Visiting the Zoo

I have been increasingly concerned about Kate’s mobility in recent weeks. She has been unusually slow getting into and out of chairs and the car. She is also slower going up and down curbs and stairs. Thinking it might be her arthritis flaring up again, I’ve asked her if she is experiencing pain. Each time she tells me that she feels no pain at all, that she is just being careful. I can’t help thinking this is a result of her limited physical activity. When she used to work in the yard, she moved around from place to place. It wasn’t like walking for exercise, but it was much better than remaining in a sitting or lying position all day.

Lately, I have thought about getting her to the zoo or to a couple of the museums in town. Yesterday was the perfect day to try out the idea. The temperature was in the lower-70s without a cloud in the sky. After returning home from lunch, I told Kate it was such a beautiful day that I thought we should get out. She agreed.

She didn’t ask where we were going. She just got in the car as though we were going to Panera or Barnes & Noble. When we drove into the parking lot at the zoo, she said, “Where are we?” I told her we were at the zoo. A number of times I have mentioned the possibility of going to the zoo, and she wasn’t interested. That is why I didn’t tell her where we were going until we got there. Even then, I told her that I needed to renew our membership. That was true. Then I said, “We might as well take a look around.” She followed me in without raising any protest at all.

We hadn’t walked far when she said, “I don’t want to walk much.” I told her we wouldn’t stay long. I went prepared to leave after a short time if that were necessary, but it wasn’t. We had gotten there about 3:30, and they closed at 5:00. That worked out well. She loved everything. You would naturally expect her to be taken by the animals, and she was. Given her experience with gardening and the fact that the zoo has invested heavily in landscaping, it was no surprise that she really loved the trees, shrubs, and other greenery.

One of the highlights, as it has been on previous visits, was the Lorikeet exhibit. As you enter the area with its net covering the entire space, you are given a small cup of nectar to feed the birds. Since it was late in the day, they weren’t as hungry as they usually are. Only two birds came to drink from my cup and one to Kate. Another bird accidentally got into the back of the top Kate was wearing. I didn’t see it happen. I only heard Kate shriek. The bird got out quickly, and everything was fine. We had a great time. Kate was like a little child. We’ll definitely go back while the weather is still good.

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