Someone Sent Me on a Neighborhood Safari

Friday, July 3, 2020

Y'all ready for one of the most delightful stories of my quarantine? Here we go.

The other day, I was walking to Cafe Social Latinoamericano, one of my favorite new local spots, while talking to my mom on the phone. It was mad hot outside, so I stopped under a shady tree while we wrapped up our conversation. 

At some point, I looked up... & found a little surprise!

That's right... someone had attached this tiny toy lion to a branch above my head, & you guys, I cannot even explain to you how happy it made me. The only word for it is "delight," really. I was so delighted. 

After I got my coffee (& showed the above photo to my barista friend), I walked back home, keeping my eyes peeled for any other jungle friends hidden in nearby trees. I was thrilled to find one more little lion a few trees over, which I pointed out to an equally delighted family who looked at me funny when they saw me taking pics.

The other trees were taller, & I was disappointed to find that none had branches low-hanging enough for hidden animal gifts. But then I spotted this little dude hanging out on a fence:

He may not be a jungle animal, but he was still a welcome discovery (& the only one chosen to make an appearance on IG before I wrote this piece). 

I kept walking, & my next discovery melded my earlier finds into one, like the animal-hider wanted to go home but didn't want to waste the final handful of animals. Check out this fence party! 

Should we zoom in? Let's zoom in... because you may think this is just a lion & a dino, but this is, in fact, a trio. Check out the new member of the party:

A dolphin! I was immediately transported to one of my favorite ridiculous lines from one of my favorite ridiculous movies: "Jasmine's got a thing for dophins?" Anybody? I'll give you a hint: The movie is extremely seasonally appropriate.


That was it for my quick afternoon walk, but I was curious about whether there were other animals hidden throughout the rest of the neighborhood, so after work, I went for a two-mile walk - more of a wander, really - to see what else I could find. 

The neighborhood did not disappoint. 

As I photographed this one, a car drove by & I heard the passenger say, "What the fuck is that woman doing?" Oh, you know... just taking a photo of a gorilla on a fire hydrant. 

I found all kinds of other things, too, One of the things I've always loved about my neighborhood is that at first glance, it appears to be fairly standard & buttoned-up, with a bunch of families, coffee shops, parks, & nice bars & restaurants - but if you look more closely, it's always full of weird, quirky shit.

Here's a smattering of some of the non-safari things I found, including Gandhi, a hidden flamingo, & a scissor bench. Not pictured: a squirrel sanctuary, a dog water cafe, the famous "Beware the Tremonster" sign (which might be gone now?), & multiple murals from The Sign Guy - but still, good stuff.

And I saved my favorite find for last because it just made me the happiest, & I think it deserves to be the pièce de résistance of this roundup. 

While walking past the library, I spotted a teeeeeny tiny blip of color & literally doubled back to see if it was something or simply a trick of the eye. It was something. Something perfect & miniature & adorable! 

I love it so much. And now that I know to keep my eyes peeled for these little gems, I hope to find more in the days & weeks to come. Fingers crossed! 

Which one of these would you have been most excited to find? Have you ever found anything like this in your neighborhood?

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