I awoke for my usual start to the day, at sunrise. But the sun doesn’t exactly rise in San Diego. It’s a bit disorienting. That thick haze. You think it might rain, but it burns off around ten in the morning. That mix of smog and humidity. Then you can see the sun.
By the time I could see the sun, I had been at the zoo for almost two hours.
I have always loved going to the Zoo. And the San Diego Zoo has been on my bucket list for a while. It’s definitely worth the visit.
It’s really more than a zoo – it’s multiple zoos and it’s a botanical garden in its own right.
You have to admit there is a bit of irony in the concept of a zoo. People, who are animals, are placing other animals into captivity to view them, enjoy them, and protect them from annihilation by the human animals that put them there. There are some animals that are extinct in the world now and only exist in zoos being run by other animals. Us animals.
Humans seem to want to divorce themselves from the rest of the animal kingdom. Without truly understanding the animals they put in cages, humans may pass judgment believing their relatives are inferior, have limited brain capacity, and have no spirits.
I, and obviously many others, would disagree with those presumptions. Most of us are probably happy that we’ve recognized our destructive abilities and are at least trying to preserve these beautiful spirits.
I have never seen a child fail to smile at some point during a visit to see the wondrous animals at the zoo.
Our society has been changing though. When I was growing up, we were taught a sense of community first. Then we were encouraged to develop our individuality. Today that’s reversed and the concept of community may not be emphasized at all.
So I witnessed a big transition at this visit to the Zoo. What were people taking pictures of – themselves. Oh yeah, they might put an animal or two in the background, but the central idea appears to be wanting to document the humans’ existence at a particular place or time. It is not “Look at the beautiful Giraffe!” It is “Hey, look at me! See what I’m doing. I’m at the zoo. The Giraffe proves it.”
Sorry if that sounds a bit cynical, but that seems to be a lot of what I witnessed in terms of the human animal at the zoo. I could challenge many of the animals with cameras to show me a picture of just the animals. Many would meet that challenge. Others, perhaps not.
I saw an incredible amount of self-absorption and technological absorption out there. It’s not healthy. Many didn’t know how to react when a friendly stranger would say hi, or agree with a comment they made admiring the rhino. They would stare at me in shock because they had actually been spoken too. Maybe if I had texted 🙂
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying these folks are bad. I just may have a few different priorities or a different orientation, and I think it would help pull people together to have a broad concept of community – including all of the animal community.
To have a community bond, we must communicate. Look each other in the eye and not be afraid to speak. To share.
That’s just a little food for thought as I weave in the theme of contrasts. And we’ll come back to that theme in a different context in another chapter.
For now, I’m going to post a gallery of pictures. I’m not in any of them 🙂
Not every pic is crystal clear. The animals didn’t always face me or pose for me. Sometimes I moved the camera. One technique I tried to use when possible was blurring out bars and cages and fences. It doesn’t always work though.
I included the Guam Kingfisher, even though the cage blurred the pic. Because it’s extinct in the wild, this may be the only way to see it.
I hope there are a few you enjoy.