One of the pleasures of Terwilliger Plaza is that it is a place where unexpected things happen. I was walking back from my parking place in the north end of the Tower to my apartment in the south end of the Tower, expecting to pick up my mail en route, when I noticed an alpaca walking in front of me.
No, really, an alpaca, with thick red-brown fur and that long, camel-like neck and hooves, looking, as all alpacas do, as if he were peering down his nose at the world. Turns out he is a therapy animal and had been visiting the Terrace. The young woman leading him invited me to pet him, which I did, looking up into his eyes, brown with the rectangular pupils of a goat. He didn't feel as smooth as cloth woven from alpaca hair feels, but he was warm and woolly like a good blanket. His breathing involved a somewhat wheezy sound that could have been mistaken for a growl, but the young woman assured me he was not trying to warn me off. He had a very benign aura -- a little alien, because how often do you encounter random alpacas in the course of normal life, but none-the-less well-meaning.
I continued on to my mailbox and he and his handler continued on to the front desk, where they were probably going to check out so the records would be clear that no unknown long-necked woolly red-brown beasts were left wandering the halls. I hope whoever was the recipient of his visit found him reassuring. I know I did. And he inspired a rather smug inner grin because I live in a place where wandering alpacas are not beyond the realm of possibility.