Science Word of the Day

pandiculation (noun): the act of stretching oneself, especially on waking.

Example: “After a long session of pandiculation, the bleary-eyed panda
rose and set off in search of breakfast.

I do the stretch, you do the stretch,
the cats stretch in downward cat after
awakening, so do the dogs, of course,
but pandas? Had no ideas that pandas
also stretch as they open their eyes
after a good nap.

But it’s right there in the word—
pandi-culation. I know that word,
have used it occasionally. Never
occurred to me that pandas -iculate,
too. But now I will carry through my day
the image of roly-poly black-and-white
balls of fluff blearily opening their black
eyes with the black splotches underneath,

lifting a front leg, extending one bread
plate-sized paw for a good stretch, then
the other front leg, too, yawning and
allowing a panda sound to escape
as I do in the morning, especially
when morning seems to come too early

(as if it doesn’t show up at the same
time every day).

But though we want to roll over and
drift back into blesséd sleep (of which
there’s never enough), we dimly recall
that there’s a reason to rise if only we
can… oh! breakfast!

And then, panda-like, I rise with
the cats, who will eat before I do,
all of us together in the kitchen,
one of us pandiculating, in the soft
light of a new day.

Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) in a tree. Wolong Panda Reserve, Sichuan Province, China. (World Wildlife Foundation)

About janishaag

Writer, writing coach, editor
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