Thursday, September 28, 2006

Knight in Khaki

Steve Irwin, it seems, was also an artist.

He'd carved an enormous statue of a crocodile to grace the front entrance of his zoo. It's a huge thing, larger even than croc-life-size, the cuts deep and rough and sure. It's no small object to hide in your hand, delicate lines with small strokes. Irwin carved it with a chain saw, hacking at the wood until a beloved friend emerged.

The memorial at the coliseum he also built rang with music; not enormous orchestras, but one Australian folk singer, a guitar, and five thousand people bellowing "Home Among the Gumtrees." It was a lovely, earthy Australian moment amongst slickly packaged tributes from Hollywood stars, a purely down-under moment that made me feel at home in a place I'd never been before.

I couldn't turn my face from Terri Irwin's last night, her lined eyes and mouth, her cracked lipstick. Few sentences passed without tears. "I lost my prince," she said as she sat in her husband's zoo, her home. Birds squawked above her head. She mentioned that her daughter once pointed out that her mother and father lived happily ever after. Good for perceptive little girls. Sometimes knights don't come in shining armor. Sometimes come in khaki.

good on ya Steve at:


Mary said...

I haven't watched Terri's interview yet. I just can't. It's so sad for her, and the whole family. I know I'll miss Steve-o.

Chelsea said...

That was really nice.

red pill junkie said...

From a man with such passion and sensibility, it doesn't surprise one bit that he also posessed an artistic quality.

When I watched the memorial held at the Australia Zoo, me and my parents drop our jaws to the floor when Bindi flawlessly read the speech she wrote about her dad. We can certainly rest assured that his daddy/his hero's torch of conservation has been succesfully passed on.

Monica said...

My eyes and nose are still red from crying. That was such a tough interview to watch, but I'm so glad that I did. I started off thinking how lucky she was to have him, but by the end of the interview I thought how lucky they were to have each other. In her own way, Terri is just as unique and amazing as Steve was. I think she and their children are going to be just fine.

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