Sunday, January 8, 2012

No Lions, No Waiting

Ashi matched my strides while I pushed Izaiah's stroller down the dusty trail toward 'our' blind. Once inside, we pulled back the canvas windows and looked off to our far right. We found two snoozing, mama lions sunbathing their enormous, tan bodies. 

Searching, I asked Ashi, "Where is the daddy lion? Do you see him?"  Before she could answer I lowered my gaze and my mouth dropped open immediately. 

"Ashi! Come here, look! He's right in front of us!"  Ashi scrambled atop a wooden log and peered out. "Where?" she asked. "Right in front of you!" I breathed.  She struggled to find the lounging lion even though I pointed directly at him and verbally explained where to look. Finally after several attempts, her mouth gaped open when the daddy lion came into her view. He was so close!  She drew her breath in sharply, her eyes full with pleasure.

Like the beasts on the savannah, Izaiah slept soundly in his stroller while Ashi and I admired the pride. It was the middle of the day on a Wednesday at our local zoo. We're homeschoolers, so we can do that.  No lines, no waiting.  I think the animals appreciate that as much as people do; their behavior is so much more relaxed. 

Ashi and I thought that if we talked to each other softly, we might gently wake them and sure enough, the  lions began to stir as we spoke.  They yawned, baring fierce teeth and bottomless, pink throats. They lazily rolled from side to side bathing in the dust their bodies kicked up. Sleepy-eyed, they blinked, looking at us after following our smell on the breeze.

Just then, a silent signal between the lions meant it was time to gather at the watering hole.  Ashi and I quickly let the tarp windows down. Pushing Izaiah's stroller, we raced into a cave to watch them thirstily drink. It was thrilling to be millimeters away from all three lions, separated only by plexi-glass. Their interactions, facial expressions, playfulness, and their personalities always intrigues us.

Izaiah's sixth sense let him know we were in the cave, which he does not like. He let us know it was time to go do something else.

We headed for the steamy, warm, Tropical Rainforest. It's stench is rich and earthy, like a great big salad. It's Izaiah's favorite place. He walks the same path over and over, in his own little world, making noises the birds seem to understand. They appear to enjoy us as much as we enjoy them. The macaw screeches and flies overhead, swooping, while parrots talk and whistle; shell colored flamingos gracefully shuffle by.

Later, to our surprise, we discovered the giraffes were inside. One of  them just happened to be snooping through the zoo keeper's office!  His neck was outstretched through the office doorframe. Nosily, he snuffled over the man's desk, rifling through his papers. We laughed hysterically imagining a giraffe at our own home going through our own school papers and then another giraffe drooled all over Ashi!  Wow! Giraffe Drool!  You never know what adventures you'll have at (home)school.

Annie Eskeldson has 2 children on the spectrum. She provides their therapy and homeschooling.  She has 3 published children's books about autism that also nurture parents.  They can be found online at amazon, Barnes and Noble, and at


  1. derek_masonAdded: 21 Jan, 2012 8:52 pm

    Great post, Annie. Thank You :-)

    MysonJACKSONAdded: 18 Jan, 2012 1:12 pm

    Loving this blog...

  2. CarlWilliamsAdded: 13 Jan, 2012 6:45 pm

    Great pictures !

    melreindhartAdded: 12 Jan, 2012 3:22 pm

    The zoo sounds like such a fun field trip with the kids...

    Claire_radleyAdded: 11 Jan, 2012 5:26 pm

    I agree. Awesome photographs. Great post :-)

    jcannasterAdded: 10 Jan, 2012 12:27 pm

    Loved the pictures from the Zoo