Stay true

I came across this image in my stock yesterday and liked the abstract that could be created from a tight crop, especially since I missed prime focus.

Of course you recognized this as the fingers of a ring-tailed lemur, taken while visiting the Duke Lemur Center in Durham, NC. It just goes to show you that even with appropriate subjects, I just can’t do “cute.”

A related story: While trying to do a close portrait of another lemur up against the fence, it refused (in a very ADHD way) to maintain eye contact. After the third time that it looked away and couldn’t be entreated to look back by the squeaks and chirps I was emitting, I reached up and touched its toes where they protruded through the fence. It spun and looked at me in apparent shock, and I managed a quick photo before it turned away again. When I performed this same perfidious act again, it fixed me with another look for a mere moment, then spun rapidly and pressed it back firmly against the fence. I was feeling undeniably snubbed (and having flashbacks of my dating years,) when our guide started laughing. “Now you have to follow through,” he told us.

“What?” I asked.

“He wants his back scratched,” our guide said, and I complied, producing the most appreciative look I’ve ever received from a lemur as he wriggled and grooved against the fence separating us. Granted, the number of looks I’ve received from lemurs is a particularly short list.

A curious thought. As can be seen from the photo, lemurs have evolved away from using their nails for either digging or defense, and human fingernails are heading in the same direction, already weak and receded. In a few thousand years, we’re liable to be needing our own backs scratched, so let’s hope dogs and cats will be developing some manual dexterity in that time…