Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Circle of Love

As Nick’s first birthday approaches, I’m increasingly reminded of how blessed I am to be a father. I was reading Aspen’s note in her Mother’s Day card, confessing that “I didn’t realize how much you loved me until I became a mom”. I’ve been repeatedly playing that profound line in my head for the last few days, confident that no greater compliment could be made to one’s parent.

Being a dad has broken me as a once selfish and independent spirit. I used to snicker to myself seeing Aspen getting all choked up over some couple having a baby on the Discovery Channel; now I am sharing the Kleenex, reliving Nick’s first cry (‘un-Guyyyyyyyyy, un-Guyyyyyyyy’) like it was yesterday. I can finally appreciate the connection between us and these unknown parents in their time of bliss.

My transformation to fatherhood was much more natural than I had expected, and I attribute this to age (40) and maturity (for the most part), as if the years of independence were preparing me for something greater than I could comprehend. The bond between Nick and I was instant, like two childhood friends reuniting for good. It grew into something even greater, and I’m not sure if my love for this little guy will ever be matched with words.

Sometimes the simple thought of him brings grateful tears to my eyes, and there are nights in the dim light of his room as he’s cradled in my arms, when the joy of having a child becomes almost overwhelming. It is during these moments I pray that no harm ever comes to him, or that I'll always be able to protect him. Now, I know that being an omnipresent father is unrealistic, because he will undoubtedly inherit the scrapes and bruises of his dad. But in those times when he stumbles, I will be there to apply the band-aids.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Here, Keety, Keety.

The following YouTube video was filmed in 2004 by a tourist named David Budzinski while on safari at Kruger National Park in eastern South Africa. Normally I’m not into natural selection cinema, which is why I can’t watch most episodes of shows like Planet Earth. But this vid was so captivating, I felt it worthy to post for the three people who haven’t yet seen it. It was such a bizarre glimpse of nature that National Geographic recently re-digitized the footage and parlayed the eight-minute clip into an hour-long documentary.


Here’s some more info I thought would add some insight to the video:

-Mr. Budzinski filmed the action from a safari tour vehicle occupied by several others, including a guide. They were staged in a parking lot next to a popular watering hole, ready to call it a day. The rest of the tour vehicles had left the area before this scene began to unfold, and the guide suggested they wait a while to see what would ensue. Mr. Budzinski would have missed much of the action if the other tourists had not instructed him where to point his camcorder, since his peripheral vision was limited by the device.

-All of the lions in the video were around three years old and weighed approximately 300 lbs. each. The reason they didn’t rip this poor calf to shreds is because lions kill their prey by either clamping down on the neck or over the face to suffocate the victim. The lions were likely exhausted from playing tug-of-war with a 600-lb. crocodile and did not have the energy to thwart the Cape buffalo attack. They released their grip on the calf’s throat long enough for it to call out, alerting the rest of the herd to return.

-You’ll notice that all of the punishment was dispensed by only one of the buffaloes.