According to my Facebook memory feed, it was on this day in 2013 that I learned Hudson’s departure from the Toronto Zoo was imminent – just under two weeks away, if I recall. I’d gotten an email stating that there would be a press release coming later that morning and, as luck would have it, I was with my therapist when that particular news came through. I’d suspected/feared that it would be an announcement about the bear leaving, but that didn’t stop the tears from flowing once the news was confirmed. And flow they did.
I knew he couldn’t stay here forever, though, and my heart-broken blog post which attempted to tell his story and express how much he meant to me ended up garnering me more attention from the zoo than I ever could have dreamed possible, so I guess it all worked out in the end. Hudson changed me then, and continues to do so now, especially since he’s been back. One reason is simply because I know how valuable each moment we have together is, as I don’t know how many more such moments there will be. But mostly, it’s him. Hudson being Hudson, and me just loving every aspect of his fool self.
I sure do love that bear.
My most recent voyage to the zoo was on January 7th, and just for a short span of time, as I had plans later that afternoon. I coaxed my friends, Steve and Sarah, into joining me, and we ended up scrambling to get me home on time…for some reason, we just can’t tear ourselves away from that place, especially when we’re there together! Also – #hotdogs 😉
I met them at the bears, and was somewhat surprised to see Hudson in the front area, but completely disinterested in doing anything out in the main part of the habitat. Instead, he kept walking over to the window from which he and his little sister, Juno, can see one another, and banging his head against the glass a couple of times, before heading back to check out the door leading to the inside areas. I suspect he could hear something going on back there, as it turned out he was going off exhibit not long after I got there, anyway. It was just weird, as I can’t remember ever seeing him so singular in his intent, and not paying any real attention to any of us hairless apes who were there to visit him. He did still glance my way once in awhile, but mostly he just wore out his path between the door and the window until it was time to go inside.
The cool thing about all that, though, was that Juno wasn’t reacting with fear when she looked at him, anymore. She’d still retreat to suck on her trusty jug every so often, but for the most part she seemed more curious about her giant brother, than anything else. I liked that.
Hudson went in and Humphrey came out, so we hung out with him a bit, too, as well as the girls, Aurora and Nikita, who were up to more of their adorable cuddling antics in the back habitat again. While Hudson was out, the girls were napping together – Nikita with one leg thrown over her sister for good measure. Then, when a keeper came out to spread some tasty treats for Humphrey to find, both girls got up to see what was going on. You never know when a wayward treat might find its way to you, right? Gotta be ready!
After that, however, we went to other parts of the zoo so I could visit briefly with some of the animals I love whom I haven’t seen much of since Hudson’s return! I didn’t take many pictures that day, and many of the ones I did take were through the cold lens fogging up once it got inside. There were also several of the inside of my coat pocket. Apparently I’d accidentally turned the camera on, at some point, and it took pictures as I walked around with it bouncing away in my pocket. At least the batteries held out!
I didn’t take any pictures of my gorilla loves, even though it was just a few days before little miss Nneka’s 3rd birthday, but I opted to just watch and be with them, instead. It’s good for my soul.
And some extra random shots of the crazy moon from the other night – not exactly animal-related, I guess, but the animals I live with sure felt its effects!