Sunday, April 30, 2006

On DeVine

This is DeVine. She lives at Disney's Animal Kingdom, and comes out periodically to visit the guests. I use visit in the broadest of terms here, as she doesn't communicate in any sort of traditional sense. She comes out of the forest, walking on long stilts attached to her hands and feet. With only non-verbal communication, she languidly moves through the crowd, stopping to look at people, hide behind the folage, or just poses next to things -- and she is remarkable. We stopped to watch her for quite a while, and her performance was amazing. Equally interesting was the crowd reactions. Some people (like us) were VERY into watching her. Others ranged from interested to absolutely dismissive. It was kind of sad to see a grumpy parent hurry their child by in a stroller and to hear the child get interested in DeVine, only to have the parent snap back with something like, 'Oh, that's just a lady.' or 'She's a tree honey, we have to hurry to Expedition Everest.' She's not 'just a lady', and Expedition Everest sure ain't going anywhere. Animal Kingdom is one of the few theme parks in the world that actually rewards you for taking time to understand and appreciate it, and DeVine is a perfect example. So if you're ever at AK, do yourself a favor and loiter in the area between Africa and Asia. Spot animals in the Tree of Life while you wait. You'll be glad you did.

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