Finding Yourself A Favourite

I’ve found my new favourite animal.

Who would not be mesmerized by those lacy driftings? They are a meditation.

Looking like a celestial body against a background of stars, these animals carry infinity.


The other utterly fascinating animal I know is an insect. I have seen it once and observed it at length. I was picnicking on a gravel building site when it flew in. Fairly unprepossessing – it was black, narrow and about two centimetres long – it was what it did that truly ensnared me. After settling on the ground and ambling around for a bit, it stopped. Suddenly its front legs became a whir of motion. Minuscule clouds of orange dirt began spurting out behind it. It was digging! What a fantastic creature.

And now I have found jellyfish. I say they’re my new favourite but I don’t actually have favourites.

When I find something extraordinary, I savour the pleasure and excitement by verbally marking it. Doing so stakes the experience. It doesn’t denote hierarchy. I will always cherish hummingbirds, penguins and that insect.

Accumulating ‘favourites’ adds to the richness of life by acknowledging that there is a continuous supply of things that surprise and delight and captivate.

San Francisco’s Aquarium of the Bay holds other treasures too.

Small, shiny fish, packed like their cousins in a tin, swim, noses to the current, around and around a huge cylinder. Occasionally a renegade takes a sudden vertical dive, pulling horizontal just before hitting the bottom. Such individuality is startling until one considers that it must be programmed or evolutionarily selected – these are fish after all.

All sorts of shenanigans happen in the turtle pond. Enough said.

Of milky eye and rounded tongue:

Not strictly an exhibit, this dabbling toddler was, nevertheless, a highlight for me.


Go on, find yourself a new a treasure.


My aquarium ticket was included in my city pass which gives free passage on trolleys, buses and cable cars.

12 responses to “Finding Yourself A Favourite

  1. Many of the creatures that live in the ocean seem a lot stranger than the ones that live on land. I imagine that’s partially because of our terrestrial viewpoint and partially because it’s objectively true.

  2. The jellyfish are beautiful. Your pics remind me of scenes from the film Life of Pi, that I just saw. Magical.

  3. The snake’s clouded, milky eye means that it’s going to shed soon. Always puts me in mind of Poe: “He had the eye of a vulture –a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees –very gradually –I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever.” Not that I’d ever harm a snake, mind you.

  4. Beautiful pictures- you’re right to pick up on the beauty and efficiency of nature….. I love going to aquariums, and with a biologist husband it can be very informative too (althought we generally get kicked out at closing tim, with P.F grumbling that he hasn’t finished yet….).

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