April 18, 2017
Well, April the Giraffe has finally delivered her calf despite snide and stinging comments from naysayers and trolls lurking behind their laptop screens:
“She ain’t pregnant,” sneered some.
“That’s a male giraffe,” sniped others.
“Best April Fool’s joke ever,” scoffed one too many.
On the evening of the last Saturday of February, I became aware of the pregnant giraffe and the Harpursville, New York zoo called Animal Adventure Park. Earlier in the day, Jeff and I had returned from an afternoon of shopping for a fifth-wheel RV to move onto our lot.
The first thing I learned about April, the Giraffe, that night, was that her blessed event would not happen any too soon. A giraffe’s average gestational period lasts around fifteen months — six months longer than a human pregnancy. (Did I just hear shrieking from a few women out there?). As April had mated more than once, no one could pinpoint the exact date of conception. Still, every day and around the clock, people worldwide tuned in to watch the “live giraffe cam”. Having read the signs of impending labor, including the raised tail, spread legs and “crowning” hooves, we held our breaths every time April raised her tail and watched her for any sign of hooves.
When April didn’t “domino” during February or March, some irate viewers blamed the park, the caretakers, the vet, even April herself — anyone who didn’t produce April’s calf according to their royal timetables.
“Do a C-section,” urged some.
“Give her Pitocin,” demanded others.
Knowing it was all just a matter of waiting for God and Mother Nature, I leaned back in my recliner to wait for the delivery whenever it came to pass. While waiting stressed out many viewers, I found the event to be a refreshing break from fussing over our plans to move.
In early February, as April was growing her calf, Jeff and I returned from the coast to set our moving plans into motion. We were set to close on our property down south during the second week in April. The first potential buyer surfaced but promptly cancelled in March. So we started the process again, bringing in a different company to help us. As the process progressed, I couldn’t help observing that this house sale was exponentially different from the sale of my childhood home when when I was able to move into my new home — the one Jeff and are now selling — in September 2006 while a crew worked on updating and renovating my other home before my realtor sold it, only a few months later.
Since we found the property in February, the name of our ‘game’ has been “hurry up-and-wait”. Hurry and clean for the next showing. Wait for a buyer. Hurry and pack. Wait for closing. Many false starts, it has seemed. Much like waiting for April’s calf. The pace of the move might have been brutal if I had not been able to relax by watching a majestic giraffe with breathtaking eyes deliver her calf. In fact, I fell asleep at night while watching April stroll around her pen, chew her cud, lick the walls and the camera with her long, black tongue; eight hours later, I tuned in, again, to catch the update on the giraffe cam.
Last Saturday, on April 15, around 8:00 a.m., I awoke to a long-awaited surprise: April, in active labor, starting with the hooves. After she waddled around at least thirty minutes after the hooves crowned, I saw the snout and, soon, the entire calf, encased in its amniotic sac, tumbled six feet to the ground along with a great gush of fluid. After a few heart-stopping minutes, the calf came lifted its head, tried its wobbly legs, flopping into walls and collapsing to the ground. Finally, with Mommy’s help, the little fellow managed to stand.
Now, in the month of April, not only has April the Giraffe delivered her calf and the little booger, bonded with Mommy and Daddy, Jeff and I now have a contract on our home and are packing to leave during the second week in May. By this time, next month, we expect to wake up in our RV on the coast.
As I continue packing, I can’t help wondering which of the Park’s animals will get pregnant, next. Will it be the camel? The wolf? The zebra? The monkey? Who knows? For more information about the park, visit the site. The park is closed, for now, before it opens officially in a few weeks. For your information, the source for this photo is Animal Adventure Park.
So, who else waited along with me for April’s little bundle? What was the most fascinating fact or observation you took away from this event? I’d love to read your comments. Please scroll down and leave a comment in the allotted space. Coming up soon, the next installment of the “Living On Island Time” series: “‘Southbound and Down”.