Thoughts on Visiting the Zoo for a Child’s Birthday Party

It was hard to hold the incongruity of setting off on a beautiful morning to go to a child’s birthday at the Zoo, followed by a leisurely walk to Dupont Circle to get a haircut, with the news of devastation from too many places at once and my concern for friends and acquaintances and their families and for those who will be impacted the most severely.

The Zoo is doing a good job educating about animals that are threatened with extinction, how human civilization is contributing, and how we can shift behavior to co-habit more gracefully with other species, which made visiting the Zoo less unequivocally uncomfortable.

I got to the Zoo early, so I could walk around. I went into the great ape house for the first time in a decade, possibly two. One of the apes had figured out that if he leapt at the dividing glass with a thump, the humans right on the other side would squeal and jump. One little boy stood still, calmly holding his hand, with fingers spread open, on the glass, reaching and waiting to see. 

There were two bald eagles that had damaged wings. There was no roof over their space. They seemed happy enough to be in a place with excellent, regular meals.


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