It has taken me all of this month to figure out what to write. It often seemed like joy has been eluding me, what with the dire and painful state of so much sociopolitically in the world. It took me awhile to step back and remember just how much joy there is, all around. The Earth teems with it.
When I was a younger reader I discovered books on the topic of cryptozoology, ones by Ivan T. Sanderson on through modern authors. The lure behind the idea that there might still be fantastic beasts out there in the world to discover fueled my excitement, hope, and imagination. But finding these cryptids, if they did exist, would certainly not be easy, and I was no Newt Scamander.
However, one of the creatures the authors of these books brought up had been ‘discovered’ and scientifically recognized, despite first thought a myth by Europeans. That animal is the okapi, a half-zebra-half-giraffe animal from the dense jungles of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The okapi stuck in my mind as something rare and miraculous, a fantastic beast that I might actually be able to see. [Read more…]