Thursday, April 19, 2012


Sometimes it's never quite clear what theme will pop out of my photo journeys.  The more I go on hikes around national or state parks; the more I am resenting the idea of cages and zoos.  It's not that I don't believe there shouldn't be zoos.  It's just that I dislike the general public for being so irresponsible.  "Whoa whoa whoa!!!  Dislike is a negative word. Blogging is about happy thoughts."  Now now.  Don't judge me so quickly.  Zoos have their place and they sure do educate.  But this shot above is what inspired the photos that follow....Coexisting together in peace.  I think my sister in law may have raised her eyebrow at the title for my photo shoots:)
Do you ever watch the "others" while you're at the zoo?  You know....the squirrels, sparrows, grackles, etc that take advantage of the free treats humans leave behind, the watering holes created for the caged animals or the food left behind for other animals?  Take for example this squirrel eating the turtle food on the ground.   These animals do not have cages and yet have found a place to coexist among their  more famous residents.
Zoos educate kids and adults alike about the greater world....and that's a good thing.  Some of these animals were saved from a brutal death in their home environments.  It pains me to watch people carelessly walking by caged birds or animals to get that slushy....and then leave the cup behind for someone else to pick up.  Note to self, never go on the weekends....NEVER:)  Family came up and we had a nice time together, but I couldn't help watching the people who were present around us.  I am a pretty sensitive guy to wildlife and protecting lands.  But if it's any indication from the public, I would think that most would barely know how to survive out in the wild.  No cell phones(I still don't own one).  No mobile devices.  Meanwhile the animals live in their spaces.  I consider zoos similiar to retirement homes.  Not a pretty picture. 
But the familiar faces remind me that we have to start somewhere.  Here is my SIL with my cute little nephew.  And there are lots of educational opportunities that can be found by looking at an animal or plant.  When I see this picture, I see a flashback to my days in Peru or Guatemala where women carry their young in these cute wraps.  I think they are really cool looking actually.  But let's forget cute for the moment and look at the Mother/Child relationship.  One could not exist without the love of a parent and so both coexist.  One to carry on the memories and traditions of a family while the other learns about love and support from constant nurturing......especially in the beginning.  It has to start somewhere.
So why this Pink Flamingo found in Chile?  Well Flamingos are cool.  But note how they all coexist together as a unit. The new Elephant addition to the zoo is well done.  You will see how all the elephants stick together as a unit.  In so many ways, I am learning how to coexist in the greater world each day.  It is obvious that humans can do more damage than good and we must protect those things that are precious.  I watch the mother of the Great Horned Owl as she defends her clutch at my work site from possible bird or human attacks.  The father owl was attacked by a murder of crows the other day and possibly killed.  Nature is such a fragile thing. Balance is everything. Will the owlets survive this year?
The Grackle is the bird version of us.  Forget the elephants or the lions.....I focused my attention on this bird today.  I have a lot of great shots, but one will suffice. This bird is an omnivore and steals from others and it takes full advantage of the surroundings.  But the difference?  It doesn't cause long lasting damage to the planet like a human can:)
But I am reminded that we have to start somewhere.  I actually like kids when there is only one to watch:)  This is my niece and she was full of questions....and they were good ones. She also has a good eye for spotting things.  I need to bring her on my hikes:)  And she listened without the commotion of people around her.  All of us that read each other's blogs, already do this, but it's surprising how many people do not do this:)  We are distracted by the "noises" around us.  And I think that is what I realized after our visit to the zoo.  People are running around so much that they don't do what is important like take the time and "smell the roses"(which are smelling pretty good right now:)  A lot of the people at the zoo had a hard time walking short distances without panting or checking their cell phones every 5 seconds and that makes me sad.  Technology is a good thing, but we need to learn that there is another side to this life.  The majority of us are not coexisting in the greater world.
Final thoughts.  Like the commercials that are played on the Delilah program at night about visiting know the ones....:) "Hey Dad", says the son in a robotic voice and Dad replies, "Ooooh I think it's time to visit a state park." or like the movie theater commercial before the movie begins, "Please shut off your cell phones.  It. Can. Wait.", we need to remind others to do the same.  Most of us(we bloggers) already do this, but this year I began teaching my students about the greater world beyond culture and the Spanish language with my photos.  Everyday before I begin my lectures, I start off with a photo from my travels. And what I've learned from each of you is that we all have something very special to share whether it be in writing or through the acts of parenting, teaching.  Little by little.  Those are my rambling thoughts today. More mañana:)


  1. Nice place and lovely shots, the composition of the first one is very nice.

    greetings, Joop

  2. I enjoyed reading your rambling thoughts and agree with each and every one of them. The world could use more good teachers such as you.

    Thanks for sharing the beauty you found at the zoo.
    cheers :)

  3. I don't like zoos, they put animals in smallish a human being in prison really! They are educational yes, but i think the best option is game parks, at least animals can recover a sort of "natural style of life"!
    Love the focus of your little nephew, he is so cute!!

  4. I usually do not like seeing animals in cages. But when it comes to animals being close to extinction I believe that the zoos like the Smithsonian near me are helping to keep a certain species from dying off. As far as people go, I am amazed at how many litter. They just do not care about the environment. Are they just too lazy to walk to the nearest trash can? On a brighter side your niece and nephew are cute and I am sure they enjoyed the zoo. The Smithsonian has wonderful programs for children. Great post and photos. Have a wonderful day!

  5. Wow, these are all beautiful, the expressions are so well captured. But i love most the expression of the first one, giving a thousand words!

  6. Nie lubię oglądać zwierząt w klatce, więc i nie jestem miłośniczką ZOO. Z pewnością jest tam zachwiana równowaga biologiczna. Pozdrawiam.
    I do not like watching animals in a cage, and so I'm not a fan of the zoo. Certainly there is a biological imbalance. Yours.

  7. terribly sorry about the father owl.

    i think sometimes the cages at the zoos protect the animals from us.

  8. I'm am torn on the zoo issues. For so many, it is the first and sometimes only exposure to real animals and I believe it can spur one to take action and to help our wildlife. I could go back and forth on this for far too long so I'll stop now.

    What I do want you to do is that, as always, I adore your photos, but your message today was so moving and so real and I thank you for sharing it.

  9. A really thought-provoking and well written post Chris. Although I know many zoos are good educators and have rare breeding programmes, I am never comfortable with animals in cages. I must admit, however, I have been to zoos as my daughter loves to see the animals - in fact she insisted on going to a Safari Park last year for her 21st birthday treat!

    I did like your descriptions of some of the people walking round - so often they just seem to go from burger parlour to ice cream kiosk texting constantly as they shuffle from one place to another!

    Some lovely photos in the post btw.

  10. I have very mixed emotions about zoos. Especially after having worked at a couple where I was in constant conflict between feeling fortunate and humbled by being so close to the animals yet heart breaking that they were there. And they were injured or imprinted animals that could never be released. Yet it's educational.

    Most folks just can't disconnect from the tech and just enjoy the world around them.

  11. Lots of thoughts to ponder. I would always much rather see animals in the wild.

  12. The more little people, like your two, can be drawn in to wonder at and understand nature, the better for all of us in future.

  13. PS I'm the second person in our world with no cell phone ;~)

  14. I know what you mean about zoos. I feel the same way. Sea World, too, and places like that.

  15. Animals in zoos often look very stressed. I really love the first picture on your post.

  16. you're a natural with that camera

  17. I wish more people would coexist peacefully together. I have a love/hate relationship with zoos. So often the animals are depressed/stressed/bored. People watching is often more fascinating.

  18. Chris, you are right... Nature is fragile... I love watching my backyard birds... Most of them co-exist very well together --and get along with each other quite well...BUT--then there are the pesky Blue Jays. They are beautiful--but can be aggressive.

    This week, I watched Daddy Bluebird (who is much smaller than a Jay) screeching at a Blue Jay who was much too close to the nestbox in Daddy Blue's opinion. The Bluebird did succeed by driving that Jay away, and his babies in the nestbox were fine. It was fun watching all of that happen.

    Have a great weekend.

  19. Great and interesting post!
    I prefer to see them in the wild too.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Sorry about the father owl.


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