Hippos and Spring

Important Boyhouse update for those of you who have been reading for a while: we visited the zoo yesterday for the first time since the tragic (for us) euthanasia of Foggy the Hippo.  There is a new hippo; his name is Ghost, courtesy of his Halloween birthday, and he is Foggy’s grandson.  I wasn’t sure how the zoo visit would go, since Jake still tears up at the mention of Foggy and he started crying in the car a few weeks ago because a song came on the radio; apparently it was the very song we heard driving home from the zoo after Foggy’s death.  A zoo trip was in the works however; we had a day with no plans, we were all excited to see what turned out to be a very underwhelming “Penguin Walk”, and the day promised to be sunny and mild.

After visiting the penguins and the Canadian Wilds, we started our death march towards the hippo enclosure.  Jake was completely silent, while Mark and I chattered on about how nothing could ever take Foggy’s place in our hearts, but maybe Ghost was a nice hippo, and anyway, there were other animals to see in the African Savannah display.  Giraffes!  Meercats!  Giant pythons!  Jake silently entered the enclosure and peeked through the glass barrier at the hippo pool below.

And – I kid you not – Ghost the hippo immediately poked his head out of the water, turned to Jake’s direction, and wiggled his ears.  He then, in a surprisingly agile move, spun around in the water, looked in Jake’s direction again, and sprayed water out of his nose.

Jake assumed that this hippo behaviour was solely for his benefit, and of course I encouraged this.  Ghost then dove underwater and surfaced in the middle of the pool, directly in front of us.  Sparky, the other hippo, joined him.  “I guess he really likes me!” Jake said happily.  What’s not to like?

All is well in the Boyhouse.  You may notice that Jake is wearing his winter coat.  The sun was shining, the snow was melting, and it was about eight degrees Celcius which was enough to prompt many, many people to wear shorts, t-shirts, and flip flops.  FLIP FLOPS.  A few hardy individuals were seen to be wearing tank tops; meanwhile I felt pretty footloose and fancy free to be wearing my “light” winter jacket.

Mark’s coat is unzipped!  Spring!

I have started, slowly, to bring out spring/fall weight jackets and footwear.  I set out the rain boots and put winter boots in an easily-accessible-but-still-kind-of-away location downstairs.  Yesterday, after the vivid success of the dehydrated pineapple, I went to the grocery store to pick up five more pineapples in my bid to look like someone who needs more tropical things in her life, wearing only a spring weight coat and kicky little ankle boots in place of my usual knee high ones.  I felt slightly naked; my calves especially felt exposed, despite my jeans.  There are buds swelling on the lilac bush, my tenacious daylilies near the back door are pushing their little green sprouts through the thawing earth.  It feels, ever so tenuously, like spring is in the air.  I know, I know that there will be more snow, I know that it will be below freezing at night for many weeks to come, but at the moment everything feels fresh and new.  It feels like spring is poking its head up and wiggling its ears at me.  It’s enough.


  1. I love this post so hard. And OF COURSE Ghost’s little greeting was intentional, I don’t doubt it for a minute.

  2. Aw, cute!

  3. Aw, that’s awesome news about Ghost. And also, I’m so pleased that I’m not the only one who has a “light” winter jacket. Why do I live in this country again?

    Yesterday was the first vaguely spring-like day around here, so of course we saw all kinds of kids running around in t-shirts and sandals. It’s about the same temperature today, and yet, all I saw were toques and rain boots. Could it be they actually noticed they were cold? Seems impossible!

  4. For the last week on our daily snowshoe hike the boys have worn snowpants, mitts & t-shirts. In accordance with the Mother Code, I make them take sweaters but they just tie them at their waist and don’t put them on. It drives me crazy, but I’m pretending to be zen like as I have sympathy shivers for them.

    I know nothing about hippos, but I’m pretty sure that Ghost’s greeting — and that of his grandfather — is not typical hippo behaviour. Your kid is the Hippo Whisperer.

    On Wednesday I went outside wearing shoes. SHOES! For the first time since late October! It was so crazy and I felt naked and I had to walk slowly as to avoid the puddles but it was so worth it!

  5. Ghost can read hearts.
    I know he can.
    Yea, spring is starting to show here too. people get all crazy and start pulling out their barely there shorts. Eff that. I like my lungs pneumonia free.

  6. My son is exactly the same way, tearing up over some long, lost stuffed animal out of the blue. Sounds like the zoo trip was a healing experience. And, yes, spring at last!

  7. Aww, cute hippo. We visited the zoo today. The sea lions were adorable.

  8. Jenna Milonovich says

    Hi I’m Heather! Please email me when you get a chance, I have a question about your blog! LifesABanquet1(at)gmail.com

Leave a Reply