I still can’t speak of it. Not yet. Looking at the image on Time’s website, I can barely breathe. The snake I am holding in the photo died the next day despite our best efforts. Such a stupid phrase, really.  Despite our best efforts. As if we would give an animal in our care less than our best. The snake I was training on in my last post is gone. And it’s hard.

Moving on for the moment. Because I have to. The last couple of months has been a series of tests and more tests and inspections and questions and answers we don’t even have, and if I focus on it too hard, I’ll never be able to get out of bed. So I am looking for the good. Because it’s always there if I look. When I get to feeling sorry for myself, it’s easy to get sucked into the vortex of despair. So I am choosing good today.

Here’s what’s good in my life, what brings me joy. The little things that make every day worthwhile. Click to enlarge and to read the captions.

There are other things, too, things that are not possible to capture in a photograph. The zoo guests who stop us in our work and tell us how sorry they are for our loss, the people who come each week as volunteers to help meet Al’s need for attention. My daughter, upon learning her cousin didn’t have an officiant for her upcoming wedding, takes it upon herself to become ordained online. She is now a card-carrying, ordained minister in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. That’s right. The Girl-child is now a Pastafarian. Our kids inherit our eyes, our hair, and our genetic garbage. It brings me great joy that mine has also inherited my off-beat sense of humor. And she’s available to perform weddings if you’re looking to get hitched. Who wouldn’t want to go to a wedding where the keepsake is a package of Ramen noodles?

What brings you joy today?

30 thoughts on “Looking For the Joy

  1. One of the worst days of my life was when my local pet store burned to the ground. I had decided to buy a box turtle and went home to make a list of the things he would need and then get them, and him, the next day. But the fire happened that night. This isn’t on the same level as your loss of endangered species but I get how much it hurts.

  2. So very sorry to hear about your loss and the world’s loss. Now’s the time to pick yourself up and carry on doing what you do — they need you. Your examples of what makes you happy are all lovely!

    • Thank you. Yes, it’s time to move forward. We won’t ever know the exact toxin that caused it all, but we have taken that building off-line for good. It’s just not worth taking a chance.

  3. I am so saddened by your news. I can feel your grief. I hope that by sharing, you have lightened your load some. Thank you for doing that.

    And thanks for the giggles, too – Pastafarian. *snort*

    • Thank you. It was a hard loss. It has felt like a secret I’ve had to keep. One day soon I’ll blog the incident.

      And my kid really does make me proud. She is an oddball, and I LOVE it!

  4. We were watching a movie this weekend and there was a pleco attached to the glass. I said, that’s a plecostomus and Bill looked at me, so I said, the fish on the tank…a plecostomus…an algae eater…he said oh and went back to the movie..ha I’m sorry for your zoo’s loss. How horrible. Why is meatball’s head a different color than his siblings? He is a cutie tho. Big Al..I never would have thought a reptile would be so lovey with a human. He loves you and that’s very very cool.

    • Plecostamus are amazing. This guy specializes in eating dead wood. He eats some algae, but driftwood makes up a lot of his diet.

      Meatball’s head is a different color just due to chance. The mom’s head has more black, the dad’s is more yellow. There’s a natural variation.

  5. I’m so very sorry about the loss of your reptiles. I know how upset we get when we have an outbreak of something at the shelter; at least, we usually know the cause. I can’t even imagine what you guys are going through as you search for a cause. I’m just so, so sorry.

    On a brighter note, congratulations to your Girl-child. May all her brides, grooms, et al., be touched by the FSM’s Noodly Appendage. 😉

  6. Oh my dear friend. I am so grieved to hear of your loss. ❤

    What brings me joy today? Seeing your smiling face all cuddled up close to Big Al's!

  7. I’m so sorry for the loss of such precious creatures, and the stress you are having to endure. My situation is much less serious–we, grandparents with a 10-year-old granddaughter living with us, are moving about two hours away from where we’ve lived for the past 18 years, partly to have more space for raising a child. At 72, I find this quite a challenge, but I’m up for it, in good health, and excited about our new home and new adventure. But the job of getting from here to there is daunting, to say the least! My granddaughter’s other grandma told me the other day that she’s seen enormous growth and improvement in C., and she gives me all the credit. That helps a lot. It’s a gift to be able to do it, and I pray I remain strong and healthy enough to see her well launched.

  8. I’ve missed you here, and not seen you much on Twitter, either. Had no idea y’all had lost a snake. So Sorry.

    Glad you’re back; I’m gonna look more carefully through the pics now for Meatball and Big Al.

    And congrats on your ordained Pastafarian! 🙂

  9. You, your post, your healing, your perseverance… they bring me joy today. You know, I am in a dark trench too. Different reasons, but when it’s dark, sometimes it’s hard to find the light switch. Yes, look for joy. Do it however and wherever you can. This has been such a huge and tragic loss; it will take more than time, my friend. Hold on and look for ramen. xo

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