Animal Therapy {a day at the zoo}

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{all of the above images are ©Daryl Everett 2011 and were taken at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. }

This past week was incredibly busy for me. We left the house at least once a day and usually for at least three hours each time.

As the week progressed, I was able to feel the stress wearing me. By Sunday evening I had turned to “Facebook Therapy.”

I started thinking of when I could get in some Mama-to-Mama time with a friend which led me to thinking of all the things that needed to be done this week and in only two days since it’s Thanksgiving week! The list was overwhelming and it was still growing.  All of my fellow mamas appeared to be busy this week and I needed a quick intervention.  I considered a few things and they all seemed like they would contribute to my stress levels increasing rather than to my feel-good hormones increasing. Scenes of laughing with an excited toddler played in my head. Then I got it: the zoo.

When you go to the zoo you write off the whole day to strolling in nature and enjoying the animals, in my case with a little boy who loves animals. What could be more healing for a Mama with increasing fight-or-flight hormones? Me thinks, nothing. (Save a long soak in a candle-lit tub with soft music and a personal masseur.)

And with that the decision was made to take a day off and go to the zoo. No “to do” list, no dishes, no laundry, no portrait edits, no cooking, no cleaning, just the train, the animals, the child and the camera.

While the day wasn’t some ethereal experience, but it was restorative. It’s quite amazing just how exciting the reptile house is when you’re almost two.

I had to remind myself a few times that the agenda for the trip was to have no agenda, not to see every animal at the zoo. We loitered in the aviary  because those double doors are just so cool. We looked at all the snakes at least twice, just in case one of them decided to do something really neat. We chatted with the goats and looked into the eyes of the gorilla, wondering who was really on exhibit!

And one of us slept all the way home.

All in all it was a great experience.

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