Phoebe and Liam, with dear friends Kelly and Anna, fell into line behind a little girl who was carefully stepping along a raised curb, as little girls will.
She was so intent on her balance that she didn't know she had an entourage.
When she discovered that she'd been leading the way for our party, she was delighted.
And just a wee bit smug.
As an Ohioan since 1992, I am proud to say that our Columbus Zoo kicks zoological park derriere. It is a wonderful place, staffed by people who really understand and dig the animals. It's beautiful and spacious and anything but antiquated. You might think I'd be the kind of person who declares, "I hate zoos." You hear people say that, but not me. I suspect that folks who feel that way haven't set foot in a zoo since they were small. Those people need to visit the Columbus Zoo. So much has changed for the better, for the animals and for the people who look at and care for them. And the Columbus Zoo does a stellar job of highlighting the vital role of zoos in endangered species stewardship.
Where else can you see Fluffy, probably the fattest python in the world?
Fluffy's coils look like Spin-Art.
Where else can you get eye-to-eye with some fabulous flying foxes, which look something like winged Pomeranians?
Stretching a wing, showing a band on his odd hooked forefinger. What a miracle bats are. A collection of bones and skin, formed into something wondrous, something DaVinci might have invented if it did not already exist. The blood vessels, supplying all that membrane with life. The membrane, stretched between fingers of a huge bony hand. All of it, bearing the animal aloft in the only true mammalian flight.
From wing to blanket. They fuss and vibrate and scratch and preen, rarely still, looking like a bunch of itchy umbrellas hung from the ceiling.
Lighting wasn't fabulous in the monkey house, but I caught a baby golden langur in flight.
He pushed pretty much all of our buttons at once.
Barely the size of a squirrel, he clung with authority to the narrow limbs, a 20' fall awaiting if he slipped. He didn't slip. Still, it was hard for Liam's mama to watch him cavort so high above cruel cement.
Give me a tail, willya, huh?
Adorable, that's all.
By Monday, January 11, the kids will have had one day of school in the last 19. We will have enjoyed a peaceful Christmas, a wildly fun New Year's onset, and lengthy visits from acute viral pharyngitis and pinkeye, the guests who wouldn't leave. Hackahackahacka. We will have taken the sleds down the Bowl many times, and the Wii, which is worth its weight in gold, will have had an obscene amount of use. So far, we still have heat and power and I have not had to cook everything in the freezer at once, and for that I am abjectly grateful. As country denizens, we tend to associate this extreme cold and prolonged snow cover with the loss of electricity, heat, or both.
But the snow is light and fluffy and the winds are calm; no branches breaking, no powerlines snapping; and other than Liam's losing his glasses on a sled run, and our finding out that metal detectors can't find titanium frames, no matter how dear, it's been a pretty good run. We hope the same for you.