Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Spirit Animal

Whenever the subject of spirit animals comes up, discussions often turn grand, typically ending with us humans aligning ourselves with some glorious creature from the untamed wild. 

Me, I just know I'm something really majestic, like a lion or a wolf.

On second thought, I'm a dolphin swimming through eternal oceans accompanied by my constant tribe.

No, no, a cat. That's me for sure. Sleek and intelligent.

Or maybe I'm one of those strong, hoofed beasts like a caribou or a gazelle -- graceful, with a crown of antlers.

What am I thinking? Clearly, I'm a shapeshifting octopus. A stealthy, iridescent genius.

No, wait! I'm a delicate butterfly, carrying upon my wings the illustrious multiple metaphors of transformation, renewal, ripple effects and hope.

No, okay, I know! I know! I'm a powerful hawk or a mysterious raven. Yes, that's it -- a solitary winged creature, soaring above the clouds, answering to no one.

Maybe I should aim even higher. I'm sure I'm something really epic! Maybe a unicorn or a phoenix. Something with a transdimensional history, mythology and magical properties, something that exists against all probability.

Well, that would be nice, and now I've exhausted most of the animal kingdom. But the truth is, I am none of those.

I am a sea urchin.

There, I said it.

Spiky and monochromatic. I dig into the soft sand, put my thorns out, and spend most of my time preventing attacks. Yup -- harm shadows me constantly, so self-protection is the name of the game. Wanna know what I did yesterday? That's right, I just sat here, making sure nothing bad happened to me. Wanna know what I'm going to do tomorrow? You know what I'm going to do. Why are you even asking?

My needles are totally in your face. I don't even really have to do anything. I rarely have my guard up because I don't need to make the effort. I am made for defense; it's as natural to me as breathing, and most enemies know to stay away. Once in a while someone tries something stupid or mean, and then I give a little angry shake. That usually takes care of the problem.

There might have been a time, long ago, when the spikes weren't so sharp, but I don't remember it. Was there a time when I didn't need armor? Naturally, I doubt it. Like every self-respecting sea urchin, I evolved my prickly exterior out of necessity to ensure that the very sensitive interior stays safe. 'Cause that's where all the good stuff is, suckahs!

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