Monday, April 13, 2009

Have just had a lovely four day break for Easter.....beautiful weather, family and excessive amounts of chocolate.....wonderful! We took the kids to the zoo on Saturday, none of us having been for well over twelve months. It's certainly a vastly different zoo from the one I used to visit as a kid....virtually no bars in sight and masses of trees and gardens. They let the Macaw out for a free flight on the central lawn which is awesome to watch, particularly when he flys right at you and skims over the top of your head!
I felt a bit nostalgic for the years when I lived near the city and used to spend entire days at the zoo, sketching the animals and just sitting quietly watching them going about their business. During one visit I discovered, quite by accident, that the beavers emerge very early in the morning (their enclosure usually appears to be empty) and I sat and watched them in rapt fascination until they retreated back inside their dam. It was like a kind of secret that we shared and the magic of it was only matched years later when I went with my daughter's class on a 'zoo sleepover'. After a fairly restless night's sleep (sharing a room with thirty snoring kids will do that) I was awake VERY early. We'd been instructed by one of the zoo staff not to wander around the zoo outside normal hours but at that time Adelaide zoo was playing host to two lowland gorillas and the lure of seeing them without the massive crowds of people was too much for me. I made some coffee, crept around the corner to their temporary home and sat silently watching them eat their banana leaf breakfast for over an hour.
I've always been a little uncomfortable with the term 'animal lover', not because there is anything wrong with loving animals but for me it conjures images of over-indulging people with tiny over-bred dogs (ha!...this from a pug owner!) and fluffy over-fed cats. But I DO love them, and observing them, drawing them and photographing them brings me enormous joy. If I hadn't become an artist I would have worked with animals in some capacity......but then, we do have a lot of pets so I guess I get to do both.
Till next time.

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