**Quick note, completely unrelated to the post: If you are a regular reader or subscriber, you may be surprised to see posts on two consecutive days. I have been falling behind on my blogging schedule recently, so I decided to accept the National Blog Post Month challenge–to write a blog post each day in November. If I can manage this challenge, I should be able to get you two posts a week without breaking a sweat. So, you’ll be seeing my name more often in your email. I hope that this is a benefit to all of us!**
At the Kansas City Zoo, on the first Saturday after Halloween, they give pumpkins to many of the animals. And the animals love the pumpkins. Maybe it’s not a surprise that the vegetarians and omnivores love pumpkins. It is a hoot to watch an elephant snatch up a full-sized pumpkin in her trunk and race away with it, so it’s not stolen by other elephants. But even the tigers and polar bears get in on the act.
As a Friend of the Zoo, I can visit the zoo year round for no additional cost, and I have gotten spoiled by lots of quiet early mornings when it feels like the zoo is our own private adventure. So I tend to avoid high traffic times–the crowds get overwhelming. But I make an exception each year for the Great Pumpkin Smash. It is so fun to watch the animals play with this novel toy.
Each animal has its own method of enjoying pumpkins. As I mentioned, the elephants will snatch up an entire pumpkin and race to a private spot, where they can crunch it to bits in peace. The gorillas like to punch holes in theirs, while the lorikeets and toucans appreciate having the pumpkins strategically located so that they can snatch out the seeds and gooey center bits. The otters take turns using their pumpkins as a floating toy and a snack. The rhinos impale pumpkins on their horns.
Every animal had a great time with their pumpkins again this year. Every animal but the penguins. The penguins are new to our zoo, and I’m pretty sure that there are no pumpkins in Antarctica. So I feel safe in my assumption that today was the first time the penguins had seen a pumpkin. And mostly they ignored them. Every once in a while, a penguin would wander over for a look, but they didn’t engage.
And that left me thinking. What are the pumpkins in my life? What enjoyable, fun, challenging, delicious experiences am I missing just because they are new or strange to me? What great opportunities am I missing because they are outside of my day to day reality? Can I be brave enough to stop looking and interact with a new experience? Can you?
If your pumpkin showed up tomorrow–would you miss out on experiencing it?