A day at the zoo

by juliakeil

A few days ago I went to the Zoo. It was my birthday and when I was asked what I wanted to do on this day, the zoo popped in my mind almost immediately. I may not be 8 years old anymore but the giddy pleasure of seeing and being in the presence of so many animals still stirs in me.

When I arrived at the Leipzig zoo I felt that same excitement I always have when I visit a zoo. I wanted to see every animal from the big cats to the sea creatures and everything in between. Every time an animal was before me, I would stop and observe for a good while and if I came across an area that appeared empty, I would quickly scuttle past determined to use the time I had to see EVERY animal.

As I followed the signs, eager to see what animal would greet me around the next corner, I began noticing the other animals, the ones outside the cages pe

ering at whatever exotic creature their eyes could feed on.  It was funny watching this interaction between man and animal. It baffled me how watching an animal go about its daily business whether it was sleeping, eating, sunbathing, pooping, scratching, playing or watching you, could entertain so much. Maybe it’s the rarity of being in such close proximity to something you would normally never really see or maybe it’s our voyeuristic tendencies leaking through.

Perhaps whatever animals you are most drawn to reveals something about your inner psyche. Perhaps you are looking for traits these animals have which you share, a common ground. Or perhaps they posses a quality you don’t, but wish you did. Perhaps you just like animals.

I, for example, stood ages by the seals whos childlike energy and weightlessness and grace in the water amazed me, especially when contrasted to their stumpy, slow and wiggly movement outside the water.  I was hypnotized by the luminosity of the scarlet ibis, which seemed to perform a dance of sorts by fluttering its wings and stretching its skinny twig-like legs from beneath its paradise plume. I even admired the long necked sea turtle, which always carries its home on its back no matter where it goes.

Maybe in some subconscious way I was revisiting my younger years by going to the zoo, determined to rekindle a childhood joy I used to have for my birthday. Determined to re-live the experience of then or maybe just…re-invent the experience of now.

I never did see every animal. I never saw the elephants, the giraffes nor did I count the stripes on any Zebras. I even missed the Aquarium entirely because of the lack of time in a day. That’s o.k. though, I’ll be back again soon enough.