Sunday, April 27, 2008

Topeka, A City of Contrasts

Topeka was especially pretty when I was there last week. These pictures all come from Gage Park, which is the location of the city zoo. The zoo itself, like most small zoos, is depressing because of how only one or two representatives of a species are caged within a confined space. The humane thing would be closing the zoo down and sending the animals to larger facilities where the animals can interact with more members of their species within an environment resembling their native habitat. Some people were snapping pictures of the animals. Seeing these zoo animals reminds me of that scene in the recent version of King Kong where he, as the last surviving member of his species, sits among the bones of his ancestors and gazes toward the sunset, finding but a few minutes of beauty in a life of loneliness and heartache.

What I found particularly worthy of note in Gage Park were the flowers. Topeka, unlike the capital city in other states I've visited, seems to care about its appearance. Take a look at the following pictures. Clicking on each one will enlarge it.

Soon after leaving this park, I encountered members of the Phelps' church holding a demonstration on one of the street corners, one in which kids, with the adults looking on, were holding up signs proclaiming bigotry and hatred as worthy virtues. No one was harassing them, I noticed. I cannot speak for what transpired during the entire length of the demonstration. When I drove past that street corner about two hours later, no one remained from that demonstration.