FIELD TRIP (from a wilting mum)
The weekend would be filled with frivolity due to my daughter’s tenth birthday. Her wishes? “I want a sponge cake with jam and cream, the one you can buy from the supermarket and a take away pizza when my friends sleep over, that’s all I need Mum.” She said with a huge grin. Easiest birthday request ever! We had other plans and when I asked her would she like to go to the Mogo Zoo, with her two best buddy’s, she could not keep the excitement bottled up, bouncing off the walls and all over the furniture in the old farm-house.
For me it was not only a chance to enjoy watching the children run from enclosure to enclosure, before processing what was actually behind the glass. It was the perfect field trip to observe the crowd, to jot down details in my mind. Capturing the moments, how the animals for my novel Kookazoo would act, especially on a hot day. I have always been an avid people watcher and enjoyed eaves dropping on the frustrated parents, mostly smirking to myself whilst watching them round-up the naughty ones, the ones up to no good. No child goes without a scolding in such an exciting, over stimulating environment.
Saturday was one of the hottest days of the summer. We begged a zoo keeper who was wetting down the poor over-heated ostrich’s, if she could turn her hose our way. With classic thick lashed eyes and a quirky inquisitiveness, these odd-looking creatures reminded me of a couple of old batty ladies doing a fan dance with their wings fully fluffed to capacity. I have two ostrich’s in my story, one named Tim and one named Tam so it was the perfect opportunity to capture some great characteristics from these enormous birds.
As we plied ourselves with sunscreen on the hour, drank litres of water and stopped beside the lion’s enclosure to rest and indulge in a cool lemonade ice block. The searing heat drained what little energy I had left, not to mention the sheer lack of a cool breeze. If you have experienced an Australian summer scorcher you will know what I’m talking about. It took the children longer to realise it was not the perfect day walking along the unshaded track around the park. Yet I thought if my mother could do it with out a negative comment, so could we all.
I was in awe of the majestic lion, he sat under a shady tree commanding our attention simply by sitting stone still. To our delight a white lioness toyed with a ball as would a domestic cat. My daughter said she could watch the baby cubs play all day and I had to agree. There is something about baby animals that makes a crowd go all gooey. From an active baby Gibbon, to a delicate little Giraffe, we humans just can’t get enough of new life.
Every time you walk out the door it could be an opportunity to take a field trip, the world is constantly changing, things never stay the same. There will always be something to inspire me to write everyday. I need to go back to the zoo on my own and just sit, listen and watch. There is no lion in my story due to it being about an Australian native sanctuary, yet if I can think of a reason to place a beautiful animal such as this in my imaginary zoo, I would surely bring it to life on the page. My daughter said it was the best birthday present ever.