Otters seem to be the most nuannaarpoqian of animals.  Their life skills, resilience, confidence and playfulness captivated me when I read the evocative classic Tarka the Otter, celebrated here with rich pickings of quotes and metaphors.  

Another classic, Gavin Maxwell’s Ring of Bright Water, provides further testimony as to their admirable qualities, though the book is less exquisitely written, and the relationship of the author to the animal more needy and selfish than that of Henry Williamson.  

But that shouldn’t prevent you enjoying Mij’s soccer skills and his more meditative moments of play. 

Mij would spend hours shuffling a rubber ball round the room like a four-footed soccer play using all four feet to dribble the ball, and he could also throw it, with a powerful flick of the neck, to a surprising height and distance.  These games he would play either by himself or with me, but the really steady play of an otter, the time-filling play born of a sense of well-being and a full stomach, seeems to me to be when the otter lies on its back and juggles with small objects between its paws.  This they do with an extraordinarily concentrated absorption and dexterity, as though a conjurer were trying to perfect some trick.


Source: Gavin Maxwell, Ring of Bright Water (London: Penguin, 1974), p. 87

Photo credit: Alexas_Fotos at pixabay


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