Life in the Jungle – Chapter One – Gordon the Complicated Giraffe

A friend requested a story to fit her book of illustrations. The illustrations will follow in due course. It is a story with seven chapters (seven illustrations, that is). In the meantime, I have sketched my impression of Gordon (see below).

This chapter was written while dining in the elegant, warmly-welcoming Lock’s Brasserie. I dined there through the generosity of my parents who wished me a restful and happy holiday.

My artistic 'impression' of Gordon

My artistic ‘impression’ of Gordon

Gordon was a complicated giraffe.

He used to like to think he was, but recently his friends had been telling him he was ‘complicated’, saying it in a manner which suggested this wasn’t such a good thing.

Being complicated meant that Gordon did a lot of thinking. He thought a lot. He thought and thought and then – he thought some more. Sometimes he thought so much that his head began to hurt, just a little bit.

He didn’t just think about one thing and then move onto thinking about another thing. As he thought about one thing, another thing would pop into this head and he’d think about those two things together. He’d notice patterns and connections between those two things. Then sometimes he’d think of a third thing! The patterns and connections would make him feel happy, amazed and confused all at the same time.

Gordon had a friend who was very clever. He knew a lot about trees. He actually knew a lot about everything but especially liked to talk about trees. Gordon’s friend could tell, just by looking at a tree, what type of tree it was. He even knew the names of the trees. He could look at an oak tree and say ‘Gordon, my friend, that there is an quercus robur.’ Gordon simply thought it was ‘lovely’.

Gordon didn’t really notice trees that much. He knew that a tree was a tree and not, say, a lamppost. He knew that trees had leaves that were good to eat. There was one tree that had leaves that tasted a little bitter and he knew to avoid that tree. Otherwise  he didn’t know much about trees at all.

He thought about trees though. He thought about them a lot. One of his favourite things to do was to start thinking about trees, then think about their leaves and how, at certain times of the year, in some parts of the world, the leaves would change colour and then fall off the trees.

His friend, who was very clever, could tell you all about why the leaves changed colour and what made them fall off and what caused the new leaves to grow in Spring. He had already told Gordon all about it, but Gordon couldn’t remember what his friend had said. It was all very detailed and scientific.

Gordon didn’t know very much about trees but he did like to think about them.

He loved thinking about those special trees in other parts of the world – how, during the summer, they would have lots of green leaves when the weather was warm and the sun was shining. Gordon thought it was wonderful that just when you might want some shade to rest from the sun’s heat, there were leaves to give you shade!

Then, when the air got colder and the sun didn’t shine as much and when you wanted to feel as much of the sun’s warmth as you possibly could – well, then, the leaves would have fallen from the trees! There was no shade any more – but you didn’t want shade anymore!

It was amazing!

Sometimes, Gordon would even start thinking about who it was that might have thought of all the trees in the first place. Whoever made the trees – and the special leaves that fell off and grew back with perfect timing – must have been very clever! Even more clever than Gordon’s friend. He must have been very kind too.

Gordon did get tired sometimes from thinking too much.

Though he never got tired of thinking about the trees and the leaves and the sun and the shade and the clever, kind maker of the trees.

He never got tired of that!

He did, however, just occasionally, get a little tired of hearing the endless chatter of his neighbour, Maurice the Monkey.

Tune in for the next chapter when Maurice the Monkey and his slightly troublesome relationship with Gordon the Giraffe will be further explored. Please feel free to leave questions, suggested changes, critique about the feasibility of the story, or other editorial comments below. This is a work in progress.




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