I fed the animals yesterday.
Tired of being cooped up at home and overwrought by the crap state of our country, we (daughter, grandson and I) drove the hour plus to Johnson City, Texas to the Exotic Resort Zoo where, from the comfort of our car’s air conditioning, we petted, viewed and fed an assortment of wild animals.
I’m afraid I was way too busy trying to keep a camel’s head and a good portion of his neck from demolishing grandson’s car seat when he stuck his head in the car searching for more munchies, to snap a picture of him. Too bad. It was both hysterical and somewhat terrifying.
Actually he really was adorable. The camel, that is. Fortunately he was friendly and gentle. And so was grandson as he called the deer and lamas “sweetheart and darling” with their heads poking up (and in) to grab pellets or as he gently chastised the ram from butting the car door when the persistent one hadn’t had enough. I had been previously warned that camels so I was surprised when a lama spat at me but then I went down the list of lamas, alpacas and camels as being related and merely wiped off my shirt and pants,
The zebras came close enough to the car to be captured by our phones…I thought about the graceful way the black and white stripes of their coats nature had so harmoniously painted and to myself said, ”If only WE could ALL live in such harmony”. Soon my thoughts were interrupted by the need to quickly roll up the windows to avoid feeding the ostriches but managed to throw food their way, as we did for the Ibex and others we had been instructed to avoid contact.
This was such a welcome respite from the troubles resting uncomfortably within our hearts and minds – those outside the zoo’s gates. This animals unknowingly doing their best to keep us focused on the simplicity of life, even for just a couple hours.
The bison roamed in the distance as I quietly hummed “Home on the Range” simultaneously cooing at the numerous newborn animals who were hiding under the live oaks. Life should be this way, always. If only,
Time seemed to go way too fast – even if we had been slowly meandering at a mere 10mph, often stopping to ooh and aah, upon the curvy road of the Exotic Zoo. It was easy for me to fantasize jumping out of the car to just hang out with the animals (especially the camels). I know I was not the only one.
Grandson proclaimed “This is the best day ever!” To which we agreed as we headed back to Austin, hoping the feelings of peace and love would at the very least carry us home, which they did, more or less.
We stopped on our way at a 7Eleven for slurpees and a coke. I donned my mask and went in to fill our order as a wave of sadness overcame my heart. We were back in the real world. The slurpee machine was out of order and the counter man, through his mask behind the plexiglass barrier apologized profusely. I responded, “Hey, it’s okay, this is just small stuff.” Everyone at both the front and in line for the counter agreed audibly and we wished each other well.
As I was leaving People called out “Stay safe!” I held open the door for a man who was entering. For those moments we were like the stripes on a zebra, in harmony with each other.