More photos and a poem

JudygirImg_9673I am going to try and abandon my parkbench for legitimate wi-fi service at Panera’s today so I can come around and say hello. In the meantime, I offer you more photos (click to enlarge, it’s worth it) I took yesterday at Busch Gardens (see post below). I guess my friend, Judy, and the giraffe is the funniest photo of the day. The hippo was great and that’s Scott, a Clydesdale on vacation.

ClydesdaleAs far as the Clydesdales go, they have 6 of the draft teams that you see in the commercials and they also have relief teams, so that the horses actually work a number of months and then they rest at places like Busch Gardens. They fall into 3 categories with the lighter horses at the front of the team, the middle weights, like Scott here, and then the "wheel horses" who stand as much as 19 or 20 hands tall. The wheel horses put the oomp in the effort and are closest to the wagon. Here’s a daily diet high in fiber: a bale of hay, 25# of oats and 30 gallons of water. My only thought? That’s a lot of shoveling. And yes, we also pet the wanna-be Clydesdale donkey, Twinkle.

And I’ll close with one of my all time favorite poems by James Dickey. I like to think it’s pretty much spot on.


The Heaven of Animals

Here they are. The soft eyes open.
If they have lived in a wood
It is a wood.
If they have lived on plains
It is grass rolling
Under their feet forever.

Having no souls, they have come,
Anyway, beyond their knowing.
Their instincts wholly bloom
And they rise.
The soft eyes open.

To match them, the landscape flowers,
Outdoing, desperately
Outdoing what is required:
The richest wood,
The deepest field.

For some of these,
It could not be the place
It is, without blood.
These hunt, as they have done
But with claws and teeth grown perfect,

More deadly than they can believe.
They stalk more silently,
And crouch on the limbs of trees,
And their descent
Upon the bright backs of their prey

May take years
In a sovereign floating of joy.
And those that are hunted
Know this as their life,
Their reward: to walk

Under such trees in full knowledge
Of what is in glory above them,
And to feel no fear,
But acceptance, compliance.
Fulfilling themselves without pain

At the cycles center,
They tremble, they walk
Under the tree,
They fall, they are torn,
They rise, they walk again.

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20 responses to “More photos and a poem

  1. Very nice! Love the poem!! I LOVE THAT GIRAFFE! – see? got it right this time. I love his squiggle neck and long eyelashes! Never really realized before how wonderful they are! Thanks Vic!

  2. You are as devoted and informed regarding the animals as Lofting’s Dr. Dolittle. Yet, so much prettier!

  3. Laughter and goosebumps reading a single post. Love the hippo photo. Love the poem. And I still have a little girl’s passion – make of it what you will! – for draft horses.

  4. Poetry is supposed to rhyme.
    Didn’t the poet have the time?

    Nice to see you visit the zoo.
    Did you step in any goo?

  5. Hoss is tooooo much!

    I love the hippo portrait, Vicki. A face only a mother could love…..lol.

  6. I LIKE that poem. I think they do have souls though.

  7. Amazing pictures! Your camera picks up every detail. And I love the poem. It reminds me of the chapter in By the Shores of Silver Lake when Laura’s dog Jack dies. It’s worth re-reading.

  8. The look on your friend Judy’s face is “priceless”. Wahahahahaha! The baby hippo is adorable too. What absolute fun. I love the San Diego Zoo and here in Virginia Beach they have a “Living Museum”. They take in injured wildlife and rehab them. If they cannot be released back into the wild they live their lives out there. These animals include a bald eagle with one wing who travels around to schools with his handler, and helps educate the children about Virginia wildlife. There is also a wildlife preserve here with no motorized traffic (it’s a five mile walk) to an untouched ocean front with wetlands that are a wintering home to hundreds of migrating birds. I believe it is called Cape Back Bay (or something close). My cameras, Nyssa and I are going to go this year. One of my resolutions.

  9. I like the photos. I’m not sure about the poem. I think we either all have souls or none of us do. I also think there probably is both fear and pain under the “glory” of predation. Still, romantic license is the province of poetry in the nineteenth century style, rationalizing colonialism of both nature and nation. Does the lack of soul increase beauty because of finitude or does it just excuse our own predatory nature? Sorry, I just get to chewing on things and they crack open like that.

  10. Ain’t my momma cute??? That is such a Judy face. 🙂 Thanks for sharing the pictures and the info. I love animals and am quite envious of your Sunday adventure. I look forward to seeing more pictures!

  11. The hippo is brilliant! And I adore James Dickey. He’s from my hometown, in fact, he grew up around the corner from my Dad (though Dickey is older than Dad).

  12. Vicki, I am glad you like Present simple. I try to read her blog every time she has a new post. She is from NZ; a teacher of English to Japanese students. Some of her tales are very interesting and the photos almost always tell a story.

  13. Another wonderful post with wonderful pics and a wonderful poem to boot. If I need inspiration to write better posts, I only have to come here…

  14. Another wonderful post with wonderful pics and a wonderful poem to boot. If I need inspiration to write better posts, I only have to come here…

  15. What a tongue on that dude!!

  16. Oooooh. That horse likes you. Look at him soaking you in.

    Don’t tell him he doesn’t have a soul.

    Lovely poem, though.

  17. Oooooh. That horse likes you. Look at him soaking you in.

    Don’t tell him he doesn’t have a soul.

    Lovely poem, though.

  18. it IS all happening at the zoo! THANKS for sharing the trip. i firmly believe that there will be animals in heaven. i can’t imagine it without them! snorkeling and swimming with the dolphins last week made me understand more of abby’s fascination with the underwater world. cool!

  19. it IS all happening at the zoo! THANKS for sharing the trip. i firmly believe that there will be animals in heaven. i can’t imagine it without them! snorkeling and swimming with the dolphins last week made me understand more of abby’s fascination with the underwater world. cool!

  20. *Sigh* Love James Dickey! Wonderful!

    Don’t you feel guilty at all for missing winter, and hanging out down in Florida all day?

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