I must be getting old. Or maybe I'm just getting less tolerant. Or maybe both. But I have to rant about what happened to me yesterday.
As you know, I'm living now in Zurich Switzerland. And since it's a big city, I often look for places out of town, in the forest to recharge my batteries. And I found one in the Wildnispark Zurich Langenberg just outside of town.
It's a beautiful place, a wildlife park and hiking area, and something you don't often see here in Zurich...it's FREE. Woohoo!!!
So, I headed out with my packed lunch and water, prepared to enjoy myself. And for the most part I did. The park is absolutely beautiful, with long sweeping trails, bubbling brooks and rushing waterfalls. The open air zoo part of the park was amazing, with huge enclosures for the animals and platforms and hides to watch all the different creatures. I loved it.
Until I ran into them. The mouths. The ones who don't get the fact that most people come to the forest for the silence...for the tranquility. The ones that let their children scream bloody murder and then complain the animals won't come near them. The ones that talk at the top of their lungs as they are crouching in a hide and then wonder--loudly--why they never see any of the critters.
No jury of my peers would convict me if I threw them all in the closest lake. I know the animals would thank me. The idiots would finally shut up!
But the fish in the lake would probably revolt. Those kind of people would keep talking even as they sank into the mud.
I've seen this type of behavior everywhere we've been, and it's rude and irritating to those of us who did come to the park to actually LISTEN to the wind in the trees or actually try and SEE the animals around us. It's even worse when you are out in the actual back country and there is nothing but silence all around you...you're soaking it in, and then suddenly, Mr. Mouth and his family come shouting down the trail.
Any of you who are critter watchers know that once that happens it can be hours before the animals feel it's safe to creep back out and do their daily thing.
When our kids were little the first thing Jonathon and I taught them when hiking, was to be quiet...to move silently in the forest. And they learned. No, they weren't perfect when they were little, and we lost quite a few opportunities to see things, but it was a learning curve and that's okay. By the time they were five, they knew to be quiet and hear what was around them.
One of my favorite memories is being in Queensland, Australia and wandering around in one of the forests there. The kids were 7, 5 and 3. We were all silent, taking in the rainforest type of surroundings and watching the wild parakeets and parrots all around us.
And then, out of nowhere, a cassowary crossed our paths.
Now these huge birds are not something you see every day. LOL And they can be dangerous, especially if threatened. Instinctively, we all froze, even my youngest, and just watched as the bird stared at our family with it's unblinking eyes. Then, obviously dismissing us as uninteresting, it walked along the path, nibbling on bugs and snapping at flies. We crept along behind it, all as quiet as the proverbial mouse, watching the cassowary in it's native surroundings.
It lasted maybe five to ten minutes, before the bird slipped off into the bush, but it was one of the most rewarding memories of my life. Not only did we get to see something not often experienced, but I was so proud of my children. They didn't utter a peep. And their reward was a memory they will never forget.
I wish the parents I ran into yesterday would teach their children--hell, teach themselves to be silent in the forest. They don't understand they are their own worse enemy. They don't see anything and then complain--loudly--how boring and stupid whatever park they've gone to is. And that's sad. They honestly don't know what they're missing.
And they don't understand that it's their own fault that they're missing it.
As for me, I've learned to walk away from Mr. Mouth and his family. It doesn't do me any good to remonstrate with these type of people, even if I could speak the language. They don't listen and get angry that you dare say something. So rather than waste the energy, I just leave and find my own quiet place to enjoy the animals and the forest.
But I do feel sorry for the critters. If they have to listen to that every day, it's no wonder some species are going extinct!