Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Baby Elephant

We went to the zoo over the holidays to see the baby elephant, Lilly.

She was about 3 weeks old.

The morning was foggy and cold, I was glad I had gloves and a wool cloak. Luckily, it wasn't raining. As long as I kept moving, my feet didn't get too cold.

We got to the zoo relatively early and joined the throng winding its way down the paths curving around the Pacific Northwest exhibit, past the spuming coastal exhibit, and the investigated by the health department restaurant, to the elephant house.

There was a queue to go into the sturdy, blocky building, which usually isn't the case. Inside was slightly dark and dank; the building must be about fifty years old, so it looks like a giant cage -- I'm guessing the plexiglas between the zoo-goers and the gigantic bars holding back the elephants is only slightly younger than the rest of the building.

Behind the bars, eating a breakfast of hay, were Lilly and her mother. I took a few photos of the elephant when we got closer. People were mostly polite and aware of the folks behind them. The most surprizing thing to watch was how much of an infant Lilly still is, even though she is the size of a small pony. We always equate large animals with grown ones, but the way she moved her trunk and leaned against her mother was very infant like.

After the elephants, we went to the Safari Section of the Zoo to see the Lions, Tigers, Cheetahs, and Leopards. The Lions and the Tigers were distant. The Cheetahs and Leopards, however, where hunkered down against the inclement weather in window bays (conveniently lined with straw). I'm not sure that I'd want a large window in my bedroom for people to peer at me through, but the cats seemed pretty adept at ignoring us. I got some nice close-up pictures of them.

The sea lions -- large and graceful within the blue water, like shadows of dark clouds meeting. -- reminded me that sometimes it's better to enjoy what you're looking at directly, rather than constraining it to a finder frame.
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