Flamingos are birds that are perfectly at home wherever there is sea-salt or chlorine in the air – and they turn into inflatable beach (or pool) toys for our carefree moments. Indeed, they seem the epitome of a relaxed existence: they balance with ease on one leg and the more shrimp they eat, the lovelier they look, seeing as their pretty pink colouring is the result of their crustacean-based diet. As for their habitat, it isn’t uncommon in Italy – from Tuscany to Sicily, from Sardinia to Emilia Romagna – to come across salt pans which, thanks to “flamboyances” of flamingos, look like oases viewed through rose-tinted glasses.
But let’s bear in mind that leisureliness isn’t a given for these wading birds. In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, for example, they get rudely flattened out and used as mallets during an improbable game of croquet … Lewis Carroll reminds us that when the going gets tough, even the flamingos get going.
Whether we’re chilling out or getting worked up, our days always tend to resemble a game of a croquet; as for our “tough” flamingo, it not only passes the “flamingo balance test” but is also unquestionably in the pink: after all, is it, or is it not, this summer’s “sock symbol”?