I was in Lincoln Park on some business today, so after that I took advantage of my day off and went to Lincoln Park Zoo. It was a wonderful visit — a visit full of wonder, enjoying old and new things in different ways.
I went to the new polar bear and penguin habitats for the first time — quite an admission for a former neighborhood resident. They are bigger and so natural-looking that when I approached the penguin habitat, I could have sworn that the penguin nearest to me was sitting on the crowd’s side of the glass. (I’ll use the word “glass” although I’m confident that it’s more reinforced than the ordinary meaning of the word.)
I walked along past the African Journey house and burst into song — right along with a guitarist who sat on the pavement. I’d had a good laugh with her already, because as I watched the penguins swimming, she was singing the old song from “Sesame Street” about “Rubber Duckie.” It fit perfectly with the penguins’ “bath” time:
Rub-a-dub, dubbie —
Rubber Duckie, joy of joys!
When I squeeze you, you make noise!
Rubber Duckie, I’m awfully fond of you!
Watching the penguins swim to that song made me laugh so well that I walked over and joined in on a verse.
Then I walked over to the Lion House — the guitarist was a few hours early on “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” but it was a fun few moments anyway. Watching relaxed animals can be contagious!
I wandered on toward the swans, ducks and flamingos in the pool past the Webster Street gate. I loved the ducks’ gleeful quacks, but I wanted some inspiration to knock the rust off my old cello favorite, “The Swan.” I found it when one of the zoo’s swans stopped fishing in the pool and flapped his wings — more than three feet wide, I’m sure, and all gloriously white. Hello, cello! Guess what I’ll play tonight!
The flamingos caught my eye not only for their amazing shapes and movements, but for an older memory: visiting another zoo with a great friend in early September and having a good talk at the flamingo pool at “her” zoo.
The memories live again, reinforced by the music and the animals.
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Filed under: Music and language