Someone told me it’s all happening at the Zoo. I do believe it. I do believe it’s true.” – Part 3

Red panda.
Red Panda Cubs Named at the Zoo: Tanvi and Suva are two of the Assiniboine Park Zoo’s newest additions…and have…joined mom Sachi and dad Tango in the public enclosure at Toucan Ridge, the tropical house at the zoo. (April 10, 2017)
On January 2nd of our brand new year
I purpose my visit to see Red Pandas
trodding the frigid asphalt path with a quick clip.

Arctic fox.

Plains Bison lie prostrate on frozen ground,

one sacred white rolling in ecstasy.
Elk gaze right through me;
ginger cougars pace the wire fence.
A Snowy Owl cleans spotted feathers;
the Arctic Fox snoozes curled up in white.
Polar bears lumber up and over the hill.
The clever Alpine Ibex scratches his pronged horned head with a branch;
reindeer gnaw tree bark and the caribou keep their distance
while a long legged wolf skulks on the distant hill,
all content delighting in the -22 C air.


At last the oasis of Toucan Ridge house

Rain Forest home to monkeys, frogs, Milk Snake.
Seen first only through my fogged spectacles,
and then clearly —the vaunted Red Pandas
coddled in this
hot spot of the zoo!

Red panda cubs.

Strange creatures:

bear feet,
racoon tail,
sweet faced
cuddly looking
‘teddy bears’
defying categorization
not true to their appearance
vicious, temperamental
simply assuming their warm
damp environment bubble home
within a frozen arctic world outside.
Trudging to the zoo car park and then
driving toward my warm bubble home
I wonder if Gerard Manley Hopkins
would have written of all this as he did
of the world in the temperate climes of his time:
‘Glory be to God for dappled things.’
All photos courtesy of Frank Obrigewitsch, SJ

Frank Obrigewitsch, SJ, is pastor of St. Ignatius parish in Winnipeg.


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