Life in the Zoo

Here I am, A Lion in the Zoo. All meals ready packed. Adventure no longer on the table . Those primal days, running on uncertain ground are now a story board, caught on a poster laid out before my cage.  Needs are catered for apart from the need to express myself and to explore. Discovery unnecessary. The cage provides unchanging landscape

Sometimes out of boredom I open my mouth and roar. Passers by look up and say, “He’s really wild”. But I am not wild. Wild is a memory:  an instinct. I am a pacing thing caught in limbo and living for display. That place I never knew. That vanishing land of untended wilderness where chance still rules and safety is a moment of reprieve  is unknown to me. My father knew it . My mother did. but I did not.

Born by design, and living on cement, I’ve heard of tales around the watering hole. Of primal running across unmapped terrain. Of life and death instinctively approached. Of scent caught on the wind. The thrill of  chasing and pride felt at the kill. Heard of charging through the undergrowth: of grass and thorns and sleeping under trees.

I see men walking by,  pale of eye who talk of life behind the glass. Of instincts curbed for the common good and experience measured out in bite sized lumps. I see their spirits muted to the core and wonder how their lives resemble mine. Cured of nature and far from natural homes.  Are they me in different circumstance, but caged within their own conditioning.


About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
This entry was posted in character, community, creative writing, Environment, Life, life2, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Life in the Zoo

  1. Wow this is a really powerful piece!!

    I think many of us have been/are caged behind our own conditioning. And its very difficult,nigh on impossible to break free.

    This really got me thinking. I think I will let out a big “roar” just because 🙂


  2. rumpydog says:

    Stealing another’s spirit must be the most heinous of all sins.


  3. Barbara says:

    This post reminded me of how my thoughts on zoos have changed over my lifetime. The zoo was a favorite place to go, as a child, with my grandparents. As I learned more, over the years, about how unnatural this whole idea was, I became jaded. Even the best zoos in the world, like the San Diego Zoo, have limitations that have nothing to do with the nature of the beasts and what they truly need. To take that to another level, which you do so brilliantly, made this even better.


  4. Purely.. Kay says:

    I think we all somehow get caught up and become caged by our own conditioning. And it’s always a trial breaking free, but when you do.. everything seems to fall into place. This was wonderful.. it had the best message and I must admit it did remind me of visiting the zoo :).


  5. Ina says:

    Lovely posting. It always feels awkward to be in a zoo and see the animals that must live in a prison, but indeed a lot of us live incaged too somehow.


  6. nelle says:

    So much the latter. Some of us have no need to go beyond. Some get bruised at the boundaries only to be bounced back, and some take the bruises and the injuries and push beyond. Hello, Jonathan Livingston Seagull.


  7. Caroline says:

    To live to your true potential to allow your unconscious to run free and so give you new opportunities to develop and grow as a human being is something I help people with. Too often we are constrained by our own conscious imaginings which restrict us and leave us stuck in a cage of our own construction.

    I believe each and every one of us has amazing abilities which often we keep hidden even from ourselves. Sometimes finding the key to our release can seem impossible – but it’s there if you allow your mind free time to release it.

    This is a wonderful piece CD – and by the way I hate zoos for the very reasons you’ve outlined.

    There only purpose in this day and age should be as a method of helping species from extinction and only then if it is possible to create breeding programmes with the intention of future release back to the wild.


  8. ‘Born by design, and living on cement …’ Not enough that human beings have created such conditions for themselves, but they had to drag the natural world into it, too. I so agree with the comment above – that the purpose of Zoos should be to help re-instate animals back into the life and environment they were designed for. But then, ‘man’ has got to stop thinking the world is there for his use no matter … well, most of the destruction happens for greed and pretentiousness … and maybe a little evil thrown in. Wonderful post, countingducks – we need to see things from the animals’ perspective more.


  9. –Peter,
    I think we are all caged in one way or another.
    Fear. Jobs. Inhibiitions. Whatever.
    For me, I am always trying to find ways to break FREE, become liberated, released.
    This–my dear, is the most beautiful thing of all.
    Xxx Great peice.


  10. winsomebella says:

    The last line is excellent food for thought. Great perspective .


  11. Writerlious says:

    Oh, I like this. I like the metaphor between the lion and the person, and the similarities between them. I always feel bad for big cats at the zoo.


  12. Lafemmeroar says:

    We are all bound by life’s circumstance … despite free will … our will … our decisions bind us into the structure of our own choosing.


  13. Beautiful! Do we figure out how to escape from the cage to be hunted down? Or do we live complacent in our daily lives well fed?


  14. Al says:

    Words fail me, ducks, Thank goodness they don’t fail you.


  15. Kirri White says:

    Your words are a deep source of encouragement about the importance to live authentically. That’s the most direct route for escaping the cage altogether (IMHO)…but it’s a daily practice.


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