"Rays Of Sun, Not Hope"

Melinda Stewart Page

Leitchfield, KY., United States

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It was a beautiful Sunny afternoon at the Louisville Ky. Zoo. I couldn’t wait to get to the Great Apes exhibit. I had only seen these magnificent creatures in photos or video. I had my new camera, and in truth this was the main reason that I had traveled to Louisville this day. When I reached the Gorilla exhibit with it’s very large open area. I noticed that it had lots of trees, ropes and many other items that you would think a Gorilla would enjoy, but where were they? I could see that their entrance to the inside was open so they could come and go as they pleased. I went inside to their area where they slept, and there they all were. My God! they were enormous! Look at all of them! Wow I started to take pictures like a mad woman, finally I could visit them for real, they were right here in front of me. Darn this glass they were behind made it very hard to get any kind of a good photo, but I kept snapping anyway to catch their beauty ,strength and intelligence But they were not there after all!
When you look at wildlife through a lens close up you see and feel their joy, pain, fear or anger, that would otherwise go unnoticed. All at once I had this profound feeling of total sadness. I could feel no joy, pain, fear or anger for that matter. All I could feel was hopelessness! Every time I zoomed in on a different face it was the same feeling. I don’t know if it was actual memories of a past, or memories at a cellular level, but these wonderful creatures were not here, emotionally at least, they were somewhere else entirely.
This is not meant to be a judgment of the Louisville Zoo, they are a wonderful facility. As good as any zoo can be. They work very hard to provide as natural of a surrounding for all of their animals as anyone could hope for. Truth be told these wonderful creatures are probably safer in this zoo than if they were free in their native home, I just don’t think these gorillas know that. For me that is a very sad feeling.
The tiny items floating throughout this photo are of what must have been millions of dust particles floating in the air that the shaft of Sun coming in through the window illuminated.

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