Random Acts of "Kindness"

WANDERING AT THE ZOO

It was a beautiful day — sunny, blue skies, warmer temperatures, but cooler near the Lake. Perfect day to wander. Both my husband and I had been having issues with our camera. His camera didn’t want to zoom. Mine didn’t want to delete its pictures.

We had already visited Brookfield zoo, but Lincoln Park is much smaller. Not as much walking, or so I thought. When we arrived home, my pedometer had registered more steps than our Brookfield wandering.

Outside the zoo proper is the Alfred Caldwell Lilly Pond, a Japanese style water garden complete with  a rocky edged pond and a Japanese style tea house. It was built many years ago, fell into disrepair  and thankfully recently restored. The path isn’t smooth, limestone rocks were used to allow bubbling streams of water to cascade from the hill top and ledges were created in the hill. It holds many memories for me — my two cousins and I visited many times in our youth. We tried to catch fish using sticks and string — NO BAIT — I  guess that’s why we didn’t catch anything. Thinking back, we might have tried pieces of bread. I have taken my own grandchildren there.

The gate to the area was open when we approached.  At the top of a rocky shelf, a young girl had a hula hoop and was exercising to music on her radio. A female goose had decided to take a nap on the path. I disturbed her slumber, suggesting she move to a more comfortable area. She didn’t agree, tucking her head back into her wing, resuming her nap.

I miss the elephants. Neither of our zoos have them any more. They are social animals and take too much room for the small zoo. Brookfield moved theirs to another zoo when their older one died soon after its birthday. Plans were made to expand the elephant habitat, but the falling economy interfered.

A polar bear is swimming in his pool. I didn’t read the information so I don’t know if there is only one. That is another spot that I always visit. This one has a big red ball that he likes to push up into the air. Trying to catch that exercise on camera was interesting. I was not successful but luckily my husband was. I like to see the places we wander to through my husbands eyes.

As we wandered past the African wild dogs, we heard the song Kumbya — guitar and voice coming from a woman sitting on the ground. I thought her choice of song was most appropriate for our approach.

We stopped to visit the gorilla house. The gorillas were taking a nap — the chimpanzees, after enjoying their outside habitat, seven played follow the leader, descending to their private space below.

As we left the zoo, we passed the African Wild dogs again. They were still sleeping but a couple of zoo rangers were standing there to answer questions. One of the young ladies shared information about the zoos interaction with Zimbabwe, in Africa. Personnel from the organization to which the zoo belongs are inoculating the wild dogs and the domestic dogs against rabies. This has allowed not only the people to be healthier, but also the African Wild dogs and the lions.  I was glad that we stopped to chat.

Walking down the path next to the North Pond, I saw a bench and sat down to give my feet a much needed break. My husband was watching fishing casting lessons on the pier. I noticed a small white dog’s head on the path below my perch. When my husband walked by, I got up to join him. I was surprised, the small white dog wasn’t small at all, he was large. Part poodle, part golden retriever, he always lays down to keep from scaring the smaller dogs.

Many people don’t recognize the personalities that birds and animals have. I have learned that they all provide interest to my life if I take the time to notice.

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