Instant Stress Relief: Awesome Penguin is Awesome

I don’t do stress very well. I get antsy. I eat too many cookies. I spend a lot of time staring vacantly into space listening to my heartbeat drum in my ears as I resist, with variable success, the urge to overreact to every little thing. You’d think I would be better at dealing with this sort of thing by now, but of all the curveballs I’ve weathered in life, this particular move has really unsettled me in a way that makes me entirely sympathetic to those who are simply steering clear of me until everything is in the clear. It’s what I would do in your shoes.

The urge to run is strong. If only I could escape somewhere far, far away, I would feel a lot better. In the absence of an actual physical egress, perhaps a pictorial one will do. (This must be why I’ve always obsessed over National Geographic.) One can’t get much further away than Antarctica. Join me, if you would, for just a moment, to the happy land of Antarctic Emperor penguins, where no one has to argue about closing costs, fish are abundant, and if you want to shove the guy next to you into the drink you can totally make it look like an accident.

The following is an excerpt from the November edition of National Geographic magazine. For the full piece online, please click here. Enjoy!

When an emperor penguin swims through the water, it is slowed by the friction between its body and the water, keeping its maximum speed somewhere between four and nine feet a second. But in short bursts the penguin can double or even triple its speed by releasing air from its feathers in the form of tiny bubbles. These reduce the density and viscosity of the water around the penguin’s body, cutting drag and enabling the bird to reach speeds that would otherwise be impossible. (As an added benefit, the extra speed helps the penguins avoid predators such as leopard seals.)

Preparing to launch from the sea to the sea ice, an emperor penguin reaches maximum speed. © Paul Nicklen/National Geographic

 

An airborne penguin shows why it has a need for speed: To get out of the water, it may have to clear several feet of ice. A fast exit also helps it elude leopard seals, which often lurk at the ice edge. © Paul Nicklen/National Geographic

Life is safer at the colony, where predators are few and company is close. © Paul Nicklen/National Geographic

I can go ahead and add this to the list of things I want to see before I die. Add to the list of things I do not need to see ever again: Buyer Disclosure Lists, escrow closing documents, packing boxes.

 

My life has been greatly enriched by having an ipad subscription to Nat Geo. It’s saved me from having to read 2010 issues of Life and Style at the doctor’s office more times than I can count.

Thanks to National Geographic for permission to use these fantastic images from Paul Nicklen and the November issue of National Geographic magazine. For more images and interactive video of the penguin zooming out of the water, you can go here. Happy Monday!

 

 

Filed: Blog, Daily Life, Photography Tagged: ,
  • TaxiLab

    love the penguins and I love Nat Geo on my iPad too. That pic of the penguin leaping out of the water is incredible!

  • JaneK

    :) thanks for that….. I’m glad to know someone else who stares vacantly away when the stress gets overwhelming….. we need to find that clip that circulated years ago wtih the penguin that shoves his fellow penguin in the water…. that always makes me smile, too!

  • JaneK