Fair Weather

_C1_9367A county fair is an annual melding of two worlds.

The first world is one of goats and droppings and wood chips, and it arrives with the morning. Kids and teenagers give early mornings and months of time to bring animals to full form or strength. They wash their pigs or steers or rabbits, scrub them, preen them, brush them, trim them, spray them and heave them through the crowd, no matter how cantankerous the animals get. They win ribbons and pride and thousand-dollar bids and think about things like how and whether to grow food for a living.

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_C1_0525The second world is one of summer jobs and suburbs and supermarkets, and it arrives in the evening. The kids are less familiar with livestock and feed but still have their share of early mornings. Instead of a competition, the county fair is a blur of lights and excitement. The kids win stuffed monkeys and balloons and toys and think about things like how expensive the food is.

The county fair brings in both worlds. Inside the livestock arena, the rapid-fire rhythm of the auctioneer’s voice floats above the chatter of people and bleats of goats. Outside, the air thrums with screams and laughter and bass-heavy music. Somewhere among the funnel-cake stands and Ferris wheels, the worlds, to an extent, overlap.

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I went to the Washington County Fair four times last week — twice for work, twice for fun. I hope the images turned out all right. I took a whole lot of photos this week, so I’ve got another post coming up quickly for you.

Thanks for looking!

Dan

Boxed In

_C1_8646Zoos are tricky places.

They can be fun and educational for kids and adults, if they’re paying attention, but they hold animals that would range over thousands of square miles in a complex of a few dozen acres. Many contend zoos make people care more about the planet’s other inhabitants, but others dispute the notion. They work to bring animals closer to us, but we’re still safely remote behind windows, fences or moats. Zoos expand enclosures, but animals still grow either lethargic or edgy, pacing over and over.

Zoos are tricky.

_C1_8698These issues were on my mind when I went to the Tulsa Zoo this weekend. I don’t know the answers. I had a good time in Tulsa, and I’ve seen animals I’d never see in person otherwise thanks to Tulsa and the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo. It’s hard to argue with the excitement and wonder from kids as they watched the elephants and chimps and hellbender salamanders. Maybe the only answer is zoos are good and bad.

Anyway, here are some photos.

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_C1_8613This, bizarrely, is a smaller snake curled up within the coils of an eastern diamondback rattlesnake. The rattler didn’t seem to mind.

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_C1_8583Thanks for looking, and for tolerating my ramblings. I hope it was a good weekend.

Dan