Zoo Day Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Zoo Day. Here they are! All 100 of them:

What a terrible thing it is to botch a farewell. I am a person who believes in form, in the harmony of order. Where we can, we must give things a meaningful shape. For example - I wonder - could you tell my jumbled story in exactly one hundred chapters, not one more, not one less? I'll tell you, that's one thing I have about my nickname, the way the number runs on forever. It's important in life to conclude things properly. Only then can you let go. Otherwise you are left with words you should have said but never did, and your heart is heavy with remorse. That bungled goodbye hurts me to this day. I wish so much that I'd had one last look at him in the lifeboat, that I'd provoked him a little, so that I was on his mind. I wish I had said to him then - yes, I know, to a tiger, but still - I wish I had said, "Richard Parker, it's over. We have survived. Can you believe it? I owe you more gratitude than I can express I couldn't have done it without you. I would like to say it formally: Richard Parker, thank you. Thank you for saving my life. And now go where you must. You have known the confined freedom of a zoo most of your life; now you will know the free confinement of a jungle. I wish you all the best with it. Watch out for Man. He is not your friend. But I hope you will remember me as a friend. I will never forget you , that is certain. You will always be with me, in my heart. What is that hiss? Ah, our boat has touched sand. So farewell, Richard Parker, farewell. God be with you.
Yann Martel (Life of Pi)
I will love you with no regard to the actions of our enemies or the jealousies of actors. I will love you with no regard to the outrage of certain parents or the boredom of certain friends. I will love you no matter what is served in the world’s cafeterias or what game is played at each and every recess. I will love you no matter how many fire drills we are all forced to endure, and no matter what is drawn upon the blackboard in blurry, boring chalk. I will love you no matter how many mistakes I make when trying to reduce fractions, and no matter how difficult it is to memorize the periodic table. I will love you no matter what your locker combination was, or how you decided to spend your time during study hall. I will love you no matter how your soccer team performed in the tournament or how many stains I received on my cheerleading uniform. I will love you if I never see you again, and I will love you if I see you every Tuesday. I will love you if you cut your hair and I will love you if you cut the hair of others. I will love you if you abandon your baticeering, and I will love you if you if you retire from the theater to take up some other, less dangerous occupation. I will love you if you drop your raincoat on the floor instead of hanging it up and I will love you if you betray your father. I will love you even if you announce that the poetry of Edgar Guest is the best in the world and even if you announce that the work of Zilpha Keatley Snyder is unbearably tedious. I will love you if you abandon the theremin and take up the harmonica and I will love you if you donate your marmosets to the zoo and your tree frogs to M. I will love you as a starfish loves a coral reef and as a kudzu loves trees, even if the oceans turn to sawdust and the trees fall in the forest without anyone around to hear them. I will love you as the pesto loves the fettuccini and as the horseradish loves the miyagi, as the tempura loves the ikura and the pepperoni loves the pizza. I will love you as the manatee loves the head of lettuce and as the dark spot loves the leopard, as the leech loves the ankle of a wader and as a corpse loves the beak of the vulture. I will love you as the doctor loves his sickest patient and a lake loves its thirstiest swimmer. I will love you as the beard loves the chin, and the crumbs love the beard, and the damp napkin loves the crumbs, and the precious document loves the dampness in the napkin, and the squinting eye of the reader loves the smudged print of the document, and the tears of sadness love the squinting eye as it misreads what is written. I will love you as the iceberg loves the ship, and the passengers love the lifeboat, and the lifeboat loves the teeth of the sperm whale, and the sperm whale loves the flavor of naval uniforms. i will love you as a child loves to overhear the conversations of its parents, and the parents love the sound of their own arguing voices, and as the pen loves to write down the words these voices utter in a notebook for safekeeping. I will love you as a shingle loves falling off a house on a windy day and striking a grumpy person across the chin, and as an oven loves malfunctioning in the middle of roasting a turkey. I will love you as an airplane loves to fall from a clear blue sky and as an escalator loves to entangle expensive scarves in its mechanisms. I will love you as a wet paper towel loves to be crumpled into a ball and thrown at a bathroom ceiling and as an eraser loves to leave dust in the hairdos of people who talk too much. I will love you as a cufflink loves to drop from its shirt and explore the party for itself and as a pair of white gloves loves to slip delicately into the punchbowl. I will love you as the taxi loves the muddy splash of a puddle and as a library loves the patient tick of a clock.
Lemony Snicket
If you wait until you got time to write a novel, or time to write a story, or time to read the hundred thousands of books you should have already read - if you wait for the time, you will never do it. ‘Cause there ain’t no time; world don’t want you to do that. World wants you to go to the zoo and eat cotton candy, preferably seven days a week.
Harry Crews
Best day of my life was January 9, 1997. I was eight years old and my mom and I went to the zoo on a class trip. I liked the bears. She liked the monkeys. Best day ever. End of story.
John Green (Looking for Alaska)
what sets wilderness apart in the modern day is not that it's dangerous (it's almost certainly safer than any town or road) or that it's solitary (you can, so they say, be alone in a crowded room) or full of exotic animals (there are more at the zoo). it's that five miles out in the woods you can't buy anything.
Bill McKibben (The Age of Missing Information)
The problem with the alphabet is that it bears no relation to anything at all, and when words are arranged alphabetically they are uselessly separated. In the OED, for example, aardvarks are 19 volumes away from the zoo, yachts are 18 volumes from the beach, and wine is 17 volumes from the nearest corkscrew.
Mark Forsyth (The Horologicon: A Day's Jaunt Through the Lost Words of the English Language)
I didn’t want you to remember this day because of the scarf. So I thought instead you could remember it as the day your Granny broke into a zoo—” “And escaped from a hospital,” Elsa says with a grin. “And escaped from a hospital,” says Granny with a grin. “And threw turds at the police.” “Actually, it was soil! Or mainly soil, anyway.” “Changing memories is a good superpower, I suppose.” Granny shrugs. “If you can’t get rid of the bad, you have to top it up with more goody stuff.
Fredrik Backman (My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry)
If you want to pay respects, by the way, he's at the zoo." "At the zoo? As in the zoo?" "Joey liked to walk the zoo on free days. I didn't know where else to put him. I thought about leaving him on a shelf upstairs, with Flannery or Fante or Rimbaud. But I figured there were rules against leaving bodies in here." "Probably." "So I put his ashes in a duffel bag and snipped a tiny hole in the bottom and walked the length of the zoo. But I didn't make the hole big enough so there were these tiny pieces left over in the bag. I shook them into the grass. But then all the geese thought he was bread crumbs and started charging me. Horrifying, Lydia, the way they gobbled him up. A frenzy. Joey would've abhorred all the attention.
Matthew J. Sullivan (Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore)
She cannot bear to catch fireflies in jars. She hates zoos. She will not let her father teach her about constellations, because she will not trap the stars. She lives in a world made entirely of sky. It is inconceivable that one day, her world will grow so dark and distant that when she raises her head, she will not be able to find it.
Amy Zhang (Falling into Place)
Dad, are we lost?” Luke repeated the question. “Yeah, we’re lost,” Dad replied quietly. “Hopelessly lost.” Clay let out a soft cry and slumped in the seat. He looked a little like a balloon deflating. “Don’t tell him that!” Mom cried sharply. “What should I tell him?” Dad snapped back. “We’re nowhere near Zoo Gardens. We’re nowhere near civilization! We’re in the desert, going nowhere!
R.L. Stine (One Day at Horrorland (Goosebumps, #16))
See this abdicated beast, once king Of them all, nibble his claws: Not anger enough left—no, nor despair— To break his teeth on the bars.
Cecil Day-Lewis (The Complete Poems of C. Day Lewis)
Oh, I hope I don’t teach. Because look what we did: we saved the zoo animals and the nice children, and we damned the afflicted and the blacks. You know what I do every day in that classroom? I do everything in my power to make sure those poor souls won’t learn the obvious lesson.
Chris Cleave (Everyone Brave is Forgiven)
I will love you with no regard to the actions of our enemies or the jealousies of actors. I will love you with no regard to the outrage of certain parents or the boredom of certain friends. I will love you no matter what is served in the world’s cafeterias or what game is played at each and every recess. I will love you no matter how many fire drills we are all forced to endure, and no matter what is drawn upon the blackboard in a blurring, boring chalk. I will love you no matter how many mistakes I make when trying to reduce fractions, and no matter how difficult it is to memorize the periodic table. I will love you no matter what your locker combination was, or how you decided to spend your time during study hall. I will love you no matter how your soccer team performed in the tournament or how many stains I received on my cheerleading uniform. I will love you if I never see you again, and I will love you if I see you every Tuesday. I will love you if you cut your hair and I will love you if you cut the hair of others. I will love you if you abandon your baticeering, and I will love you if you retire from the theater to take up some other, less dangerous occupation. I will love you if you drop your raincoat on the floor instead of hanging it up and I will love you if you betray your father. I will love you even if you announce that the poetry of Edgar Guest is the best in the world and even if you announce that the work of Zilpha Keatley Snyder is unbearably tedious. I will love you if you abandon the theremin and take up the harmonica and I will love you if you donate your marmosets to the zoo and your tree frogs to M. I will love you as the starfish loves a coral reef and as kudzu loves trees, even if the oceans turn to sawdust and the trees fall in the forest without anyone around to hear them. I will love you as the pesto loves the fetuccini and as the horseradish loves the miyagi, as the tempura loves the ikura and the pepperoni loves the pizza. I will love you as the manatee loves the head of lettuce and as the dark spot loves the leopard, as the leech loves the ankle of a wader and as a corpse loves the beak of the vulture. I will love you as the doctor loves his sickest patient and a lake loves its thirstiest swimmer. I will love you as the beard loves the chin, and the crumbs love the beard, and the damp napkin loves the crumbs, and the precious document loves the dampness in the napkin, and the squinting eye of the reader loves the smudged print of the document, and the tears of sadness love the squinting eye as it misreads what is written. I will love you as the iceberg loves the ship, and the passengers love the lifeboat, and the lifeboat loves the teeth of the sperm whale, and the sperm whale loves the flavor of naval uniforms. I will love you as a child loves to overhear the conversations of its parents, and the parents love the sound of their own arguing voices, and as the pen loves to write down the words these voices utter in a notebook for safekeeping. I will love you as a shingle loves falling off a house on a windy day and striking a grumpy person across the chin, and as an oven loves malfunctioning in the middle of roasting a turkey. I will love you as an airplane loves to fall from a clear blue sky and as an escalator loves to entangle expensive scarves in its mechanisms. I will love you as a wet paper towel loves to be crumpled into a ball and thrown at a bathroom ceiling and an eraser loves to leave dust in the hairdos of the people who talk too much. I will love you as a taxi loves the muddy splash of a puddle and as a library loves the patient tick of a clock. I will love you as a thief loves a gallery and as a crow loves a murder, as a cloud loves bats and as a range loves braes. I will love you as misfortune loves orphans, as fire loves innocence and as justice loves to sit and watch while everything goes wrong.
Lemony Snicket (The Beatrice Letters)
I remember spending an afternoon with Mr. Richter in the Central Park Zoo, I went weighted down with food for the animals, only someone who’d never been an animal would put up a sign saying not to feed them, Mr. Richter told a joke, I tossed hamburger to the lions, he rattled the cages with his laughter, the animals went to the corners, we laughed and laughed, together and separately, out loud and silently, we were determined to ignore whatever needed to be ignored, to build a new world from nothing if nothing in our world could be salvaged, it was one of the best days of my life, a day during which I lived my life and didn’t think about my life at all.
Jonathan Safran Foer (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close)
Despite all their flaws, zoos wake us up. They invite us to step outside our most basic assumptions. Offered for our contemplation, the animals remind us of nature’s impossibly varied schemes for survival, all the strategies that species rely upon for courtship and mating and protecting the young and establishing dominance and hunting for something to eat and avoiding being eaten. On a good day, zoos shake people into recognizing the manifold possibilities of existence, what it’s like to walk across the Earth, or swim in its oceans of fly above its forests—even though most animals on display will never have the chance to do any of those things again, at least not in the wild.
Thomas French (Zoo Story: Life in the Garden of Captives)
The night is a zoo and the next day is its museum
Emma Jane Unsworth
The idiots who say they're having a great day at the zoo must know that the animals there are just having a terrible time every day!
Mehmet Murat ildan
The kids have grown into full-sized Homo sapiens fully capable of feeding themselves. The time had come to let them do their own hunting and gathering. When they get hungry enough, they will find food. But they have to learn to do it for themselves. Otherwise, they’ll end up like zoo animals. When tigers get fed every day, they never learn to hunt. If they’re released into the wild, they starve.
Veronica James (Going Gypsy: One Couple's Adventure from Empty Nest to No Nest at All)
Thank fuck. I didn’t know how I’d be able to explain to the Canadian authorities that an entire town of people had disappeared, but we had a really awesome zoo here now, complete with lions, tigers, and bears, oh my.
Grace McGinty (Happily Undead in Dark River (Dark River Days, #2))
One never thinks, “Oh, I’d better look for some food.” Food is everywhere, and one picks it up almost absent-mindedly, as one takes a breath of air. In fact, one does not think of feeding as a distinct activity at all. Rather, it’s like a delicious music that plays in the background of all activities throughout the day. In fact, feeding became feeding for me only at the zoo, where twice daily great masses of tasteless fodder were pitched into our cages.
Daniel Quinn (Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit)
Are the kids at school mean?” “Not mean, exactly. I’d say that the way they treat me is peculiar. More like I’m a zoo animal than a person.” A fist bounced against her leg. “I figured it out when I was visiting a primates exhibit once. People were staring at the gorilla, wondering what he would do next, hoping to be fascinated or creeped out. When he did something gross, they gasped and leaned closer. But when nothing more happened, they got bored and walked off.” The fist-thumping ended. “All the gorilla wanted was to be left alone. Instead, he was caged and made to entertain people against his will. I felt sorry for him until I reaized the cage protected him. Then I was jealous.
Julia Day
Ruby: I’ve decided. I’m putting my Gary on a diet. Rosie: You’re putting him on a diet? How on earth can you control what your twenty-one-year-old son eats? Ruby: Oh it’s easy; I’ll just nail down everything to the floor. Rosie: So what kind of diet is it? Ruby: I don’t know. I bought a magazine, but there are so many stupid diets out there I don’t know which one to pick. Remember that ridiculous one that you and I did last year? The alphabet one where we had to eat foods beginning with a certain letter every day? Rosie: Oh yeah! How long did we do that for?! Ruby: Em . . . that would be 26 days of course Rosie Rosie: Oh . . . right . . . of course. You put on weight on the third day. Ruby: That’s because the third day was the lucky letter “C” . . . Cakes . . . mmmm Rosie: Well we made up for it on the last day. I was bloody starving on “Z” day; I was practically chasing zebras with a kitchen knife around the zoo. Could have eaten the zoo I suppose . . . Ruby: You should have done what I did, I ate like a queen. I became German for the day and ate “ze cakes” and “ze buns.” Oh I don’t know Rosie. I think I’ll just invent a diet of my own and give those stupid magazines a run for their money
Cecelia Ahern (Love, Rosie)
They think I may be dangerous, and I am, but not in the way they fear. I have tasted of Paradise. Not because I wanted to. I didn't want to. But it has borne down upon me and there is no escaping it any more. All Things Are Possible. It bears down upon everyone and we run from it as hard as we can and many manage to keep it at bay, but I have not, I am condemned, now, never.... to settle... for the lesser.... ever... again. And yes, that makes me a dangerous man. They think I have become one of the wild animals at the zoo, and I have become one of the wild animals at the zoo. This is a great day.
Michael Ventura (The Zoo Where You're Fed to God)
Disasterology The Badger is the thirteenth astrological sign. My sign. The one the other signs evicted: unanimously. So what? ! Think I want to read about my future in the newspaper next to the comics? My third grade teacher told me I had no future. I run through snow and turn around just to make sure I’ve got a past. My life’s a chandelier dropped from an airplane. I graduated first in my class from alibi school. There ought to be a healthy family cage at the zoo, or an open field, where I can lose my mother as many times as I need. When I get bored, I call the cops, tell them there’s a pervert peeking in my window! then I slip on a flimsy nightgown, go outside, press my face against the glass and wait… This makes me proud to be an American where drunk drivers ought to wear necklaces made from the spines of children they’ve run over. I remember my face being invented through a windshield. All the wounds stitched with horsehair So the scars galloped across my forehead. I remember the hymns cherubs sang in my bloodstream. The way even my shadow ached when the chubby infants stopped. I remember wishing I could be boiled like water and made pure again. Desire so real it could be outlined in chalk. My eyes were the color of palm trees in a hurricane. I’d wake up and my id would start the day without me. Somewhere a junkie fixes the hole in his arm and a racing car zips around my halo. A good God is hard to find. Each morning I look in the mirror and say promise me something don’t do the things I’ve done.
Jeffrey McDaniel
A Baby Elephant Right now my love for you is a baby elephant Born in Berlin or in Paris, And treading with its cushioned feet Around the zoo director's house. Do not offer it French pastries, Do not offer it cabbage heads, It can eat only sections of tangerines, Or lumps of sugar and pieces of candy. Don't cry, my sweet, because it will be put Into a narrow cage, become a joke for mobs, When salesman blow cigar smoke into its trunk To the cackles of their girl friends. Don't imagine, my dear, that the day will come When, infuriated, it will snap its chains And rush along the streets, Crushing howling people like a bus. No, may you dream of it at dawn, Clad in bronze and brocade and ostrich feathers, Like that magnificent beast which once Bore Hannibal to trembling Rome.
Nikolay Gumilyov
Today we do. On other days we have wars as horrible as any you've ever seen or read about. There isn't anything we can do about them, so we simply don't look at them. We ignore them. We spend eternity looking at pleasant moments-like today at the zoo. Isn't this a nice moment?" "Yes." "That's one thing Earthlings might learn to do, if they tried hard enough: Ignore the awful times, and concentrate on the good ones." "Um," said Billy Pilgrim.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Slaughterhouse-Five)
But you do have a peaceful planet here.” “Today we do. On other days we have wars as horrible as any you’ve ever seen or read about. There isn’t anything we can do about them, so we simply don’t look at them. We ignore them. We spend eternity looking at pleasant moments—like today at the zoo. Isn’t this a nice moment?” “Yes.” “That’s one thing Earthlings might learn to do, if they tried hard enough: Ignore the awful times, and concentrate on the good ones.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Slaughterhouse-Five)
What's wrong with you?' he sounded desperate to understand. 'I take you to a zoo of psychos and you're trying to make friends like some kind of bobita? You're going to get yourself killed one day, Reina.' I was quiet, but I knew he was wrong, and that it was just the opposite. Making friends with danger is the only way to survive.
Patricia Engel (The Veins of the Ocean)
Sometimes it’s convenient to have a pet that no one believes in. I’d never be allowed to bring a cat to work every day, but since Crow “isn’t real,” no one’s ever reported him to the zoo management. Other times, I think it would be nice to stop hiding him from the world. Miniature griffins could be the next big trend in exotic pets.
Seanan McGuire (Pocket Apocalypse (InCryptid, #4))
The Hunchback in the Park The hunchback in the park A solitary mister Propped between trees and water From the opening of the garden lock That lets the trees and water enter Until the Sunday sombre bell at dark Eating bread from a newspaper Drinking water from the chained cup That the children filled with gravel In the fountain basin where I sailed my ship Slept at night in a dog kennel But nobody chained him up. Like the park birds he came early Like the water he sat down And Mister they called Hey mister The truant boys from the town Running when he had heard them clearly On out of sound Past lake and rockery Laughing when he shook his paper Hunchbacked in mockery Through the loud zoo of the willow groves Dodging the park keeper With his stick that picked up leaves. And the old dog sleeper Alone between nurses and swans While the boys among willows Made the tigers jump out of their eyes To roar on the rockery stones And the groves were blue with sailors Made all day until bell time A woman figure without fault Straight as a young elm Straight and tall from his crooked bones That she might stand in the night After the locks and chains All night in the unmade park After the railings and shrubberies The birds the grass the trees the lake And the wild boys innocent as strawberries Had followed the hunchback To his kennel in the dark.
Dylan Thomas
Until he was four years old, James Henry Trotter had a happy life. He lived peacefully with his mother and father in a beautiful house beside the sea. There were always plenty of other children for him to play with, and there was the sandy beach for him to run about on, and the ocean to paddle in. It was a perfect life for a small boy. Then, one day, James's mother and father went to London to do some shopping, and there a terrible thing happened. Both of them suddenly got eaten up (in full daylight, mind you, and on a crowded street) by an enormous angry rhinoceros which had escaped from the London Zoo.
Roald Dahl (James and the Giant Peach)
The elephant was called Marlene. Mutti got to name her because she was working with the elephants in the zoo. She named her after a singer she loved, that many people loved in those days. Marlene Dietrich.
Michael Morpurgo (An Elephant in the Garden: Inspired by a True Story)
It's hard to get animals to reproduce in a zoo, but people, even condemned to death, even hunted by Leclerc's army, with the woods full of Fifis and the whole R.A.F on top of them thundering day and night, don't lose their desire to squirt! not in the least...
Louis-Ferdinand Céline
As he was leaving it occurred to him that he would not come back, to this zoo or to any of them. With the elephants more than any of the others, he thought as he left them--as he left behind these great beasts who recognized him when he came, who rumbled and swayed sadly--he could feel them waiting. He had thought at first it was food they were waiting for. Here they were, the last animals, locked up and ogled, who had no chance remaining of not being alone. Here they were, and what he had assumed in his smallness was that they wanted food. It was possible to be fooled by the signs of their animation, in the course of a day. But it was not food that interested them. Food was only a diversion for them, because they had little else. They were not waiting for food, but they were, in fact, waiting. He had not been wrong about that. It was obvious: all of them waited and they waited, up until their last day and their last night of sleep. They never gave up waiting, because they had nothing else to do. They waited to go back to the bright land; they waited to go home.
Lydia Millet (How the Dead Dream)
Sorry. But it isn’t for us to change how things are. I’m just an administrator. You’re just a teacher.” “Oh, I hope I don’t teach. Because look what we did: we saved the zoo animals and the nice children and we damned the afflicted and the blacks. You know what I do every day in that classroom? I do everything in my power to make sure those poor souls won’t learn the obvious lesson.” “If I were you,” said Tom, “I should stick to reading, writing and arithmetic.” “But what good is it to teach a child to count, if you don’t show him that he counts for something?
Chris Cleave (Everyone Brave Is Forgiven)
Snakes can have dozens of young at a time, and so they are often symbols of fertility. They resemble vegetation, especially roots, in their form and often in the green and brown of their skins. The undulating form of a snake also suggests a river. A point of muscular tension passes through the body of a snake and drives the animal forward, like a moment moving along a continuum of days and years. Like time itself, a snake seems to progress while remaining still. In addition, the body of a snake also resembles those marks with a stylus, brush, or pen that make up our letters. Ornamental alphabets of the ancient Celts and others were often made up of intertwined serpents. It could even be that the tracks of a snake in sand helped to inspire the invention of the alphabet. The manner in which snakes curl up in a ball has made people associate them with the sun.
Boria Sax (The Mythical Zoo: An Encyclopedia of Animals in World Myth, Legend, and Literature)
Animals in zoos and prisoners sleep many hours a day. Like them I have become a devotee, a voluptuary of sleep, a connoisseur of its intense, uncharted pleasures. Sleep slips the chains of this life, snaps the intimate fetters of my skin, sets me free to travel the wild landscapes of the ungoverned mind.
Anna Lyndsey
I have no words for you, Rook Walsh." "Try," I whisper back as I stare hungrily into his eyes. He brings his palms to my face and tilts my chin. "I could describe what you look like, but that's not what I see. You are so much more than a body inside a dress, Rook. You fit me. When I saw you crouching in that stairwell last week I felt like I knew you. You stopped me dead in my tracks, you wiped my mind. And I reached out to touch you that day because I couldn't resist. I needed to do it and I plan on touching you all night, on the way there in the car, through dinner, as we walk around the zoo and do whatever the hell it is they do at a nighttime fundraiser, and all the way home.
J.A. Huss (Tragic / Manic / Panic (Rook & Ronin, #1-3))
WHEN I STILL USED, I WAS ONCE WORKING IN IBIZA, HEDONISM capital of the nineties and the turn of the millennium. People swayed in sweaty swathes and stayed, pilled-up for days. I couldn’t participate, because I was too shy or broken, caught on some taut barbed wire in my mind. Me and my mate Matt, high one night, lost ourselves, found ourselves in a wood and pretended to be animals. It was just us, and we prowled and circled around. We locked eyes and growled and danced. “Let’s pretend we’re animals” was forgotten, and we were animals. We are animals. We are free animals with a divine spark, we’re not in a farm or a zoo or a theme park, we’re free. We’ve forgotten that we’re free.
Russell Brand
The Lutz heck that emerges from his writings and actions drifted like a weather vane: charming when need be, cold-blooded when need be, tigerish or endearing, depending on his goal. Still, it is surprising that Heck the zoologist chose to ignore the accepted theory of hybrid vigor: that interbreeding strengthens a bloodline. He must have known that mongrels enjoy better immune systems and have more tricks up their genetic sleeves, while in a closely knit species, however "perfect," any illness that kills one animal threatens to wipe out all the others, which is why zoos keep careful studbooks of endangered animals such as cheetahs and forest bison and try to mate them advantageously. In any case, in the distant past, long before anyone was recognizably Aryan, our ancestors shared the world with other flavors of hominids, and interbreeding among neighbors often took place, producing hardier, nastier offspring who thrived. All present-day humans descend from that robust, talkative mix, specifically from a genetic bottleneck of only about one hundred individuals. A 2006 study of mitochondrial DNA tracks Ashkenazi Jews (about 92 percent of the world’s Jews in 1931) back to four women, who migrated from the Near East to Italy in the second and third centuries. All of humanity can be traced back to the gene pool of one person, some say to a man, some a woman. It’s hard to imagine our fate being as iffy as that, be we are natural wonders.
Diane Ackerman (The Zookeeper's Wife)
The big cat cages also stank in the heat. This was before zoos built natural habitats with boulders and waterfalls, and the cages back then were painfully small, the animals miserable. The Bengal tiger had flies creeping all over its eyelids, and he didn’t even blink. There was a kid throwing peanuts at him, and Lecia somehow menaced the boy into stopping. When I grew up and discovered the German poet Rilke, it was this zoo’s sorry-looking cats that I thought back to. As a young poet, Rilke had been sent by the sculptor Rodin to study zoo animals, and he captured in a few lines the same frustrated power that I sensed that day in the dull-coated panther: It seems there are a thousand bars; and behind the bars, no world.
Mary Karr (The Liars' Club)
Having a good time together is the essence of lovingness and the best means of increasing it. Boys and girls need chances to be around their father, to be enjoyed by him and if possible to do things with him. Better to play fifteen minutes enjoyably and then say, 'Now I'm going to read my paper' than to spend all day at the zoo crossly. Parental trust is extremely important in the guidance of adolescent children as they get further and further away from the direct supervision of their parents and teachers. I don't mean that trust without clear guidance is enough, but guidance without trust is worthless. Don't worry about trying to do a perfect job. There is no perfect job. There is no one way of raising your children.
Benjamin Spock
Never play the princess when you can be the queen: rule the kingdom, swing a scepter, wear a crown of gold. Don’t dance in glass slippers, crystal carving up your toes -- be a barefoot Amazon instead, for those shoes will surely shatter on your feet. Never wear only pink when you can strut in crimson red, sweat in heather grey, and shimmer in sky blue, claim the golden sun upon your hair. Colors are for everyone, boys and girls, men and women -- be a verdant garden, the landscape of Versailles, not a pale primrose blindly pushed aside. Chase green dragons and one-eyed zombies, fierce and fiery toothy monsters, not merely lazy butterflies, sweet and slow on summer days. For you can tame the most brutish beasts with your wily wits and charm, and lizard scales feel just as smooth as gossamer insect wings. Tramp muddy through the house in a purple tutu and cowboy boots. Have a tea party in your overalls. Build a fort of birch branches, a zoo of Legos, a rocketship of Queen Anne chairs and coverlets, first stop on the moon. Dream of dinosaurs and baby dolls, bold brontosaurus and bookish Belle, not Barbie on the runway or Disney damsels in distress -- you are much too strong to play the simpering waif. Don a baseball cap, dance with Daddy, paint your toenails, climb a cottonwood. Learn to speak with both your mind and heart. For the ground beneath will hold you, dear -- know that you are free. And never grow a wishbone, daughter, where your backbone ought to be.
Clementine Paddleford
It should be illegal for a woman to look as good as you do.” “Really?” She peered down at herself again, but saw nothing all that spectacular. “I’m glad you like it.” “I love it. I love you.” He dug in his pocket. “When I left today, it was for this.” Speechless, Priss watched as he opened a now-wet jeweler’s box. Inside, securely nestled in velvet, was a beautiful diamond engagement ring. Her heart nearly stopped. “I wanted it to be a surprise.” There were no words. Her eyes suddenly burned and her throat went tight. Trace took her hand and slipped the ring on her finger. The fit was perfect, but then, anything Trace did, he did right. “Priss?” Using the edge of his fist, he lifted her chin. “We’ve been to movies and plays, to small diners and fancy restaurants. I’ve taken you dancing and hiking, to the amusement park and the zoo.” Sounding like a choked frog, Priss said, “All the things I never got to do growing up.” “But there’s so much more, honey.” He moved wet tendrils of hair away from her face and over her shoulder. “I was trying to give you time to enjoy it all.” “No!” Priss did not want him second-guessing his intent. “I don’t need any more time. Really I don’t.” Both still very attentive, Matt and Chris snickered. Trace just smiled at her. Closing her hand into a fist, she held the ring tight. “All I need, all I want, is you.” “Glad to hear it, because I’m not an overly patient guy. Hell, I think I knew you were the one the day you showed up in Murray’s office.” He kissed the tip of her nose, her lips, her chin. “You were so damned outrageous, and so pushy, that you scared me half to death.” “You felt me up,” Priss reminded him. “But that was a first for me, too.” “I remember it well.” He treated her to a deeper kiss, and ended it with a groan. “Every day since then, I’ve wanted you more. Even when you worried me, or lied to me, or made me insane, I admired you for it.
Lori Foster (Trace of Fever (Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor, #2))
Somewhere in the world, a lion wakes up every morning not knowing what it’s going to eat. Every day, it finds food. The lion isn’t worried—it just does what it needs to do. Somewhere else, in a zoo, a caged lion sits around every day and waits for a zookeeper. The lion is comfortable. It gets to relax. It’s not worried much, either. Both of these animals are lions. Only one is a king.
Julien Smith (The Flinch)
One can’t blame Marion for telling Eddie all the times of the day and the week she avoided. For instance, when children got out of school—not to mention all museums, all zoos. And parks in any decent weather, when the children would be sure to be there with their nannies or their parents; and every daytime baseball game—all Christmas shopping, too. What had she left out? All summer and winter resorts, the first warm days of the spring, the last warm days of the fall—and every Halloween, of course. And on her list of things never to do: she never went out for breakfast, she gave up ice cream . . . Marion was always the well-dressed woman alone in a restaurant—she would ask for a table at the latest time they served. She ordered her wine by the glass and ate her meals with a novel.
John Irving (A Widow for One Year)
A boy with a monkey on his shoulders was walking along the street as he passed a cop who just said, "Hey, small boy, I guess you had best bring that monkey to the zoo." The next day, the boy walked along the street with a monkey on his shoulders again as he approached the same cop. The cop said, "Hey, I assumed, I told you to take that monkey to the zoo!" The child replied, "I did! Today I am bringing him to the theatre.
Karen Clark (Try Not to Laugh Book: You Laugh, I Win Challenge Joke Book)
My family and my friends… they’re okay. They make all my moments special. We are not always up to something, but sometimes we don’t see that it might be the last day with one of them. So I try to find fun in every moment. It’s easy for small towns. Our happiness is a new mall opening and a new museum. The train in the zoo, the book fair, and Disneyland. Everything is simple here, love and life. Simple and beautiful. — Arya Kashyap
Snehil Niharika (That’ll Be Our Song)
What can I tell you that you do not know Of the life after death? Your son’s eyes, which had unsettled us With your Slavic Asiatic Epicanthic fold, but would become So perfectly your eyes, Became wet jewels, The hardest substance of the purest pain As I fed him in his high white chair. Great hands of grief were wringing and wringing His wet cloth of face. They wrung out his tears. But his mouth betrayed you — it accepted The spoon in my disembodied hand That reached through from the life that had survived you. Day by day his sister grew Paler with the wound She could not see or touch or feel, as I dressed it Each day with her blue Breton jacket. By night I lay awake in my body The Hanged Man My neck-nerve uprooted and the tendon Which fastened the base of my skull To my left shoulder Torn from its shoulder-root and cramped into knots — I fancied the pain could be explained If I were hanging in the spirit From a hook under my neck-muscle. Dropped from life We three made a deep silence In our separate cots. We were comforted by wolves. Under that February moon and the moon of March The Zoo had come close. And in spite of the city Wolves consoled us. Two or three times each night For minutes on end They sang. They had found where we lay. And the dingos, and the Brazilian-maned wolves — All lifted their voices together With the grey Northern pack. The wolves lifted us in their long voices. They wound us and enmeshed us In their wailing for you, their mourning for us, They wove us into their voices. We lay in your death, In the fallen snow, under falling snow, As my body sank into the folk-tale Where the wolves are singing in the forest For two babes, who have turned, in their sleep, Into orphans Beside the corpse of their mother.
Ted Hughes (Birthday Letters)
You're trying to be charming again," Shelby muttered. "Am I succeeding?" Some questions were best ignored. "I really don't know how to be more succinct, Alan." Was that part of the appeal? he wondered. The fact that the free-spirited Gypsy could turn into the regal duchess in the blink of an eye. He doubted she had any notion she was as much one as the other. "You have a wonderful speaking voice.What time will you be ready?" Shelby huffed and frowned and considered. "If I agree to spend some time with you today, will you stop sending me things?" Alan was silent for a long moment. "Are you going to take a politician's word?" Now she had to laugh. "All right, you've boxed me in on that one." "It's a beautiful day, Shelby.I haven't had a free Saturday in over a month. Come out with me." She twined the phone cord around her finger. A refusal seemed so petty, so bad-natured.He was really asking her for very little, and-dammit-she wanted to see him. "All right, Alan, every rule needs to be bent a bit now and again to prove it's really a rule after all." "If you say so.Where would you like to go? There's an exhibition of Flemish art at the National Gallery." Shelby's lips curved. "The zoo," she said and waited for his reaction. "Fine," Alan agreed without missing a beat. "I'll be there in ten minutes." With a sigh,Shelby decided he just wasn't an easy man to shake. "Alan, I'm not dressed." "I'll be there in five." On a burst of laughter, she slammed down the phone.
Nora Roberts (The MacGregors: Alan & Grant (The MacGregors, #3-4))
Where does our laughter travel to? Does it search out monkeys in the zoo? Or settle on the heart like dew? Or cling to lip-glossed smiles on me and you? Does it hang around throughout the day? Or spread its wings and fly away? Or gather-in like puffy clouds of gray? Perhaps it hooks a rainbow’s end And melts to make the colors blend. Or paints a happy face upon a friend. Does it turn to stardust when it’s late? Or in a windstorm, circulate? Or does it simply fade and dissipate? What is our laughter’s merrymaking fate?
Richelle E. Goodrich (A Heart Made of Tissue Paper)
are they given in exchange for the glory of an African sunrise, for the twilight breeze whispering through the palms, for the green shade of the matted, tangled vines, for the cool, big-starred nights of the desert, for the patter of the waterfall after a hard day's hunt? What, I ask you, are they given in exchange for THESE? Why, a bare cage with iron bars; an ugly piece of dead meat thrust in to them once a day; and a crowd of fools to come and stare at them with open mouths!—No, Stubbins. Lions and tigers, the Big Hunters, should never, never be seen in zoos.
Hugh Lofting (The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle (Doctor Dolittle, #2))
After school, Peter and I are lying on the couch; his feet are hanging off the end. He’s still in his costume, but I’ve changed into my regular clothes. “You always have the cutest socks,” he says, lifting up my right foot. These ones are gray with white polka dots and yellow bear faces. Proudly I say, “My great-aunt sends them from Korea. Korea has the cutest stuff, you know.” “Can you ask her to send me some too? Not bears, but maybe, like, tigers. Tigers are cool.” “Your feet are too big for socks as cute as these. Your toes would pop right out. You know what, I bet I could find you some socks that fit at…um, the zoo.” Peter sits up and starts tickling me. I gasp out, “I bet the--pandas or gorillas have to--keep their feet warm somehow…in the winter. Maybe they have some kind of deodorized sock technology as well.” I burst into giggles. “Stop…stop tickling me!” “Then stop being mean about my feet!” I’ve got my hand burrowed under his arm, and I am tickling him ferociously. But by doing so, I have opened myself up to more attacks. I yell, “Okay, okay, truce!” He stops, and I pretend to stop, but sneak a tickle under his arm, and he lets out a high-pitched un-Peter-like shriek. “You said truce!” he accuses. We both nod and lie back down, out of breath. “Do you really think my feet smell?” I don’t. I love the way he smells after a lacrosse game--like sweat and grass and him. But I love to tease, to see that unsure look cross his face for just half a beat. “Well, I mean, on game days…” I say. Then Peter attacks me again, and we’re wrestling around, laughing, when Kitty walks in, balancing a tray with a cheese sandwich and a glass of orange juice. “Take it upstairs,” she says, sitting down on the floor. “This is a public area.
Jenny Han (Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #3))
It would be overdramatic to say that modern humans are zoo animals. But our stress response to red lights, office cubicles, screeching subway cars and social isolation is similar to that of a captive animal. There is such a massive mismatch between our natural environment and the modern world that our bodies have been put in a state of perpetual stress. We don’t recognize this as abnormal since everyone we know suffers from it. A monkey raised in captivity has no idea that life need not be limited to tossing turds at well-dressed primates on the other side of the thick glass. Imagine its surprise when one day it is released into the wild and discovers that his new wild troupe has miles upon miles of tree branches to swing and eat figs from. Modern humans who have gone to live with hunter-gatherer societies have noticed a similar freedom. After spending time living with the Hadza tribe in Tanzania, Michael Finkel wrote: There are things I envy about the Hadza -- mostly, how free they appear to be. Free from possessions. Free of most social duties. Free from religious strictures. Free of many family responsibilities. Free from schedules, jobs, bosses, bills, traffic, taxes, laws, news, and money. Free from worry.
Jevan Pradas (The Awakened Ape: A Biohacker's Guide to Evolutionary Fitness, Natural Ecstasy, and Stress-Free Living)
Read. You should read Bukowski and Ferlinghetti, read Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton, and listen to Coltrane, Nina Simone, Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn, Son House, Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Miles Davis, Lou Reed, Nick Drake, Bobbie Gentry, George Jones, Jimmy Reed, Odetta, Funkadelic, and Woody Guthrie. Drive across America. Ride trains. Fly to countries beyond your comfort zone. Try different things. Join hands across the water. Different foods. New tasks. Different menus and tastes. Talk with the guy who’s working in construction on your block, who’s working on the highway you’re traveling on. Speak with your neighbors. Get to know them. Practice civil disobedience. Try new resistance. Be part of the solution, not the problem. Don’t litter the earth, it’s the only one you have, learn to love her. Care for her. Learn another language. Trust your friends with kindness. You will need them one day. You will need earth one day. Do not fear death. There are worse things than death. Do not fear the reaper. Lie in the sunshine but from time to time let the neon light your way. ZZ Top, Jefferson Airplane, Spirit. Get a haircut. Dye your hair pink or blue. Do it for you. Wear eyeliner. Your eyes are the windows to your soul. Show them off. Wear a feather in your cap. Run around like the Mad Hatter. Perhaps he had the answer. Visit the desert. Go to the zoo. Go to a county fair. Ride the Ferris wheel. Ride a horse. Pet a pig. Ride a donkey. Protest against war. Put a peace symbol on your automobile. Drive a Volkswagen. Slow down for skateboarders. They might have the answers. Eat gingerbread men. Pray to the moon and the stars. God is out there somewhere. Don’t worry. You’ll find out where soon enough. Dance. Even if you don’t know how to dance. Read The Four Agreements. Read the Bible. Read the Bhagavad Gita. Join nothing. It won’t help. No games, no church, no religion, no yellow-brick road, no way to Oz. Wear beads. Watch a caterpillar in the sun.
Lucinda Williams (Don't Tell Anybody the Secrets I Told You: A Memoir)
Mohini was a regal white tiger who lived for many years at the Washington, D.C. National Zoo. For most of those years her home was in the old lion house—a typical twelve-by-twelve-foot cage with iron bars and a cement floor. Mohini spent her days pacing restlessly back and forth in her cramped quarters. Eventually, biologists and staff worked together to create a natural habitat for her. Covering several acres, it had hills, trees, a pond and a variety of vegetation. With excitement and anticipation they released Mohini into her new and expansive environment. But it was too late. The tiger immediately sought refuge in a corner of the compound, where she lived for the remainder of her life. Mohini paced and paced in that corner until an area twelve by twelve feet was worn bare of grass.
Tara Brach (Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha)
At the time that he had seriously begun to consolidate his organization, Parker was working in a custom photo lab. The reader who is not much taken by audiovisual pastimes may have a deficient picture of that place where Parker was employed; or perhaps not so much a deficient picture--the dyes faded, shoddily spotted, brutishly burned in and doltishly dodged by subhuman technicians under the glare of the enlargers--as an image which had been misfiled in the archives of the memory, representing instead one of those bleak Photo Drive-Ups and Presto Printses located nowadays on the corner of almost every large parking lot, in which the clerks wait sadly behind their glass counters, but no one comes in, and the air becomes darker and darker over the course of the morning as a result of exhaust fumes (there goes another brain cell; ping! - THAT thought will never be completed now); and the pink chubby tots smiling at your from the walls in sample enlargements become steadily more grimy, and by the lunch break they are brown; and the day ticks off on the loud digital clock; and then finally a car creeps into the lot, and a popeyed couple locks that vehicle doors listlessly; they request a reprint of a washed-out snapshot of their son who was killed in the Indian Wars, and they go away; and after a long time here comes a slick-haired teenager who once took a few pix of his girlfriend holding a balloon at the zoo in front of the monkey cage on a dirty overcast day, and the clerk can tell just by looking at this customer that they won’t come out, because the guy’s a loser if the clerk knows anything at all about losers and in fact he knows a hell of a lot about losers because why else would he be stuck with this job?
William T. Vollmann (You Bright and Risen Angels (Contemporary American Fiction))
Over the course of two years, from June 2004 to June 2006, two separate deaths did nothing to ease my overall anxiety. Steve’s beloved Staffordshire bull terrier Sui died of cancer in June 2004. He had set up his swag and slept beside her all night, talking to her, recalling old times in the bush catching crocodiles, and comforting her. Losing Sui brought up memories of losing Chilli a decade and a half earlier. “I am not getting another dog,” Steve said. “It is just too painful.” Wes, the most loyal friend anyone could have, was there for Steve while Sui passed from this life to the next. Wes shared in Steve’s grief. They had known Sui longer than Steve and I had been together. Two years after Sui’s death, in June 2006, we lost Harriet. At 175, Harriet was the oldest living creature on earth. She had met Charles Darwin and sailed on the Beagle. She was our link to the past at the zoo, and beyond that, our link to the great scientist himself. She was a living museum and an icon of our zoo. The kids and I were headed to Fraser Island, along the southern coast of Queensland, with Joy, Steve’s sister, and her husband, Frank, our zoo manager, when I heard the news. An ultrasound had confirmed that Harriet had suffered a massive heart attack. Steve called me. “I think you’d better come home.” “I should talk to the kids about this,” I said. Bindi was horrified. “How long is Harriet going to live?” she asked. “Maybe hours, maybe days, but not long.” “I don’t want to see Harriet die,” she said resolutely. She wanted to remember her as the healthy, happy tortoise with whom she’d grown up. From the time Bindi was a tiny baby, she would enter Harriet’s enclosure, put her arms around the tortoise’s massive shell, and rest her face against her carapace, which was always warm from the sun. Harriet’s favorite food was hibiscus flowers, and Bindi would collect them by the dozen to feed her dear friend. I was worried about Steve but told him that Bindi couldn’t bear to see Harriet dying. “It’s okay,” he said. “Wes is here with me.” Once again, it fell to Wes to share his best mate’s grief.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)
The beauty of life is its sudden changes. No one knows what is going to happen next, and so we are constantly being surprised and entertained. The many ups and downs should not discourage us, for if we are down, we know that a change is coming and we will go up again; while those who are up are almost certain to go down. My grandfather had a song which well expresses this and if you will listen I will sing it." "Of course I will listen to your song," returned Kitticut, "for it would be impolite not to." So Rinkitink sang his grandfather's song: "A mighty King once ruled the land—      But now he's baking pies. A pauper, on the other hand,      Is ruling, strong and wise. A tiger once in jungles raged—      But now he's in a zoo; A lion, captive-born and caged,      Now roams the forest through. A man once slapped a poor boy's pate      And made him weep and wail. The boy became a magistrate      And put the man in jail. A sunny day succeeds the night;      It's summer—then it snows! Right oft goes wrong and wrong comes right,      As ev'ry wise man knows.
L. Frank Baum (Oz: The Complete Collection (Oz, #1-14))
Ok, this farmer is driving down the road in his truck and he comes to a state cop in the middle of the road with the blue flashing and everything, and the farmer asks, What's the problem, Officer? The cop looks worried and nods on ahead where this pig is sitting right in the middle of the road-big damn pig- and the cop says, Got a problem with this pig in the road. So the farmer says, Hmmm. And the cop says, Hey I got an idea, Why don't we load this pig into your truck and then you take him to the zoo? And the farmer says, Well, I reckon we could do that. So they load they pig into the farmer's truck and off the farmer drives and that's that. So the next day the cop is out there on the road again because that is his usual speed trap, and who do you think drives by? The farmer--and sitting right next to him in the cab is the pig. And the pig's wearing a baseball hat! The farmer and the pig just go cruising by. So the cop shakes off the unreality of the whole situation, fires up the blue flashing light and sirens and gets scratch in 3 gears tearing out after the farmer, and caught up pretty soon and pulls the farmer over and walks up to the truck. The farmer looks real casual and says, Yessir. The cop says, Hey, I thought I told you to take that pig to the zoo! And the farmer says, I did! We had a good time, too, so today I thought we'd go to the ball game. HA! HA! HA!
Robert Wintner (Snorkel Bob's Reality (& Get Down) Guide to Hawaii, 3rd Edition)
With the news that he would soon be a daddy again, Steve seemed inspired to work even harder. Our zoo continued to get busier, and we had trouble coping with the large numbers. The biggest draw was the crocodiles. Crowds poured in for the croc shows, filling up all the grandstands. The place was packed. Steve came up with a monumental plan. He was a big fan of the Colosseum-type arenas of the Roman gladiator days. He sketched out his idea for me on a piece of paper. “Have a go at this, it’s a coliseum,” he declared, his eyes wide with excitement. He drew an oval, then a series of smaller ovals in back of it. “Then we have crocodile ponds where the crocs could live. Every day a different croc could come out for the show and swim through a canal system”--he sketched rapidly--“then come out in the main area.” “Canals,” I said. “Could you get them to come in on cue?” “Piece of cake!” he said. “And get this! We call it…the Crocoseum!” His enthusiasm was contagious. Never mind that nothing like this had ever been done before. Steve was determined to take the excitement and hype of the ancient Roman gladiators and combine it with the need to show people just how awesome crocs really were. But it was a huge project. There was nothing to compare it to, because nothing even remotely similar had ever been attempted anywhere in the world. I priced it out: The budget to build the arena would have to be somewhere north of eight million dollars, a huge expense. Wes, John, Frank, and I all knew we’d have to rely on Steve’s knowledge of crocodiles to make this work. Steve’s enthusiasm never waned. He was determined. This would become the biggest structure at the zoo. The arena would seat five thousand and have space beneath it for museums, shops, and a food court. The center of the arena would have land areas large enough for people to work around crocodiles safely and water areas large enough for crocs to be able to access them easily. “How is this going to work, Steve?” I asked, after soberly assessing the cost. What if we laid out more than eight million dollars and the crocodiles decided not to cooperate? “How are you going to convince a crocodile to come out exactly at showtime, try to kill and eat the keeper, and then go back home again?” I bit my tongue when I realized what was coming out of my mouth: advice on crocodiles directed at the world’s expert on croc behavior. Steve was right with his philosophy: Build it, and they will come. These were heady times. As the Crocoseum rose into the sky, my tummy got bigger and bigger with our new baby. It felt like I was expanding as rapidly as the new project. The Crocoseum debuted during an Animal Planet live feed, its premiere beamed all over the world. The design was a smashing success. Once again, Steve had confounded the doubters.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)
We ended the day and hobbled back inside, greeted by the scent of the stew Laadan had cooked up. I went upstairs to wash the day’s worth of grime off, and Aiden followed. Once inside the room, I tossed him a coy look over my shoulder. At least, I thought it was coy, but I probably looked like I had something in my eye. Aiden grinned nonetheless. “Are you following me?” I asked, kicking off my boots. He prowled forward, moving like one of those caged panthers we’d seen at the zoo. “I’m just being here for you, and I think you really need me right now.” “Ha. Ha.” Out of my shoes, Aiden towered over me, I felt like a hobbit standing in front of him. Aiden’s grin spread and a dimple in his left cheek appeared. He tucked a strand of my hair back, then his hands dropped and he tugged the shirt out of my cargos. “I think you called it ‘manning up’.” This wasn’t the kind of manning up I’d been talking about the night before, because even with my limited knowledge of such things, he excelled in that department. But I said nothing as I stared up at him. Lowering his head, his lips brushed over mine. I was sure I tasted of dirt and sour apple, courtesy of the Blow Pop I’d been nursing earlier, but he made this sound against my mouth, part growl and part something deeper. As the kiss deepened, like he could just devour the taste and feel, I melted against him. “I really like your idea of manning up,
Jennifer L. Armentrout (Apollyon (Covenant, #4))
It is announced that the United States of Africa have built a reservation for ethnologists in the heart of Africa, where they are protected and maintained in ideal ecological survival conditions and fed at set times of day as is the custom in their countries of origin. The reservation is off-limits to Africans, whether their intentions be philanthropic, scientific or cannibalistic, for fear of damaging the natural equilibrium of the tribe or endangering its chances of breeding, though matters in this regard are already very precarious. The African states assure us that all possible measures will be taken to save this disappearing race: the crucial thing is that it should be completely isolated from the outside world. The first experiment along these lines had already been attempted years ago by the people of Chad, whom the French government had paid a great deal to carry on holding a certain Mme Claustre, an anthropologist, and whom they had thereby saved from the clutches of the Whites who wished to turn her over to scientific prostitution. This almost accidental event soon resulted in all the West’s anthropologists rushing off to African reservations, where they could at last devote themselves to the observation of the only ethnic group worthy of the name—their own. By contrast, upon their approach, all the beasts of the savannahs ran off to take refuge in urban zoos, and the Africans themselves withdrew into their missions, for fear of being devoured by ethnologists who had very rapidly reverted to cannibalism.
Jean Baudrillard (Cool Memories)
As the pumping engines for the circulatory system, ventricles must have a particular ovoid, lemonlike shape for strong, swift ejection of blood. If the end of the left ventricle balloons out, as it does in takotsubo hearts, the firm, healthy contractions are reduced to inefficient spasms—floppy and unpredictable. But what’s remarkable about takotsubo is what causes the bulge. Seeing a loved one die. Being left at the altar or losing your life savings with a bad roll of the dice. Intense, painful emotions in the brain can set off alarming, life-threatening physical changes in the heart. This new diagnosis was proof of the powerful connection between heart and mind. Takotsubo cardiomyopathy confirmed a relationship many doctors had considered more metaphoric than diagnostic. As a clinical cardiologist, I needed to know how to recognize and treat takotsubo cardiomyopathy. But years before pursuing cardiology, I had completed a residency in psychiatry at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute. Having also trained as a psychiatrist, I was captivated by this syndrome, which lay at the intersection of my two professional passions. That background put me in a unique position that day at the zoo. I reflexively placed the human phenomenon side by side with the animal one. Emotional trigger … surge of stress hormones … failing heart muscle … possible death. An unexpected “aha!” suddenly hit me. Takotsubo in humans and the heart effects of capture myopathy in animals were almost certainly related—perhaps even the same syndrome with different names.
Barbara Natterson-Horowitz (Zoobiquity: What Animals Can Teach Us About Health and the Science of Healing)
One can take the ape out of the jungle, but not the jungle out of the ape. This also applies to us, bipedal apes. Ever since our ancestors swung from tree to tree, life in small groups has been an obsession of ours. We can’t get enough of politicians thumping their chests on television, soap opera stars who swing from tryst to tryst, and reality shows about who’s in and who’s out. It would be easy to make fun of all this primate behavior if not for the fact that our fellow simians take the pursuit of power and sex just as seriously as we do. We share more with them than power and sex, though. Fellow-feeling and empathy are equally important, but they’re rarely mentioned as part of our biological heritage. We would much rather blame nature for what we don’t like in ourselves than credit it for what we do like. As Katharine Hepburn famously put it in The African Queen, ”Nature, Mr. Allnut, is what we are put in this world to rise above.” This opinion is still very much with us. Of the millions of pages written over the centuries about human nature, none are as bleak as those of the last three decades, and none as wrong. We hear that we have selfish genes, that human goodness is a sham, and that we act morally only to impress others. But if all that people care about is their own good, why does a day-old baby cry when it hears another baby cry? This is how empathy starts. Not very sophisticated perhaps, but we can be sure that a newborn doesn’t try to impress. We are born with impulses that draw us to others and that later in life make us care about them. The possibility that empathy is part of our primate heritage ought to make us happy, but we’re not in the habit of embracing our nature. When people commit genocide, we call them ”animals”. But when they give to the poor, we praise them for being ”humane”. We like to claim the latter behavior for ourselves. It wasn’t until an ape saved a member of our own species that there was a public awakening to the possibility of nonhuman humaneness. This happened on August 16, 1996, when an eight-year-old female gorilla named Binti Jua helped a three-year-old boy who had fallen eighteen feet into the primate exhibit at Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo. Reacting immediately, Binti scooped up the boy and carried him to safety. She sat down on a log in a stream, cradling the boy in her lap, giving him a few gentle back pats before taking him to the waiting zoo staff. This simple act of sympathy, captured on video and shown around the world, touched many hearts, and Binti was hailed as a heroine. It was the first time in U.S. history that an ape figured in the speeches of leading politicians, who held her up as a model of compassion. That Binti’s behavior caused such surprise among humans says a lot about the way animals are depicted in the media. She really did nothing unusual, or at least nothing an ape wouldn’t do for any juvenile of her own species. While recent nature documentaries focus on ferocious beasts (or the macho men who wrestle them to the ground), I think it’s vital to convey the true breadth and depth of our connection with nature. This book explores the fascinating and frightening parallels between primate behavior and our own, with equal regard for the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Frans de Waal (Our Inner Ape: A Leading Primatologist Explains Why We Are Who We Are)
What’ll it be?” Steve asked me, just days after our wedding. “Do we go on the honeymoon we’ve got planned, or do you want to go catch crocs?” My head was still spinning from the ceremony, the celebration, and the fact that I could now use the two words “my husband” and have them mean something real. The four months between February 2, 1992--the day Steve asked me to marry him--and our wedding day on June 4 had been a blur. Steve’s mother threw us an engagement party for Queensland friends and family, and I encountered a very common theme: “We never thought Steve would get married.” Everyone said it--relatives, old friends, and schoolmates. I’d smile and nod, but my inner response was, Well, we’ve got that in common. And something else: Wait until I get home and tell everybody I am moving to Australia. I knew what I’d have to explain. Being with Steve, running the zoo, and helping the crocs was exactly the right thing to do. I knew with all my heart and soul that this was the path I was meant to travel. My American friends--the best, closest ones--understood this perfectly. I trusted Steve with my life and loved him desperately. One of the first challenges was how to bring as many Australian friends and family as possible over to the United States for the wedding. None of us had a lot of money. Eleven people wound up making the trip from Australia, and we held the ceremony in the big Methodist church my grandmother attended. It was more than a wedding, it was saying good-bye to everyone I’d ever known. I invited everybody, even people who may not have been intimate friends. I even invited my dentist. The whole network of wildlife rehabilitators came too--four hundred people in all. The ceremony began at eight p.m., with coffee and cake afterward. I wore the same dress that my older sister Bonnie had worn at her wedding twenty-seven years earlier, and my sister Tricia wore at her wedding six years after that. The wedding cake had white frosting, but it was decorated with real flowers instead of icing ones. Steve had picked out a simple ring for me, a quarter carat, exactly what I wanted. He didn’t have a wedding ring. We were just going to borrow one for the service, but we couldn’t find anybody with fingers that were big enough. It turned out that my dad’s wedding ring fitted him, and that’s the one we used. Steve’s mother, Lyn, gave me a silk horseshoe to put around my wrist, a symbol of good luck. On our wedding day, June 4, 1992, it had been eight months since Steve and I first met. As the minister started reading the vows, I could see that Steve was nervous. His tuxedo looked like it was strangling him. For a man who was used to working in the tropics, he sure looked hot. The church was air-conditioned, but sweat drops formed on the ends of his fingers. Poor Steve, I thought. He’d never been up in front of such a big crowd before. “The scariest situation I’ve ever been in,” Steve would say later of the ceremony. This from a man who wrangled crocodiles! When the minister invited the groom to kiss the bride, I could feel all Steve’s energy, passion, and love. I realized without a doubt we were doing the right thing.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)
So it was always at night, like a werewolf, that I would take the thing out for an honest run down the coast. I would start in Golden Gate Park, thinking only to run a few long curves to clear my head. . . but in a matter of minutes I'd be out at the beach with the sound of the engine in my ears, the surf booming up on the sea wall and a fine empty road stretching all the way down to Santa Cruz. . . not even a gas station in the whole seventy miles; the only public light along the way is an all-​night diner down around Rockaway Beach. There was no helmet on those nights, no speed limit, and no cooling it down on the curves. The momentary freedom of the park was like the one unlucky drink that shoves a wavering alcoholic off the wagon. I would come out of the park near the soccer field and pause for a moment at the stop sign, wondering if I knew anyone parked out there on the midnight humping strip. Then into first gear, forgetting the cars and letting the beast wind out. . . thirty-​five, forty-​five. . . then into second and wailing through the light at Lincoln Way, not worried about green or red signals, but only some other werewolf loony who might be pulling out, too slowly, to start his own run. Not many of these. . . and with three lanes on a wide curve, a bike coming hard has plenty of room to get around almost anything. . . then into third, the boomer gear, pushing seventy-​five and the beginning of a windscream in the ears, a pressure on the eyeballs like diving into water off a high board. Bent forward, far back on the seat, and a rigid grip on the handlebars as the bike starts jumping and wavering in the wind. Taillights far up ahead coming closer, faster, and suddenly -- zaaapppp -- going past and leaning down for a curve near the zoo, where the road swings out to sea. The dunes are flatter here, and on windy days sand blows across the highway, piling up in thick drifts as deadly as any oil-​slick. . . instant loss of control, a crashing, cartwheeling slide and maybe one of those two-​inch notices in the paper the next day: “An unidentified motorcyclist was killed last night when he failed to negotiate a turn on Highway I.” Indeed. . . but no sand this time, so the lever goes up into fourth, and now there's no sound except wind. Screw it all the way over, reach through the handlebars to raise the headlight beam, the needle leans down on a hundred, and wind-​burned eyeballs strain to see down the centerline, trying to provide a margin for the reflexes. But with the throttle screwed on there is only the barest margin, and no room at all for mistakes. It has to be done right. . . and that's when the strange music starts, when you stretch your luck so far that fear becomes exhilaration and vibrates along your arms. You can barely see at a hundred; the tears blow back so fast that they vaporize before they get to your ears. The only sounds are wind and a dull roar floating back from the mufflers. You watch the white line and try to lean with it. . . howling through a turn to the right, then to the left and down the long hill to Pacifica. . . letting off now, watching for cops, but only until the next dark stretch and another few seconds on the edge. . . The Edge. . . There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over. The others -- the living -- are those who pushed their control as far as they felt they could handle it, and then pulled back, or slowed down, or did whatever they had to when it came time to choose between Now and Later. But the edge is still Out there. Or maybe it's In. The association of motorcycles with LSD is no accident of publicity. They are both a means to an end, to the place of definitions.
Hunter S. Thompson (Hell's Angels)
dyslexic man walks into a bra... 2. “I went to the zoo the other day. There was only one dog in it. It was a shitzu.
Michael Hopkins (The Big Book of Interesting Stuff)
Now just a word about zoos. Many folks think that animals in a zoo know no comforts; nothing but constant fright from living in captivity. Such folks do not stop to think of a thing or two about an animal’s wild condition. Wild animals must not only constantly hunt for food, but invariably fight to kill it and to hold it, too; for, in such a fight, a big antagonist will naturally win from a small individual. Thus, what food is found, is also lost; and hunting must go on, day by day, or night by night until a tragic climax—by thirst or starvation. But in a zoo, food is brought daily, with facility for drinking, and laid right in front of hoofs, paws or bills. For small animals, roofs and thick walls ward off cold winds and rain; and so, days of calm inactivity, daily naps without worrying about attack; and a carting away of all rubbish and filth soon puts a zoo animal in bodily form which has no comparison with its wild condition. Lack of room in which to climb, roam or play, may bring a zoo animal to that condition known as “soft”; but, as it now has no call for vigor, and its fighting passions find no opportunity for display, such an animal is gradually approaching that condition which has brought Man, who is only an animal, anyway, to his lofty point in Natural History, today. Truly, with such tribulations, worry, and hard work as Man puts up with to obtain his food and lodging, a zoo animal, if it could only know of our daily grind, would comfortably yawn, thankful that Man is so kindly looking out for it. With similar animals all around it, and, day by day, just a happy growth from cub-hood to maturity, I almost wish that I was a zoo animal, with no boss to growl about my not showing up, mornings, at a customary hour!
Ernest Vincent Wright (Gadsby)
Instead of drugs, entire skeletons were being flushed down the john. A lion had escaped from the zoo and been eaten by a child. An old guy had blinded a traffic cop by spitting out a gallstone. A plane had crash-landed on a porn theatre, killing hundreds of lawyers. This very day Beerlight was host to a snipers' convention.
Steve Aylett
No Love Lost So long sitting here, Didn't hear the warning. Waiting for the tape to run. We've been moving around in different situations, Knowing that the time would come. Just to see you torn apart, Witness to your empty heart. I need it. I need it. I need it. Through the wire screen, the eyes of those standing outside looked in At her as into the cage of some rare creature in a zoo. In the hand of one of the assistants she saw the same instrument Which they had that morning inserted deep into her body. She shuddered Instinctively. No life at all in the house of dolls. No love lost. No love lost. You've been seeing things, In darkness, not in learning, Hoping that the truth will pass. No life underground, wasting never changing, Wishing that this day won't last. To never see you show your age, To watch until the beauty fades, I need it. I need it. I need it. Two-way mirror in the hall, They like to watch everything you do, Transmitters hidden in the walls, So they know everything you say is true, Turn it on, Don't turn it on, Turn it on.
Joy Division
Today we do. On other days we have wars as horrible as any you've ever seen or read about. There isn't anything we can do about them, so we simply don't look at them. We ignore them. We spend eternity looking at pleasant moments-like today at the zoo. Isn't this a nice moment?" "Yes." "That's one thing Earthlings might learn to do, if they tried hard enough: Ignore the awful times, and concentrate on the good ones." "Um," said Billy Pilgrim.
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I have mixed feelings about zoos. Some days, it makes me sad to see animals in confined habitats, under constant observation by an alien species. Other days, I see the amount of care and love provided by the zookeepers; I remember how dangerous the wild is, particularly for endangered animals. I tear up a little when I see a kid staring at some weird creature from another continent – I know that kid is going to learn everything about that animal, and love it, and fight for its survival.
China Miéville (Arc, Vol. 1)
Steve didn’t fear death. Maybe that was part of his secret for being so gifted with wildlife. He had such perfect love for every animal, and especially crocodiles, that there didn’t seem to be any room left over for fear. But this didn’t mean that Steve didn’t have his share of close calls. One day I was feeding Cookie, Wes was feeding Mary, and our crew member Jan was backing up Wes. Steve talked to the zoo visitors about our big male, Agro, partially submerged in the water near Steve. Steve was so intent on getting his message across about crocodiles that he might have been a bit distracted. It had poured rain that day, leaving the grass wet and slippery. Agro took full advantage when Steve’s back was to the water. He powered forward like a missile, out of the water and halfway up the bank. As he came out, Wes yelled. Agro had Steve backed against the fence. Steve couldn’t move. I looked across the enclosure and saw the look on Steve’s face--it wasn’t fear, it was resolve. A big male saltwater croc was about to grab him. But for some unknown reason, Agro hesitated for a split second. Maybe he just couldn’t believe his luck. Or he was distracted by Wes, running over to save his best friend. Steve darted sideways and ran down the fence line. He was safe. The audience erupted in excited chatter. “Nothing short of a miracle,” a crowd member said about Steve’s escape. Was it? Was it his sixth sense? Was it his mate, Wes? That night we lay in bed and I stroked his face, tracing the lines that were starting to form around the corners of his eyes, waiting for his breathing to become more regular as he fell asleep. “I thought for a minute there he had me,” Steve said softly in the dark. Steve was never one to panic, and that kind of levelheaded thinking allowed him to return the favor to Wes in a much closer call during cyclone season in March 2001.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)
Fighters from various factions, hungry for meat, soon realized the zoo had a ready supply. They kebabed the crane and the flamingo, roasting them over an open flame as zoo workers watched. They killed the two tigers for their pelts. One day a few fighters wanted to see how many bullets it took to kill an elephant. The answer: forty. Others stole the wooden fences from the zebra enclosure to feed fires. Animals died of starvation, of disease. The
Kim Barker (The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan)
He’d stopped talking about bonding her to him forever and had apparently decided to concentrate on being charming instead. Liv never would have believed that such an intensely alpha male could be light and playful but she had been seeing an entirely different side of Baird lately. Aside from the sushi class, he’d also taken her to an alien petting zoo where she was able to see and touch animals that were native to the three home worlds of the Kindred and they’d been twice to the Kindred version of a movie theater where the seats were wired to make the viewer feel whatever was happening on the screen. He’d also taken her to a musical performance where the musicians played giant drums bigger than themselves and tiny flutes smaller than her pinky finger. The music had been surprisingly beautiful—the melodies sweet and haunting and Liv had been moved. But it was the evenings they spent alone together in the suite that made Liv really believe she was in danger of feeling too much. Baird cooked for her—sometimes strange but delicious alien dishes and once Earth food, when she’d taught him how to make cheeseburgers. They ate in the dim, romantic light of some candle-like glow sticks he’d placed on the table and there was always very good wine or the potent fireflower juice to go with the meal. Liv was very careful not to over-imbibe because she needed every ounce of willpower she had to remember why she was holding out. For dessert Baird always made sure there was some kind of chocolate because he’d learned from his dreams how much she loved it. Liv had been thinking lately that she might really be in trouble if she didn’t get away from him soon. If all he’d had going for him was his muscular good looks she could have resisted easily enough. But he was thoughtful too and endlessly interested in her—asking her all kinds of questions about her past and friends and family as well as people he’d seen while they were “dream-sharing” as he called it. Liv found herself talking to him like an old friend, actually feeling comfortable with him instead of being constantly on her guard. She knew that Baird was actively wooing her, doing everything he could to earn her affection, but even knowing that couldn’t stop her from liking him. She had never been so ardently pursued in her life and she was finding that she actually liked it. Baird had taken her more places and paid her more attention in the past week than Mitch had for their entire relationship. It was intoxicating to always be the center of the big warrior’s attention, to know that he was focused exclusively on her needs and wants. But attention and attraction aside, there was another factor that was making Liv desperate to get away. Just as he had predicted, the physical attraction she felt for Baird seemed to be growing exponentially. She only had to be in the same room with him for a minute or two, breathing in his warm, spicy scent, and she was instantly ready to jump his bones. The need was growing every day and Liv didn’t know how much longer she could fight it.
Evangeline Anderson (Claimed (Brides of the Kindred, #1))
Bindi, meanwhile, was blossoming. At just six weeks old, she held her head up and reached for objects. She even tried to scoot around a bit. She pushed with her little legs and worked her way across the bed. When Steve came home from Sumatra, it was obvious how much he had missed his little girl. I had to smile when Steve sat down on the couch with Bindi, telling her of his adventures moment by moment, while she stared intently at him, trying desperately to puzzle out his words. “She really did miss you,” I said. “No, she didn’t,” Steve scoffed. Then he added, his face brightening hopefully, “How could you tell?” I knew the truth. Even as a newborn, Bindi behaved differently when Steve was around. When she saw Steve come home after one of his trips, she got excited and happy and would literally quiver with joy. Steve shared everything with her. He took her around the zoo and introduced her to the wildlife. One day he took her into the enclosure with Agro, one of our biggest crocodiles. A school group had come to the zoo, and they assembled in their neatly pressed uniforms around the enclosure. Bindi squealed with delight and looked intently at Agro. That afternoon Steve did the crocodile demonstration with his daughter cradled in his arms. The school-group visitors looked impressed and perhaps a bit jealous. After the croc show, I noticed Bindi was as alert as I had ever seen her. She was so thrilled. Joining her daddy for the croc demo became something she looked forward to. Sometimes Bindi and I would sit in the enclosure to watch Steve with the crocodiles, and she would cry until he picked her up so she could be part of the action. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, I thought.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)
On Bindi’s first birthday in July 1999, we began a tradition of our own. We threw open the doors of the zoo with free admission to all children. We offered free birthday cake and invited cockatoos, camels, snakes, and lizards to party with us. It poured rain all day, but it didn’t matter. Steve placed a giant birthday cake in front of his daughter. It could have served one hundred people, and we’d ordered up several of them for the celebration. Bindi had never had sugar before, or any kind of dessert or lolly. She carefully took a frosting flower off the top and tasted it. Puzzlement and then joy transformed her face. She dove in headfirst. Cheers and laughter erupted from the crowd of three hundred, all of whom had shown up to celebrate. Steve’s mother, Lyn, looked on that day with a proud smile. I thought back to what it must have been like when Lyn first started the zoo. It was just a small wildlife park, with admission only forty cents for adults and twenty cents for kids. Now it was an expanding enterprise, part of an ambitious conservation effort and a complement to our wildlife documentaries. But her son’s favorite job was still the humble one of being Dad. I could read on Lyn’s face how important it was to her that Steve had started a family. And Bindi had a great day wearing a small pink sweater that her gran had made for her.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)
As negotiations seemed to be grinding to a halt, we were all feeling frustrated. Steve looked around at John, Judi, and the others. He could see that everybody had gotten a bit stretched on all our various projects. He decided we needed a break. He didn’t lead us into the bush this time. Instead, Steve said a magic word. “Samoa.” “Sea snakes?” I asked. “Surfing,” he said. He planned a ten-day shoot for a surfing documentary. Steve loved surfing almost as much as he loved wildlife. The pounding his body had taken playing rugby, wrestling crocs, and doing heavy construction at the zoo had left him with problem knees and a bad shoulder. He felt his time tackling some of the biggest surf might be nearing an end. In Samoa, Steve didn’t spend just a few hours out in the waves. He would be out there twelve to fourteen hours a day. I didn’t surf, but I was awestruck at Steve’s ability to stare down the face of a wave that was as high as a building. He had endurance beyond any surfer I had ever seen. Steve had a support boat nearby, so he could swim over, get hydrated, or grab a protein bar. But that was it. He didn’t stop for lunch. He would eat breakfast, surf all day, and then eat a big dinner. I knew this was the best therapy for him. Surfing at Boulders was downright dangerous, but Steve reveled in the challenge. He surfed with Wes, his best mate in the world. I sat on a rocky point with my eye glued to the camera so I wouldn’t miss a single wave. While Bindi gathered shells and played on the beach under her nanny’s watchful eye, I admired Steve with his long arms and broad shoulders, powerfully paddling onto wave after wave. Not even the Pacific Ocean with its most powerful sets could slow him down. He caught the most amazing barrels I have ever seen, and carved up the waves with such ferocity that I didn’t want the camera to miss a single moment. On the beach in Samoa, while Bindi helped her dad wax his board, I caught a glimpse of joy in eyes that had been so sad.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)
The day before we headed out was an unusually warm day. Shasta had a hard time of it. Bindi wrapped her in wet towels to help her cool off. Every few minutes she would raise her head and bark a bit. The last couple of years, Shasta’s back had been out so bad that I would wheelbarrow her around. She always liked sleeping in the car. I think it made her excited to be going on a trip. That night she seemed so restless that I put her in the car and kissed her good night. I knew she’d be happiest there. In the morning, we were off to our first official day of filming the movie. Steve put the last few things together in the zoo. I went out to get Shasta organized for staying with a friend. She was still asleep. “Good morning, lazybones,” I said. I bent down to give her a kiss on the forehead. Then I realized she wasn’t there. Sometime during the night, Shasta had died. She was seventeen and a half years old, the only dog I ever had. She went through nine months of quarantine to join me in Australia. She had been a loyal friend and an excellent guard dog. Bindi and I said good-bye to Shasta together. We discussed the circle of life and collected a few of Shasta’s favorite things. She would be buried with her favorite blanket. I knew I’d never have another dog. Now Sui was the only dog in the family.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)
Steve knew the sharks intimately by now. “The big tiger sharks will show up at eleven o’clock,” he said. And sure enough, they did, right on the dot. We had the shark cage and the dinghy, with myself (and Igor), Steve, and Sui. I sat in the dingy and watched the enormous tigers as they circled around. They had to be more than fourteen feet long, and some of them were larger than the boat itself. I quickly figured out that because of my great belly I was very unbalanced. I had to be careful so as not to tip the boat. Sui was an old hand at all of this. She planted herself in the center of the boat and lay down, sticking to the safest spot possible. Steve enjoyed going into the cage. The sharks came up to him one by one, trying to open this strange container and get to the nice yummy food inside. “They have a childlike curiosity,” he told me, breaking to the surface before lowering himself down again. “They’re really trying to figure out how to get me!” I got to experience them on the surface, in the dinghy. Tiger sharks don’t just feed under the water. They readily take food off the surface, too, and even lift themselves partially out of the water. Huge tiger sharks, wider across than I was (which at that point was saying a lot) came up to taste the boat, taste the motor, and put their heads all the way over the back of the dinghy. I was fascinated and had to stop myself from reaching out and stroking them. Of course I didn’t dare move, because I needed to counterbalance the boat, so the sharks wouldn’t rock it over. After a day of filming, my opinion of sharks was even better. Steve was right. Bringing people into close proximity to wildlife was all you had to do. I fell in love with tiger sharks that day. As it turned out, that was the last documentary of my pregnancy. For the next few weeks I’d be restricted to working at the zoo.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)
Steve was right. Bringing people into close proximity to wildlife was all you had to do. I fell in love with tiger sharks that day. As it turned out, that was the last documentary of my pregnancy. For the next few weeks I’d be restricted to working at the zoo. Steve, on the other hand, had time to squeeze in one more doco. He and John headed to Indonesia to film Komodo dragons. Steve found one dragon with a fishhook in its mouth. The line was trailing alongside the eight-foot lizard, and Steve decided to help. He got in front of the huge predator and pulled until the hook popped free. It was at that moment that the dragon clicked. He homed in on Steve, raised his head, and gave chase. The Komodo was serious. Steve managed to scramble up a small tree, with the dragon at his feet. Luckily, it was just too big to climb well and only grabbed Steve on the boot. Steve turned to the camera. “Danger, danger, danger!” was all he could get out. The Komodo dragon carries about sixteen types of bacteria in the long strings of drool that hang from its mouth. All it needs to do is break the skin, and its prey will die of infection. Although the dragon’s tooth had sliced all the way through Steve’s boot, it didn’t penetrate his sock or his foot. “I’d rather take a hit from an eight-foot saltie than an eight-foot dragon,” Steve said later. When Steve made it home safe and sound, I encouraged my tummy, “Hurry up and be born, Igor, so we can hit the road again.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)
One evening Steve and I didn’t feel like cooking, and we had ordered a pizza. I noticed that I was a bit leaky, but when you are enormously pregnant, all kinds of weird things happen with your body. I didn’t pay any particular attention. The next day I called the hospital. “You should come right in,” the nurse told me over the phone. Steve was fairly nearby, on the Gold Coast south of Brisbane, filming bull sharks. I won’t bother him, I thought. I’ll just go in for a quick checkup. “If everything checks out okay,” I told them at the hospital, “I’ll just head back.” The nurse looked to see if I was serious. She laughed. “You’re not going anywhere,” she said. “You’re having a baby.” I called Steve. He came up from the Gold Coast as quickly as he could, after losing his car keys, not remembering where he parked, and forgetting which way home was in his excitement. When he arrived at the hospital, I saw that he had brought the whole camera crew with him. John was just as flustered as anyone but suggested we film the event. “It’s okay with me,” Steve said. I was in no mood to argue. I didn’t care if a spaceship landed on the hospital. Each contraction took every bit of my attention. When they finally wheeled me into the delivery room at about eight o’clock that night, I was so tired I didn’t know how I could go on. Steve proved to be a great coach. He encouraged me as though it were a footy game. “You can do it, babe,” he yelled. “Come on, push!” At 9:46 p.m., a little head appeared. Steve was beside himself with excitement. I was in a fog, but I clearly remember the joy on his face. He helped turn and lift the baby out. I heard both Steve and doctor announce simultaneously, “It’s a girl.” Six pounds and two ounces of little baby girl. She was early but she was fine. All pink and perfect. Steve cut the umbilical cord and cradled her, gazing down at his newborn daughter. “Look, she’s our little Bindi.” She was named after a crocodile at the zoo, and it also fit that the word “bindi” was Aboriginal for “young girl.” Here was our own young girl, our little Bindi. I smiled up at Steve. “Bindi Sue,” I said, after his beloved dog, Sui. Steve gently handed her to me. We both looked down at her in utter amazement. He suddenly scooped her up in the towels and blankets and bolted off. “I’ve got a baby girl!” he yelled, as he headed down the hall. The doctor and midwives were still attending to me. After a while, one of the midwives said nervously, “So, is he coming back?” I just laughed. I knew what Steve was doing. He was showing off his beautiful baby girl to the whole maternity ward, even though each and every new parent had their own bundle of joy. Steve was such a proud parent. He came back and laid Bindi beside me. I said, “I couldn’t have done it if you hadn’t been here.” “Yes, you could have.” “No, I really needed you here.” Once again, I had that overwhelming feeling that as long as we were together, everything would be safe and wonderful. I watched Bindi as she stared intently at her daddy with dark, piercing eyes. He gazed back at her and smiled, tears rolling down his cheeks, with such great love for his new daughter. The world had a brand-new wildlife warrior.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)
The legend of a giant black saltie in Cape York had been growing for years. It haunted a river system in north Queensland and eluded all attempts at capture or death. In 1988 the East Coast Crocodile Management Program enlisted Bob and Steve to remove this “problem” crocodile and relocate him back to their zoo. It was a difficult assignment. At first they could find no sign of the mythical black croc. Perhaps it was a figment of the public imagination, tying together several incidents and sightings to create a single animal out of many. For months, Bob and Steve surveyed the mangrove swamps and riverbanks, finally locating a telltale belly slide that betrayed the presence of a huge male. Then Bob gave his son the ultimate vote of confidence. He left him alone. Bob went back to Beerwah. It was just Steve and his dog, Chilli. The huge saltwater crocodile had repeatedly outwitted hunters with high-powered rifles and “professionals” from crocodile farms sent in to exterminate him. Steve took up a hunt that had already lasted for years. Only he planned to save this modern-day dinosaur rather than kill it.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)
After I paid my admission fee, I saw that the reptile enclosures were kept perfectly clean--the snakes glistened. I kept rescued animals myself at home. I knew zoos, and I knew the variety of nightmares they can fall into. But I saw not a sign of external parasites on these animals, no old food rotting in the cages, no feces or shed skin left unattended. So I enjoyed myself. I toured around, learned about the snakes, and fed the kangaroos. It was a brilliant, sunlit day. “There will be a show at the crocodile enclosures in five minutes,” a voice announced on the PA system. “Five minutes.” That sounded good to me. I noticed the crocodiles before I noticed the man. There was a whole line of crocodilians: alligators, freshwater crocodiles, and one big saltie. Amazing, modern-day dinosaurs. I didn’t know much about them, but I knew that they had existed unchanged for millions of years. They were a message from our past, from the dawn of time, among the most ancient creatures on the planet. Then I saw the man. A tall, solid twentysomething (he appeared younger than he was, and had actually turned twenty-nine that February), dressed in a khaki shirt and shorts, barefoot, with blond flyaway hair underneath a big Akubra hat and a black-banded wristwatch on his left wrist. Even though he was big and muscular, there was something kind and approachable about him too. I stood among the fifteen or twenty other park visitors and listened to him talk. “They can live as long as or even longer than us,” he said, walking casually past the big saltwater croc’s pond. “They can hold their breath underwater for hours.” He approached the water’s edge with a piece of meat. The crocodile lunged out of the water and snapped the meat from his hand. “This male croc is territorial,” he explained, “and females become really aggressive when they lay eggs in a nest.” He knelt beside the croc that had just tried to nail him. “Crocodiles are such good mothers.” Every inch of this man, every movement and word exuded his passion for the crocodilians he passed among. I couldn’t help but notice that he never tried to big-note himself. He was there to make sure his audience admired the crocs, not himself. I recognized his passion, because I felt some of it myself. I spoke the same way about cougars as this Australian zookeeper spoke about crocs. When I heard there would be a special guided tour of the Crocodile Environmental Park, I was first in line for a ticket. I had to hear more. This man was on fire with enthusiasm, and I felt I really connected with him, like I was meeting a kindred spirit. What was the young zookeeper’s name? Irwin. Steve Irwin.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)
When my visa finally came, it had been nearly two months, and it felt like Christmas morning. That night we had a good-bye party at the restaurant my sister owned, and my whole family came. Some brought homemade cookies, others brought presents, and we had a celebration. Although I knew I would miss everyone, I was ready to go home. Home didn’t mean Oregon to me anymore. It meant, simply, by Steve’s side. When I arrived back at the zoo, we fell in love all over again. Steve and I were inseparable. Our nights were filled with celebrating our reunion. The days were filled with running the zoo together, full speed ahead. Crowds were coming in bigger than ever before. We enjoyed yet another record-breaking day for attendance. Rehab animals poured in too: joey kangaroos, a lizard with two broken legs, an eagle knocked out by poison. My heart was full. It felt good to be back at work. I had missed my animal friends--the kangaroos, cassowaries, and crocodiles.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)
Around the time Steve finished the eagle enclosure, we got our first blast of bad press. An Australian program ran an “expose” on the zoo, on our documentaries, and on Steve. There it was, on national television for all of Australia to see. Steve’s wildlife work wasn’t real. He was a magician, and what people saw on screen was sleight of hand. The program cut deep for Steve, who had spent his whole life cultivating relationships with wild animals and wanted to share his passion with the world. It really hurt his feelings, and I suffered to see him suffer. The incident was a lesson in the way the world worked. The fact that people actually made up stuff for the show got to me. In the end, Steve handled it better than I did. I experienced bad dreams and felt a little sick. I never minded if people said bad things about me. I knew who I was and what I stood for. But to hear someone say something bad about Steve really cut me to the core. Luckily, better days were just around the corner.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)
I flew back to the States in December of 1992 with conflicting emotions. I was excited to see my family and friends. But I was sad to be away from Steve. Part of the problem was that the process didn’t seem to make any sense. First I had to show up in the States and prove I was actually present, or I would never be allowed to immigrate back to Australia. And, oh yeah, the person to whom I had to prove my presence was not, at the moment, present herself. Checks for processing fees went missing, as did passport photos, certain signed documents. I had to obtain another set of medical exams, blood work, tuberculosis tests, and police record checks--and in response, I got lots of “maybe’s” and “come back tomorrow’s.” It would have been funny, in a surreal sort of way, if I had not been missing Steve so much. This was when we should have still been in our honeymoon days, not torn apart. A month stretched into six weeks. Steve and I tried keeping our love alive through long-distance calls, but I realized that Steve informing me over the phone that “our largest reticulated python died” or “the lace monitors are laying eggs” was no substitute for being with him. It was frustrating. There was no point in sitting still and waiting, so I went back to work with the flagging business. When my visa finally came, it had been nearly two months, and it felt like Christmas morning. That night we had a good-bye party at the restaurant my sister owned, and my whole family came. Some brought homemade cookies, others brought presents, and we had a celebration. Although I knew I would miss everyone, I was ready to go home. Home didn’t mean Oregon to me anymore. It meant, simply, by Steve’s side. When I arrived back at the zoo, we fell in love all over again. Steve and I were inseparable. Our nights were filled with celebrating our reunion. The days were filled with running the zoo together, full speed ahead. Crowds were coming in bigger than ever before. We enjoyed yet another record-breaking day for attendance. Rehab animals poured in too: joey kangaroos, a lizard with two broken legs, an eagle knocked out by poison. My heart was full. It felt good to be back at work. I had missed my animal friends--the kangaroos, cassowaries, and crocodiles.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)
On our return from the bush, we went straight back to work at the zoo. A huge tree behind the Irwin family home had been hit by lightning some years previously, and a tangle of dead limbs was in danger of crashing down on the house. Steve thought it would be best to take the dead tree down. I tried to lend a hand. Steve’s mother could not watch as he scrambled up the tree. He had no harness, just his hat and a chainsaw. The tree was sixty feet tall. Steve looked like a little dot way up in the air, swinging through the tree limbs with an orangutan’s ease, working the chainsaw. Then it was my turn. After he pruned off all the limbs, the last task was to fell the massive trunk. Steve climbed down, secured a rope two-thirds of the way up the tree, and tied the other end to the bull bar of his Ute. My job was to drive the Ute. “You’re going to have to pull it down in just the right direction,” he said, chopping the air with his palm. He studied the angle of the tree and where it might fall. Steve cut the base of the tree. As the chainsaw snarled, Steve yelled, “Now!” I put the truck in reverse, slipped the clutch, and went backward at a forty-five-degree angle as hard as I could. With a groan and a tremendous crash, the tree hit the ground. We celebrated, whooping and hollering. Steve cut the downed timber into lengths and I stacked it. The whole project took us all day. By late in the afternoon, my back ached from stacking tree limbs and logs. As the long shadows crossed the yard, Steve said four words very uncharacteristic of him: “Let’s take a break.” I wondered what was up. We sat under a big fig tree in the yard with a cool drink. We were both covered in little flecks of wood, leaves, and bark. Steve’s hair was unkempt, a couple of his shirt buttons were missing, and his shorts were torn. I thought he was the best-looking man I had ever seen in my life. “I am not even going to walk for the next three days,” I said, laughing. Steve turned to me. He was quiet for a moment. “So, do you want to get married?” Casual, matter-of-fact. I nearly dropped the glass I was holding. I had twigs in my hair an dirt caked on the side of my face. I’d taken off my hat, and I could feel my hair sticking to the sides of my head. My first thought was what a mess I must look. My second, third, and fourth thoughts were lists of every excuse in the world why I couldn’t marry Steve Irwin. I could not possibly leave my job, my house, my wildlife work, my family, my friends, my pets--everything I had worked so hard for back in Oregon. He never looked concerned. He simply held my gaze. As all these things flashed through my mind, a little voice from somewhere above me spoke. “Yes, I’d love to.” With those four words my life changed forever.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)
In spite of the death of the big croc, I felt that our time at Cattle Creek had been superb. Even before we got back to the zoo and saw the footage, there was a hint in the air that something special had been accomplished. We were elated at saving one crocodile and bitterly disappointed at the one that had been shot. Perhaps Steve felt the failure to save the Cattle Creek croc from poachers more strongly than I did. He was normally an action man, focused on his next project. I wasn’t used to him being gloomy or fixated on mortality. But he kept asking me to promise him that I’d keep the zoo going if something happened to him. “Promise me,” he said, wanting me to say it out loud. I solemnly promised him that I would keep the zoo going. “But nothing’s going to happen,” I said lightly, “because the secret to being a great conservationist is living a long time.” On the drive back to the zoo, we had talked for a long time, a marathon conversation. We didn’t know whether our Cattle Creek documentary would make a huge difference or not. But we agreed that through our zoo and our shared life together, we would try to change the world. I told him about my days at the vet hospital in Oregon, and the times I’d sit on the floor and weep, I’d be so overwhelmed by the pain and suffering visited upon innocent animals. But that burden seemed much easier to bear now, because I had someone to share it with. Steve truly understood how I felt. And I was someone who could sympathize with the depth of his dedication to wildlife. There was a big wide world out there. We were just a small wildlife park in Australia. It was absurd to think the two of us could change the world. But our love seemed to make the impossible appear not only possible, but inevitable. I look back on the talk we had during the ride to the zoo from Cattle Creek as helping to create the basis of our marriage. No matter what problems came along, we were determined to stay together, because side by side we could face anything.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)
We drove into the Cradle Mountain resort still munching on raspberries. Emma and Kate waited with the kids in the car. “I’ll just be a minute,” I said. “I’ll check in and we’ll head to our rooms.” The currawongs were calling, and a padymelon, a small version of a roo, hopped off a wall just at the edge of the car park as I went in. “Where’s all the snow?” I asked the woman behind the desk. “It snowed this morning,” she said. “Well, good,” I said. “There’s hope.” Then she passed me a note. She said, “Frank called from the zoo.” “I’m not surprised,” I said. “I haven’t called the zoo all day, and Frank is always trying to track me down.” “Why don’t you come take the call in the office?” she said. I thought that was a little odd, since when I had been there before I’d always used the pay phone near the pub at the resort. But I entered the office and sat down in a big, comfortable chair. I could see the car park out the window. Emma and Kate were still out at the car. Robert had fallen asleep, and Kate sat inside with him. Bindi smiled and laughed with Emma. “How you going, Frank?” I said into the phone. He said, “Hi, Terri. I’ve been trying to get hold of you for a while.” His voice had a heavy, serious tone. “Well, I’ve just got here,” I said. “Sorry about that, but I’m here now. What’s up?” “I’m sorry to say that Steve had a bit of an accident while he was diving,” Frank said. “I’m afraid he got hit in the chest by a stingray’s barb.” I’m sure there wasn’t much of a pause, but I felt time stop. I knew what Frank was going to say next. I just kept repeating the same thing over and over in my head. Don’t say it, don’t say it, don’t say it. Then Frank said the three words I did not want him to say, “And he died.” I took a deep breath and looked out the window. There was Bindi, so happy to have finally arrived at one of her favorite places. We were going to have fun. She had brought her teacher and Kate. She was so excited. And the world stopped. I took another breath. “Thank you very much for calling, Frank,” I said. I didn’t know what I was saying. I was overwhelmed, already on autopilot. “You need to cancel the rest of our trip, you need to contact my family in Oregon, and you need to get us home.” So it began.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)
I knew the one thing I wanted to do more than anything was to get to Steve. I needed to bring my kids home as fast as possible. I didn’t understand what had been going on in the rest of the world. Steve’s accident had occurred at eleven o’clock in the morning. The official time of death was made at twelve noon, the exact time that Bindi had looked at her watch and said, for no apparent reason, “It’s twelve o’clock.” Now I had to go out to the car and tell Bindi and Robert what had happened to their daddy. How do you tell an eight-year-old child that her father has died? A two-year-old boy? The person they loved most in the world was gone, the person they looked up to, relied on, and emulated, who played with them in the bubble bath and told them stories about when he was a naughty little boy, who took them for motorbike rides and got them ice cream, went on croc-catching adventures and showed them the world’s wildlife. I had to tell them that they had lost this most important person, on this most beautiful day. Emma came in and I told her what had happened. Suddenly I felt very sick. I didn’t know if I could stand up, and I asked to use the restroom. Then I realized this was the exact time for me to be strong. For years I had counted on Steve’s strength. At six feet tall and two hundred pounds, he was a force to be reckoned with. But he always told me there were different kinds of strength. Steve said he could count on me to be strong when times were hard. I thought about that, and I suddenly understood there must be a reason that I was here and he was gone. I needed to help his kids, to be there for our children. All I wanted to do was run, and run, and run. But I had to stay. With Emma at my side, I went outside and climbed into the car. Bindi had opened up the raspberries again. I put them away and sat her down. She knew instantly by my face that something was wrong. “Did something happen to one of the animals at the zoo?” she asked. “Something happened to Daddy,” I said. “He was diving, and he had an accident.” I told her everything that I knew about what had happened. She cried. We all cried. Robert still slept.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)
In October of 1991, on the day I met Steve, it was only by chance that I stopped at his wildlife park at all. I had been sleeping in the backseat of a car on the way back from a barbecue at a friend of a friend’s house. Up front, Lori’s friend knew I was interested in zoos. When he saw a sign for this one, he debated with himself whether he should wake me. Even when he did, I wasn’t sure if this reptile park was going to be much more than a few snakes in little glass tanks. So it was only by chance that I was on that highway at all, and only chance that I stopped. And it was only by chance that Steve conducted the croc show that day. Some days, Wes did the show. Chance. Fate. Destiny.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)
In October of 1991, on the day I met Steve, it was only by chance that I stopped at his wildlife park at all. I had been sleeping in the backseat of a car on the way back from a barbecue at a friend of a friend’s house. Up front, Lori’s friend knew I was interested in zoos. When he saw a sign for this one, he debated with himself whether he should wake me. Even when he did, I wasn’t sure if this reptile park was going to be much more than a few snakes in little glass tanks. So it was only by chance that I was on that highway at all, and only chance that I stopped. And it was only by chance that Steve conducted the croc show that day. Some days, Wes did the show. Chance. Fate. Destiny. These were words I lived by. I believed my life had been shaped for a special purpose. But with Steve’s death my faith was tested. Was it pure chance that Steve, a man who cheated mortality almost every single day of his adult life, died in such a bizarre accident? During the decade and a half that I knew him, I don’t think a week went by when he didn’t get a bite, blow, or injury of some kind. His knee and shoulder plagued him from years of jumping crocs. As Steve erected a fence at our Brigalow Belt conservation property, a big fence-post driver he was using slipped and landed directly on his head, compressing the fifth disk in his neck. Even injured, he still managed to push on--at the zoo, filming, and doing heavy construction. He went at work like a bull at a gate. He climbed trees with orangutans. He traversed the most remote deserts and the most impossible mountains. He packed his life chock-a-block full with risks of all kinds. “I get called an adrenaline junkie every other minute,” Steve said. “I’m just fine with that.” One crowded hour of glorious life is worth more than an age without a name. I had no regrets for Steve’s glorious life, and I know he couldn’t have lived any other way.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)
The next day was Sunday. In Australia we celebrate Father’s Day in September, so it was natural for us to try and get in touch with Steve. I knew he was filming somewhere off the Queensland coast. On board Croc One, along with Steve and Philippe Cousteau, was a toxicologist named Jamie Seymour. They planned to study several species of dangerous sea creatures, with the double goal of understanding their place in the environment and teaching people how to frequent Australia’s waters more safely. We tried to get through to Steve on the phone, but of course he was out filming. I spoke via satellite phone to another Kate, Kate Coulter, a longtime zoo employee, with her husband, Brian. We all took turns talking to her. “Steve captured a huge sea snake,” Kate said. “He said it was the biggest he had ever seen. He said, ‘Thick as my arm, no, thick as my leg.’” Kate knew Steve well, and she conveyed his enthusiasm perfectly. She told us she would pass along our messages. “Tell Daddy how much I love him and miss him,” Bindi said, and Kate told her she would. Robert wanted immediately to go see the big sea snake his father had caught. He didn’t quite grasp that the Cape was thousands of miles away.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)
Idling the dinghy, bringing it quietly in closer and closer to the croc, Steve would finally make his move. He’d creep to the front of the boat and hold the spotlight until the last moment. Then he would leap into the water. Grabbing the crocodile around the scruff of the neck, he would secure its tail between his legs and wrap his body around the thrashing creature. Crocodiles are amazingly strong in the water. Even a six-foot-long subadult would easily take Steve to the bottom of the river, rolling and fighting, trying to dislodge him by scraping against the rocks and snags at the bottom of the river. But Steve would hang on. He knew he could push off the bottom, reach the surface for air, flip the crocodile into his dinghy, and pin the snapping animal down. “Piece of cake,” he said. That was the most incredible story I had ever heard. And Steve was the most incredible man I had ever seen--catching crocodiles by hand to save their lives? This was just unreal. I had an overwhelming sensation. I wanted to build a big campfire, sit down with Steve next to it, and hear his stories all night long. I didn’t want them to ever end. But eventually the tour was over, and I felt I just had to talk to this man. Steve had a broad, easy smile and the biggest hands I had ever seen. I could tell by his stature and stride that he was accustomed to hard work. I saw a series of small scars on the sides of his face and down his arms. He came up and, with a broad Australian accent, said, “G’day, mate.” Uh-oh, I thought. I’m in trouble. I’d never, ever believed in love at first sight. But I had the strangest, most overwhelming feeling that it was destiny that took me into that little wildlife park that day. Steve started talking to me as if we’d known each other all our lives. I interrupted only to have my friend Lori take a picture of us, and the moment I first met Steve was forever captured. I told him about my wildlife rescue work with cougars in Oregon. He told me about his work with crocodiles. The tour was long over, and the zoo was about to close, but we kept talking. Finally I could hear Lori honking her horn in the car park. “I have to go,” I said to Steve, managing a grim smile. I felt a connection as I never had before, and I was about to leave, never to see him again. “Why do you love cougars so much?” he asked, walking me toward the park’s front gate. I had to think for a beat. There were many reasons. “I think it’s how they can actually kill with their mouths,” I finally said. “They can conquer an animal several times their size, grab it in their jaws, and kill it instantly by snapping its neck.” Steve grinned. I hadn’t realized how similar we really were. “That’s what I love about crocodiles,” he said. “They are the most powerful apex predators.” Apex predators. Meaning both cougars and crocs were at the top of the food chain. On opposite sides of the world, this man and I had somehow formed the same interest, the same passion. At the zoo entrance I could see Lori and her friends in the car, anxious to get going back to Brisbane. “Call the zoo if you’re ever here again,” Steve said. “I’d really like to see you again.” Could it be that he felt the same way I did? As we drove back to Brisbane, I was quiet, contemplative. I had no idea how I would accomplish it, but I was determined to figure out a way to see him. The next weekend, Lori was going diving with a friend, and I took a chance and called Steve. “What do you reckon, could I come back for the weekend?” I asked. “Absolutely. I’ll take care of everything,” came Steve’s reply.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)
My heart was pounding as I drove up the coast again a few days later. There was the familiar little sign, the modest entrance. And here he was again, as large as life--six feet tall, broad shoulders, a big grin, and a warm and welcome handshake. Our first real touch. “Well, I’m back,” I said lamely. “Good on you, mate,” Steve said. I thought, I’ve got what on me? Right away, I was extremely self-conscious about a hurdle I felt that we had to get over. I wasn’t entirely sure about Steve’s marital status. I looked for a ring, but he didn’t wear one. That doesn’t mean anything, I told myself. He probably can’t wear one because of his work. I think he figured out what I was hinting at as I started asking him questions about his friends and family. He lived right there at the zoo, he told me, with his parents and his sister Mandy. His sister Joy was married and had moved away. I was trying to figure out how to say, “So, do you have a girlfriend?” when suddenly he volunteered the information. “Would you like to meet my girlfriend?” he asked. Ah, I felt my whole spirit sink into the ground. I was devastated. But I didn’t want to show that to Steve. I stood up straight and tall, smiled, and said, “Yes, I’d love to.” “Sue,” he called out. “Hey, Sue.” Bounding around the corner came this little brindle girl, Sui, his dog. “Here’s my girlfriend,” he said with a smile. This is it, I thought. There’s no turning back.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)
My heart was pounding as I drove up the coast again a few days later. There was the familiar little sign, the modest entrance. And here he was again, as large as life--six feet tall, broad shoulders, a big grin, and a warm and welcome handshake. Our first real touch. “Well, I’m back,” I said lamely. “Good on you, mate,” Steve said. I thought, I’ve got what on me? Right away, I was extremely self-conscious about a hurdle I felt that we had to get over. I wasn’t entirely sure about Steve’s marital status. I looked for a ring, but he didn’t wear one. That doesn’t mean anything, I told myself. He probably can’t wear one because of his work. I think he figured out what I was hinting at as I started asking him questions about his friends and family. He lived right there at the zoo, he told me, with his parents and his sister Mandy. His sister Joy was married and had moved away. I was trying to figure out how to say, “So, do you have a girlfriend?” when suddenly he volunteered the information. “Would you like to meet my girlfriend?” he asked. Ah, I felt my whole spirit sink into the ground. I was devastated. But I didn’t want to show that to Steve. I stood up straight and tall, smiled, and said, “Yes, I’d love to.” “Sue,” he called out. “Hey, Sue.” Bounding around the corner came this little brindle girl, Sui, his dog. “Here’s my girlfriend,” he said with a smile. This is it, I thought. There’s no turning back. We spent a wonderful weekend together. I worked alongside him at the zoo from sunup to sunset. During the day it was raking the entire zoo, gathering up the leaves, cleaning up every last bit of kangaroo poo, washing out lizard enclosures, keeping the snakes clean. But it was the croc work that was most exciting. The first afternoon of that visit, Steve took me in with the alligators. They came out of their ponds like sweet little puppies--puppies with big, sharp teeth and frog eyes. I didn’t know what to expect, but with Steve there, I felt a sense of confidence and security. The next thing I knew, I was feeding the alligators big pieces of meat, as if I’d done it all my life.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)
Meanwhile, I was still an out-of-her-element novice from Oregon. Steve wanted to help me feel as comfortable with snakes as I was with my mammal friends. I’d had some experience with reptiles before, but it certainly wasn’t my forte. Since I was living every day with about a hundred and fifty snakes, in a country that was home to the top eleven most venomous snakes in the world, it was time for a Stevo snake education. He knew just the right teacher. “Let me introduce you to Rosie,” Steve said to me one day, bringing out a beautiful boa constrictor. She was eight feet long, as fat as my arm, and very sweet. But when I first met her, I was a bit more nervous than I wanted to admit. “The first step is to get to know each other,” Steve explained. I tried. While Steve cooked dinner, I sat at one end of the sofa. Rosie lay coiled at the other. I eyed her suspiciously. She eyed me the same way, both of us hoping that we each didn’t just suddenly fling ourselves at the other in attack. I was worried about her, and she must have been worried about me, too. Friend or foe? Back when we first met, neither of us knew. Finally there came a revelation. I watched her, curled up on her end of the sofa, and I realized Rosie was actually more wary of me than I was of her. That’s when I started to understand the thought process of the snake. Snakes are very logical: If it’s bigger than me, I’m afraid of it. If it’s smaller than me, I will eat it. Fortunately, I was way too big for Rosie to think of me as a snack. I inched closer to her. Rosie tentatively stretched her neck out, flicked her tongue a few times, and slid into my lap. It was a monumental moment and a huge new experience for me. We began to check each other out. I stroked her soft, smooth skin. She smelled every little bit of me, and since snakes smell with their tongues, this meant a lot of flicking and licking. She licked down the front of my knee and flicked her tongue at my shoelaces. After a long day traipsing around the zoo, my shoes must have smelled…interesting. Up she came. As she approached my face, I felt myself instinctively recoil. Incredibly, even though I betrayed none of my inner thoughts, Rosie seemed to sense my anxiety. She slowed down and hesitated. As I relaxed, she relaxed. As time went by, I was able to tolerate Rosie around my shoulders. Soon I did the dishes with Rosie around my neck, and paperwork with her stretched out on the table. We began doing most of my household chores together. She preferred small indoor spaces where she felt secure, but she became braver and braver as she trusted me more.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)
Before I met Rosie, I’d believed that a snake’s personality was rather like that of a goldfish. But Rosie enjoyed exploring. She stretched her head out and flicked her tongue at anything I showed her. Soon she was meeting visitors at the zoo. Children derived the most delight from this. Some adults had their barriers and their suspicions about wildlife, but most children were very receptive. They would laugh as Rosie’s forked tongue tickled their cheeks or touched their hair. Rosie soon became my best friend and my favorite snake. I could always use her as a therapist, to help people with a snake phobia get over their fear. She had excellent camera presence and was a director’s dream: She’d park herself on a tree limb and just stay there. Most important for the zoo, Rosie was absolutely bulletproof with children. During the course of a busy day, she often had kids lying in her coils, each one without worry or fear. Rosie became a great snake ambassador at the zoo, and I became a convert to the wonderful world of snakes. It would not have mattered what herpetological books I read or what lectures I attended. I would never have developed a relationship with Rosie if Steve hadn’t encouraged me to sit down and have dinner with her one night. I grew to love her so much, it was all the more difficult for me when one day I let her down. I had set her on the floor while I cleaned out her enclosure, but then I got distracted by a phone call. When I turned back around, Rosie had vanished. I looked everywhere. She was not in the living room, not in the kitchen, not down the hall. I felt panic well up within me. There’s a boa constrictor on the loose and I can’t find her! As I turned the corner and looked in the bathroom, I saw the dark maroon tip of her tail poking out from the vanity unit. I couldn’t believe what she had done. Rosie had managed to weave her body through all the drawers of the bathroom’s vanity unit, wedging herself completely tight inside of it. I could not budge her. She had jammed herself in. I screwed up all my courage, found Steve, and explained what had happened. “What?” he exclaimed, upset. “You can’t take your eyes off a snake for a second!” He examined the situation in the bathroom. His first concern was for the safety of the snake. He tried to work the drawers out of the vanity unit, but to no avail. Finally he simply tore the unit apart bare-handed. The smaller the pieces of the unit became, the smaller I felt. Snakes have no ears, so they pick up vibrations instead. Tearing apart the vanity must have scared Rosie to death. We finally eased her out of the completely smashed unit, and I got her back in her enclosure. Steve headed back out to work. I sat down with my pile of rubble, where the sink once stood.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)