Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Animal Crackers

God is really only another artist, he made the elephant, giraffe and cat. He has no real style but keeps trying new ideas.

Pablo Picasso
While living in New York City I belonged to a small group called The Birthday Club. We celebrated each other's birthdays in an unusual way. Whoever had a birthday would throw a party for the other members. It usually involved an event, an excursion boat trip. a drive out into the country, a day at the beach and so forth. Since it was a small group it didn't cost the birthday celebrant much. One day the fellow having the birthday packed a picnic lunch and took us all to the Bronx Zoo.

The Bronx Zoo, officially known as the New York Zoological Garden, was one of the vanguard zoos to create natural environments for the animals. The creatures there live in their natural element as much as possible and are well cared for.

I'm still not sure I know what the fascination is for looking at animals, but since millions of people do it all over the world there is obviously some attraction beyond simple curiosity.

We saw the elephants and the giraffes. We saw the bats and the moles, so dark in their subterranean burrows you could hardly see them. We went through the primate area where I had a conversation with a young gorilla which I've written about somewhere. We saw the big birds who sit up on their perches and occasionally spread their wings, a magnificent sight resembling a small living aircraft. The small birds are not confined to their areas but can fly out and up and down the hall over people's heads if they want to, and visit each other. We saw the butterflies and the reptiles, the wolves and walking birds. One of the emus came right up to his fence and stared me right in the eye. I don't know what he wanted but maybe his was just curious. Humans, after all, are the oddest creatures in the world.

Finally we settled down to have our picnic lunch next to a field where young baboons were chasing each other around.

At one point in our visit we came upon a field of tigers. One of them was on a rock ledge pacing back and forth, back and forth. He never left the ledge. I asked one of the keepers about him and was told that the tiger and been a performing animal, a circus cat, and he had spent most of his life in a cage where it was his habit to pace back and forth. He hadn't yet learned that he could jump off the ledge and roam in the field. To me that was the most interesting thing I saw that day.

Am I just pacing back and forth in my habitual, orthodox mental cage unwilling to roam the field and discover new ideas?

DB - The Vagabond

(This is not a contest.)

In your opinion what is the most amazing thing that could happen during this decade? Make it as outrageous as you want but keep it within the realm of what you consider a possibility.

15 responses so far.

Answers will be published the first day of Summer.

Thank you.

DB - The Vagabond


Coy said...

Hi DB ... interesting read, your clearly written message hit home with me a bit, as you know ... my current inintended scheduling change has left me pacing back and forth within the confines of my familiar week to week rounds.
I love change but obvioulsy only adjust well to it when it fits within the safe perimiters of my chosen routine.

I like the idea of your birthday club.

Valerie said...

Hi DB, I think I want to be in that birthday club.

I feel like that tiger often. I remain in the boundaries I have set for myself and only venture out when I am comfortable enough, which is not very often at all.

This is the main reason I like reading your blog, DB, it challenges me to be more than I am. It lets me know that there is more out there that I can be doing!

I think God is not only another artist, He is the BEST artist. LOL

Hope your week is going well. Love, Val xox

Liz said...

The pacing you saw the tiger exhibit was that animal's response to severe stress.
If I ever saw that or any other severe behavioural abnormality in any animal I knew there was something seriously wrong with the husbandry.
In this case the tiger needed time to forget the past horror before being able to embrace a better future.

Are you mentally pacing back and forth?
If so is it a response to the stress of your situation now and it seems to me that you have found the way out of the cage and only have to follow it like those who followed your words.

pacifica62 said...

It is safer to pace back and forth in our mental cage, but not necessarily beneficial to us. At least we can roam the fields and discover new ideas if we allow or push ourselves to do so.I think sometimes we put ourselves into self imposed cages or prisons as an excuse not to change, not to wander or not to embrace new ideas. I think that you have roamed he fields far and wide and have discovered a multitude of new ideas. I think that you still do that, if not in geographical spaces, then surely through books, music and art. Like a honeybee looking for pollen, I see you flitting from one medium to another gathering up what you can at your own speed.

DB said...

I've never been called a honeybee before in my life, even though I may have deserved it from time to time. Thank you Pacifica.


Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Interesting idea the Birthday Club. Mine would be at a brewery :o)