From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Memorable Visits to the Zoo

Talk to the animals


All visits to the zoo are interesting, but sometimes, something happens that is out of the ordinary, even for the zoo.

When we lived in Berlin, we visited the wonderful Berlin Zoo frequently. One dark winter day, Dennis and I were there with the kids. I had Baby Isaac in a carrier on my chest, and I was wearing a cape that went over both of us.

The wind became very sharp, and I tried to keep my back to it to shelter Isaac. Then sleet came shooting through the air, and the wolves began howling. It was such an eerie sound that I imagine that even the pedestrians outside the zoo shivered and walked a little faster when they heard it. We decided to cut that visit short and go home.

Another day at the Berlin zoo, it rained right after we arrived. I had packed some sandwiches, so we went to the monkey house and had lunch on the bench in front of the orangutan's cage. We spent most of an hour there, watching and being watched by an amazingly human-like creature. To this day, I have an affection for orangutans.

At the Berlin Zoo, the tigers had a big outdoor enclosure that was connected to their inside cage. When we visited the tiger house one day, they were outside. We were walking down a long hallway, talking about other things, when a tiger's huge head suddenly appeared in a porthole right beside little Keely. We saw his long, yellow fangs. Even though he was behind glass, his sudden appearance gave us a fright that we won't ever forget. When we looked at him again outside, we saw that the porthole was on the back wall of his pen.

I had another memorable experience yesterday at the Nashville Zoo. When we visited the giraffes, two were standing at the back of their little pasture, but one male was taking a close look at the people. I spoke to him, and he stretched his neck out and looked right at me. I talked to him for several minutes and took some pictures of him.

Keely and Taurus had moved to the other side of the little building, so Isaac and I walked over there. We were telling them how the giraffe had given us his attention, when the giraffe saw us, left the other people, and rejoined us. So we talked to him a little while longer. It was an interesting experience. It's pleasant to imagine that he knew we liked him.

It was Keely's idea to go to the zoo yesterday. She will remember this trip as the time that a dragonfly sat on her hand. Isaac will remember that the little donkey thought his hand tasted like salt. I think Taurus will remember the reptile house. It was a nice day.

A few more photos:
Alligators
Carousel
Crane
Elephants
Fish
Gibbon
Iguanas
Jungle gym
Leopard
Leopard 2
Lizard
Meerkats
Meerkats 2
Pathway
Zebras

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.