Tag Archives: wonder

I can’t remember what dream prompted it but I woke up with this thought yesterday.

So much of our enjoyment at the things of childhood disappears as we grow older.  The day comes when our old games of pretend ring hollow, our favourite songs seem silly, our favourite shows looks stilted and phony.  This happens at an individual level but also on a societal scale.  As technology changes and culture shifts, much of what was once entertaining seems dated to each new generation.  The sense of humor behind Leave It To Beaver doesn’t ring true anymore.  We might enjoy watching something like that with a nostalgia for a more innocent time, but we don’t really “get” it.  Popular music is another area where this can be seen, or even games.  Angry Birds is the new Tiddly-winks.  But there is one activity that delights children and their parents in much the same way it has for centuries.  Going to the zoo never goes out of style.  Joy, and awe at the amazing variety, beauty and strangeness of creatures never forsake us with age or never fail to captivate the young.  Perhaps it is because all those other things are the inventions of men, while animals spring from the creative mind of God.  Whatever the reason, it is comforting to know that, when all else fails, the striped tiger, the gleaming killer whale, and the fantastical kangaroo bring us all back to the wide-eyed, slack-jawed, heart-racing wonder of a little child.  Best of all, we can experience them side by side with our own children, hands clasped tightly, noses to the glass.

At The Zoo

There are lions and roaring tigers,
and enormous camels and things,
There are biffalo-buffalo-bisons,
and a great big bear with wings.
There’s a sort of a tiny potamus,
and a tiny nosserus too –
But I gave buns to the elephant
when I went down to the Zoo!

There are badgers and bidgers and bodgers,
and a Super-in-tendent’s House,
There are masses of goats, and a Polar,
and different kinds of mouse,
And I think there’s a sort of a something
which is called a wallaboo –
But I gave buns to the elephant
when I went down to the Zoo!

If you try to talk to the bison,
he never quite understands;
You can’t shake hands with a mingo –
he doesn’t like shaking hands.
And lions and roaring tigers
hate saying, “How do you do?” –
But I give buns to the elephant
when I go down to the Zoo!

A.A. Milne


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