For some reason, spirit animals have come up in conversation recently. I remember the first time I ever thought about my spirit animal was in the Loj, the Colgate outdoor interest residence, after we discussed the immortal question: “If you were a fruit, which fruit would you be and why?” (Buddy S. made this question into an Outdoor Ed.-wide video special, and I had to deadpan a bunch of answers like “Kiwi, because you know you wanna be me” and “Corn, because I am oddly omnipresent in your life” while Buddy L. juggled oranges behind my head.)
Anyway, although I recently learned that one can have up to 7 co-spirit animals or some kind of complex system like that, the rule I’ve always gone by is this: your spirit animal is determined by your close friends’ consensus. You can’t pick your own, although your input can be considered.
So it was that several years ago my spirit animal was determined to be a raccoon. Curious, mammalian, attracted to shiny things, and those weird little hands. While we were prepping the wood-burning outdoor clay oven (!) for a community bake day on the East Side, baking counterpart Mo and I learned that among other things in common we share that spirit animal, and when people express doubt they’re usually convinced by our miming the hands thing.
It’s funny though – while I definitely see myself as that kind of easily distracted little critter, Mo said she could also see me as something like a lynx. Calm, collected, graceful, and efficient. My first thought was “I’ve really fooled these baking people into thinking I’m competent!” My second thought was that I become a lynx when I’m working, when I turn on the 360 degree vision and focus on getting things done. Mo’s gotten to see that side of me a lot on bake nights. I owe a lot of my lynx-ness to Outdoor Ed training, both in high school and college. Constant attention to detail came hard for this ADD-addled self-diagnosed terminal blonde, but eventually it got drilled in and I can turn it on when I have to.
(Quick: what are the guys’ spirit animals?)
Sometimes I wish I could be an efficient lynx all the time, especially after wasting valuable time on something frivolous. But I can’t. I need my mental decompression time, even if it takes the form of rereading Dune for the 89702436789th time or painting some innocent household object with nail polish. And being a raccoon has its upsides too. Meaning mostly the stash of shiny things.
Anyone have any good spirit animals?