Sixty-six million years ago, there was a nest in the middle of a prairie with a single egg in it the size of a melon. The nest appeared as if someone had started to dig a hole for a kiddie pool, but had changed their mind. It also appeared they had decided the shallow hole and the dirt scattered around were unsightly. Instead of refilling the hole, they threw some grass over it to hide it. It was not the tidy bird’s nest one would imagine.
A single female triceratops, named Deborah, grazed about the nest. Deborah was very tall and long and extremely heavy. In fact, she was enormous. She had a large round horn on her nose. She also had two very long horns that grew out of her head just above her eyes. She used her size and her horns to defend the nest and the large expanse of land around it that made up her territory.
One bright and beautiful morning, the egg cracked. A creature small enough to fit inside the cantaloupe sized egg broke pieces out. When it removed enough of the shell so that the size of the exit was large enough, the little baby triceratops stumbled slowly out of the egg.
The baby triceratops, named Ronald, looked like a sweaty sloppy mess on the ground. He was a miniature version of his mother, but without horns. Ronald was exhausted from his effort to break out of the egg. He sat on the bare ground to rest. While he did, his skin dried off a bit and his muscles loosened up.
When Ronald felt rested, he began to wrestle with gravity to get on his feet. Although it was very difficult and required him to use all of his strength, he was determined to get up. He grunted and whined, but he eventually succeeded and stood up.
Standing had indeed been a challenge for Ronald. The hard work brought him some satisfaction, but also pointed his attention to a feeling that gave him some distress. So, he whined very loudly. The sound of his cry was like someone was letting the air out of a balloon while pinching apart the opening. However, crying did not help him feel better.
Ronald did not intend to just stand around and wait for help to arrive. He took a few steps forward and stumbled as he did. Walking was additionally challenging for him because he was in the nest. No matter what direction he went, he had to go uphill to get out. Again, he was determined to beat gravity. Step by step, he walked up a side of the hole until he arrived at the upper rim. He paused there for a moment and scanned the prairie around him wondering what to do next.
Deborah, Ronald’s mother, had been watching him. She needed him to begin learning to be independent right away, but she also knew she would need to do many things to take care of him until he was ready to be on his own. She walked over to him and placed herself where he could see her. Ronald wailed at its mother, but she did not move any closer to him. His instincts told him that mom had what he needed and he would need to go to her. The distress he had felt was hunger and mom would help it go away. So, he walked to her with a little less difficulty than he’d had inside of the nest.
Ronald easily figured out how to get milk. Although he was Deborah’s first baby, she appeared to know how to feed him too. She even appeared to feel better herself as he ate.
After a few minutes, it was Deborah’s turn to eat. After all, she needed nutrition to make good milk for Ronald. So, she left him and went out to the prairie to find some green vegetation to eat. He was no longer hungry, but he was also not full. He would have happily continued to eat, so he made a lot of unpleasant noise that Deborah ignored while she grazed.
As Ronald digested his food, he became cold. He stood alone in the middle of the field and shivered. Deborah grazed near enough to him that he could see her. With less graceful movement than he had shown when he went to her for food, he walked to her across the grass. The longer walk gave his clumsiness an opportunity to show. He stumbled and nearly fell a few times as he walked across the uneven prairie. He was grateful that she had grazed in one spot while he traveled. Eventually, he reached her. Under the bright sun, upon the quiet prairie, with a light breeze making the grass dance in the distance; he stood by his mother feeling warm and happy.
© 2018 EDUARDO SURÉ ALL RIGHTS RESERVED