Today we took the kids to the circus. I've never taken them because of how I feel about animals in a circus ... i'm a fan of the people-doing-the-tricks kinds ... acrobats and tight-rope-walkers. Swings and ropes and breath-catching-like-when-i-was-a-child ... unicylces and stilts. But it's a childhood memory so strong for me - the one and only time we went to see the circus ... the smell of sawdust on the floor (in those days) and the hugeness of the tent, ropes suspended high high. Roasted peanuts and popcorn and sitting on wooden benches .. the excitement.
Today there were tigers. Seven of them. Seven tigers in a cage. Made to jump from one little stool to another. For what. To impress seven-year-olds. Made to walk a tightrope. One of them sat on her stool, in the position her trainer wanted her in, and she just looked out at the audience. Eyes vacant. I know that look. I know that posture. Quiet desperation. They are not that different from us.
What is it about us humans that makes us want to subdue everything that is wild and beautiful. Makes us want to tame and control. Those seven beautiful tigers. Who should have been out in the jungle. Untamed. Wild. Terrifying.