Pictures of penguins are sledding across the interwebs ike penguins on ice (see how they sled on their bellies), and it seems imperative that I share my first whoah, yaaas penguins!
Where the penguins were kept was a glassed-in hallway I usually walked through quickly to get to my pal Chuckles, the Amazon river dolphin at the Pittsburgh Aquazoo.
I like to watch Chuckles eat lettuce; growing up in Pittsburgh in the '70s who doesn't remember Chuckles eating lettuce or playing with his plastic ring toys? So fun. He had a smile on his face.
I was reading Madeleine L'Engle's science fiction at the time and had convinced myself that Chuckles and I could kythe. (Or grok, if you are a more of a Stranger in A Strange Land fan.) There was an intuitive two-way understanding between me and the dolphin and I knew he would tell no one if I asked him telepathically would he be my friend? The kythed answer was, Lettuce.
And, of course! Yes.
The penguins had rocks in their domain made out of white plastic to mimic their Antarctic home. The hallway was very cold. A zookeeper in a parka was feeding them fish from a bucket on this day that I remember.
The penguins would zip under the water of their rectangular Western Pennsylvania pool leaving a bubble stream in their wake and pop like corks onto onto their ledge of white plastic. It was so beautiful the way they moved in the water. Like Baryshnikovs. And so funny, the way they moved on land.
If you can't be great at everything, they seemed to say, be great at one thing. What's yours?