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Yesterday was a basic workday, punctuated at the end by some exciting trip-planning: a bus ticket and hostel bed in Prague for only $75 total!  You’ll read about Prague around September 12th.

Today I joined some of the kids I work with, on their field trip to the Nürnberg Zoo (Tiergarten).  Now, I’ll be honest with you.  I had a nice time with the kids, and it was great to spend the day outside and walking in what looks like nature.  We ran into two sudden downpours (that left me soaked to the bone and with the certain knowledge that I need raingear – stat) but spirits stayed high and we made the most of the day.

But I don’t like zoos.  Zoos make me really, really sad.  To see magnificent beasts confined in cages or habitats that may resemble home, but in the way a stage set resembles home, hurts my heart quite a bit.  It may be my imagination, but the gorillas looked downright depressed, and the cheetahs seemed to have the space, but absolutely no natural reason, to run – to fully express their “cheetah-ness”, to borrow a concept from visionary farmer (and personal hero) Joel Salatin.  The pigs rooted in a foot of mud that had no truffle-y rewards at the bottom – why?  The dolphins and seals followed directions at the dolphin show, and looked like they were having fun, but were they?  I know, it’s a bit morose of me to rant on about it, but it’s just the way I feel.  I instinctively captured the feel in some of my pictures, particularly the caged great birds (griffon, eagle and owl) and the tagged cows.  (Oh those beautiful faces!)

My sister loves to tell the story of when my family went to the Livermore rodeo many years ago.  I was still a vegetarian back then, maybe even in one of my vegan phases, but spending the day with the family outside seemed like fun.  Well, the food vendors gave me no shortage of strange and annoyed looks as I ordered my tacos without meat or cheese, and sitting in the stands I was definitely the only spectator rooting for the horses and cows.  I actually applauded and whooped when a calf got away from a cowboy’s lasso!  And I’m sorry, but the tight 501’s make the cowboys run like they have pineapples up their asses.  I tried not to make a scene, but that worked about as well as…well, a rodeo clown trying not to make a scene at the opera.  Oh dear.  My empathy for our furry friends goes way back.

Tonight I am tired (the zoo trip required an early morning) but determined to carry on some ritual practices that I’ve started establishing in my life, and even put attention toward a new one tonight.  In the meantime, I think I have established trips for my remaining weekends in Germany.  More later this week, perhaps.

Solvo Bestia!

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