An old fashioned look





My father used that phrase to describe the look of a person who didn’t quite believe what he was being told. It struck me that this elk as a rather old fashioned look. Today I went with two friends to Park Omega, a sort of wildlife park in Gatineau. One pays to sit in the car and drive slowly through a big area of trails and feed carrots to deer, caribou, elk, goats with enormous horns and herds of wild pigs. Musk oxen, bison and wolves can’t be fed. There were some shy arctic foxes too in big enclosures. I detest zoos but this seemed a genial sort of arrangement. The humans are trapped in cars and surrounded by some pretty persistent critters. After we had disposed of two large bags of carrots.”I told you to cut them in half!” We started to dole out New Year cake, crackers, apple cores and in a moment of desperation. Greek yoghurt. . . On a spoon, yet. Only the pigs would touch it. All members of the deer family turned away in disgust. Maybe they were lactose intolerant, who knows! It was bitterly cold so a stroll over the timber wolves’ enclosure was quite enough for me. I would like them to be set free. They looked very comfortable but, there is no substitute for freedom for an animal like that.

The water image for today. A clear lake, frozen in one night clear down to the pebbly bottom.. A boy straps on long silver skates and glides away over the perfectly smooth surface, mesmerized by the sunlight piercing down, Down past the frozen fish, past the twig suspended half way down, past the red canoe jutting out from the dock. He bends forward, puts his hands behind his back, and, thankful for his knitted cap with the ear flaps, he flies over the ice around her rocky headland, past the little green cabin until he is out of sight. We hear only the swishsh, swishsh of his silver skates for a few moments, and then, silence in the low afternoon light.

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