- After a weekend spent with my grandsons on a trip to the St. Louis zoo my heart is breaking for all animals that will soon be extinct, and especially the polar bear. I have been to the zoo on many occasions in and of course I have enjoyed the levity and laughter while watching the antics of the apes, the entertaining sea lions, I and have been amazed and awed by the beauty of big cats. However, yesterday, sharing our greatest creatures ever to walk this exquisite earth with the three little boys dearest to my heart while knowing that there is a distinct probability that every animal cherished in their favorite books will be extinct in 50 years has saddened my spirit. I was obsessed with animals when I was a child. All animals, large and small, hoofed or padded, ferocious or domestic, I loved them all. I can remember decorating my bedroom with posters of polar bear babies, frolicking sea lions, puppies and kittens as a preteen. My goal my freshman year of high school was to become a veterinarian and I was a member of the veterinarian club. We had field trips to the zoo, where I wanted to work. I would have done any job there, even cleaning the manure, just so that I could be close to the animals. But my sophomore year I started running with a different group of friends and my personality changed. I guess you could say I lost myself somewhat, I stopped listening to my own voice, and instead attempted to become more instep with others. I have had many passions and ideas that I have not followed through on in my life, regretfully. However that is another story in itself.
Looking at a beautiful polar bear laying in the dirt, panting heavily while trying to stay cool, was heart wrenching. He was asleep up against the glass while we all stared at him. I could hear all the usual comments around me, all the usual exclamations about how big his paws were. Or how cute. Children would ask questions like why doesn’t he play. All I could angrily think about was how uncomfortable he seemed. Where was his glacier!? How can he survive in the St. Louis climate in the summertime? And what about the other polar bears in the Arctic who are suffering because of global warming. The only thing separating me from that incredible bear was a 2 inch thick pane of glass and decades of my ignorance. I have let the years of my life swallow up my desire to help animals. In the noisy daily trappings of my daily duties I have forgotten the silent ones. I have guiltily cast aside the Endangered Species list and replaced it with a To Do list. Ironically, that To Do list makes me feel like a caged animal. You know, that proverbial hamster on a wheel in a cage constantly running, doing, going…. nowhere.
Later that night when I tried to fall asleep all I could think of were my grandchildren and how the world is changing so fast, and I wondered how my grandchildren’s children would see their world. Will they grow up to have an appreciation for nature and for all things great and small? Would they have trees to climb in and fresh water to drink? Will there still be animals left on the earth roaming freely in their natural environment?
The next morning, my oldest grandson Dylan, 11, who has always been an insightful boy and is now becoming a deep thinker, shared some of his thoughts about planet earth and its relationship to the universe and solar system, and somehow that led to the conversation of Isis and terrorism. He even told me about ‘Anonymous’ that group of activists/hacktivists. While I have heard about that group, he knew more about it than I did! We shared our sadness about the near extinction of some of the animals that we saw at the zoo. His soulful brown eyes told me how upsetting it is for him. Dylan is my nature boy, my creative grandson who looks at the world and constantly reminds me about the importance of kindness, peace and understanding others He wanted me to watch some of his favorite YouTube videos with him. He immediately pulled up Prince Ea’s powerful political and important philosophies Regarding saving the earth and animals. I was in near tears while watching this incredible man espouse his opinions regarding these issues on which I used to have so much more passion about. I need to rectify that.