The Portland Zoo - Part 1

What to do with a warm winter day?
How about the zoo?
Yes! How about the zoo!

I went to the Portland Zoo today. I had never been. So I went alone and had a ball. Alone! At the zoo! On a rainy day! Hurray! All the animals were wet and miserably content in their chain-link cages—just sitting there watching their plexiglass televisions, laughing at the comedy of nature in the grand scheme of things.

For the most part, the zoo was empty. It felt like I had the whole place to myself. The only people I managed to bump into reminded me of ghosts—spooky. They floated by and parted their wisdom with wispy awkward stares—looking as if they had just seen a ghost—floating through the halls of the animal kingdom with scary white faces, laughing nervously, gathering their children close for protection. Stay close little ghost. Don't go that way yet. Wait for me to finish pointing out that that fish just pooped! And look! It floats like a ghost too! Powder suspended in water—murky!

I haven't been to a zoo in a long time. Too long perhaps. It looks sadder the older and taller you grow. You have to stoop down to see everything—it's at a child's level—with easy directions painted everywhere in big-bright colors. THIS WAY TO THE PETTING ZOO.

Wet chickens and cows, covered in mud and sickness. Pet them at your own expenses, and remember to read the sign at the sink when you try to wash off the stink! THE WATER HAS BEEN TURNED OFF FOR THE WINTER. SORRY FOR THE INCONVIENCE. Just wipe it on your jeans, until you can find a bathroom. I think I saw one behind THE GREAT NORTHWEST, next to a bald eagle.

Poor, wet bald eagle. With his white feathers matted down, looking around for the majesty of his life that was lost on the day he was born. He spends the rest of his days searching for it inside himself, somewhere deep within—underlying thoughts of escape—far beyond the net above him, past these godforsaken clouds, where the sun is forever shining, completely out of reach.

In a fury of excitement, another bald eagle comes swooping down, breaking through the clouds, landing on the net. One whispers to the other, “I'm here to rescue you, but I'll need your help. I'm tired of flying around free and hungry. I want to trade places with you. How about that?” Sure, but how bout the net? “We'll use our beaks like scissors, but we'll have to kiss. Your beak and my beak and our tongues together slicing and untying a hole small enough for the both of us. I can crawl in, while you crawl out. Come on now, let's get to it.” The eagles kiss and lick and peck and neck, and feathers fall to the ground. One is let in while the other escapes, freedom bound!

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