Bodhi loves the animals at the zoo. This morning he woke up and announced, "Mama, let's go see the animals!". Of course!
We packed a light picnic and headed out. When visiting the zoo it is best to see it at Bodhi's pace, without an agenda or some frenzied determination to see as many animals as possible. Today, Bodhi looked at the map, found the picture of his beloved elephants and said, pointing, "Let's go there". And so we did. This time we were treated to a visual explanation of the term "I have to pee like an elephant". Something Owen and Shane began saying a few years ago after a similar experience with our pachyderm brethren.Next we visited the penguins, the mandrils and the flamingos. At the flamingo exhibit Bodhi immediatly attempted a break in. When stopped, he stared in disillusionment at his pink friends, stating simply, "I want to be a flamingo too".As we were getting ready to leave, we discovered a kindred spirit. This beautiful black and white youngster from Africa.I must clarify a point. Bodhi doesn't have favorite animals in general, rather he has good friends that are animals in specific. The main point of attraction is personality, something Bodhi has in spades and thus admires in others. This little friend played with Bodhi for forty minutes, hanging in front of the glass pressing a hand toward Bodhi's, licking the glass where his face was. It was beautiful. In a short time Bodhi was looking for a way in. I love this simple difference between the innocence of childhood and the occasional stagnancy of adulthood. Bodhi doesn't see the bars, fences and cages as a measure of protection for him or the animals. He sees them as a barrier, something he naturally wants to overcome. He longs for freedom and the liberty to call a friend a friend, regardless of rank or species. I too have often wondered what we are walling in and what we are walling out, when we create bars and prisons, zoos and barriers. In the end Bodhi simply held out a hand and said, "Friend!" a simple gesture that was as simply returned. One of my greatest hopes is that he manages to hold fast to that innocence his whole life long.