In our Spirituality and Poetry class at Rock Island Monastery, our assignment for next month is to write about animals. My mind went immediately to a childhood memory I treasure.
One Sunday, Daddy took me to Brookfield Zoo in Chicago. I was about five, and it was the first time I saw so many animals outside of picture books. That night before bed, Daddy told me the story of Noah and the ark. I remember it so well as I kept thinking how big that boat must be to house all those animals, especially the elephants who were gigantic!
The next morning when I got up, Daddy had already gone to work. On the kitchen table, my mother pointed out that Daddy had left a roll of paper with brand new paints. I was thrilled—NEW paints! Daddy also left a message my mother read to me: “Patty, I’d like you to paint all the animals you can remember from our trip to the zoo.”
I began immediately and remember this so well. I painted and painted and the roll of paper began to spread out to the floor. Unrolling the last part of the paper, I stopped. There, Daddy had painted an ark!
Later in Divinity School, I learned a different interpretation of Noah and the Ark and it was dark. However, Matt Fox came along and redeemed my love for the whole of creation. While Noah is not really a bedtime story for children, it will always hold the dearest part in my heart.
Pat Pickett, OblSB