It's been a tearful several hours this evening after returning from town. At the coffee shop I saw Selma first time since she's returned from visiting family in Miami over Christmas. Telling her about the video I'd found on youtube, Proof That Lions Never Forget, a short video about a couple of Australian guys in London bought a lion cub at Harrod's department store and raised it in London. I told her I'd send a link to the video. The lion made a pet exactly like a cat. The humans and the cat bonded in a love relationship like some of us do with our pet cats we raise from kittens. They played and romped while the cat was growing up. They took the cat to a big grass compound of, if I remember correctly, a Moravian church. Big square of grass surrounded by about a 3 foot wall of stone. They romped in that big lawn throwing a soccer ball for the lion to play with and they played chase games. Raising three kittens from birth, I watched them grow and individuate, saw much of their kitten play. I noticed that when they were play-biting, the one biting let go when the other squeaked that it hurt. They learned how they could bite in play without hurting. They learned the same with their claws, how to "waller" (wallow) around and use the claws though not to hurt. They became skillful with their teeth and claws so when they grew up and got into their cat tussles, rolling around on the floor looking like a bowling ball with a life of its own, howling and screaming, they never hurt each other.
The video showed the cat bigger and the guys had to find something to do with it. A big lion doesn't do too well on its own in London. They named the cat Christian. When they wallered with the cat, they rubbed faces in joy, much like wallering with a house cat, but this cat getting big was becoming a problem just by its size. No zoo. They couldn't betray their love bond with the cat by turning it over to a prison sentence for life. By "chance," they met a couple who had been in the movie Born Free of George Adamson's lion reserve in Kenya. They exchanged mail with Adamson. He was willing to take the cat. The Kenyan government didn't want another lion. It took a month to get their application approved from Kenya in a critical time when the cat was big and getting bigger fast. They crated the cat in a passenger jet hold and flew to Kenya. George Adamson received them and liked Christian right away for being so alert and tame. Adamson spent his life taking lions from some unnatural situation like a zoo and gradually returning them to their natural life in "the wild." They left the lion with Adamson. A year later they wanted to see Christian. They flew to Kenya after being told the lion would have forgotten them and may be dangerous.
The part of the short film that took me away was when Christian sees them, looks at them while walking toward them wondering what they were. One of them spoke the lion's name. Christian's pace quickened into almost a run and he jumped on the first one in a standing up embrace, front legs over the guy's shoulders and wallering his face in his friend's face, wallering out of his mind in joy, turning from one to the other to be embraced, going back and forth, just like when they played a year before. All the while they're embracing I think it might be Whitney Houston sang that song "I will always love you," in almost an opera aria. It's a tear jerking video. It opens the heart chakra. Over a couple of days I must have watched it a dozen times. This evening I went to the 45 minute documentary, A Lion Called Christian, made from home movies, photographs and the guys who raised the cat talking about the experience. They filmed taking the cat to Kenya and filmed the return visit. It's a beautifully made documentary that is so full of love that, like I said, it opens the heart chakra and fills my being with the joy feeling of love.
Caterpillar came to me half way through the film and I held her through the second half. Caterpillar is a Maine Coone with the facial features and head structure of a lion, and a lion's way of walking. Sometimes I call her Caterpillar Lioness. She likes that name. Caterpillar has huge paws. Her 2 siblings were more of the panther face, head and body structure. Her long Maine Coon fur behind the ears sticks out like a lion mane sometimes. Her Cleopatra eyes are very much a lion's eyes, though with a black line running from the corner to below her ears, her eyes outlined by a white line. I was enjoying looking at the lion's eyes, seeing the life in them I see in Caterpillar's eyes. Having lived with Caterpillar 15 years and the other two for 12 years, I have a fairly good feel for cat movement and cat behavior that connected me with Christian the lion like I knew the cat, intimately familiar. I couldn't help but think it must have been a great gift for the cat's soul to be raised in so much love that the cat's eyes were full of attentive affection. Like I know cats love and dogs love. These 2 humans connected with the cat in love, the same as I connect with Caterpillar in love. Curious how love can be such a bridge. Lions are wired to kill us and we're wired to kill them. Then love comes into the picture and it's wallering faces in a frenzy of joy. Much of the time I spoke to Caterpillar while I watched it, talking to her lightly, telling her I love her, remembering when she was a kitten and we played.
After the film I went to see my neighbors for a few minutes. Caterpillar wanted me to put her on the footstool before I left. She was there when I returned. I sat down and started petting her, telling her how happy I am she's been my friend for 15 years, that I've loved her since the day she was born, that she was born into my hands and I fell in love so much I couldn't turn my babies over to any possible mistreatment. The only way I knew for certain my babies would have full lives of being loved would be for them to live with me. Caterpillar's version of wallering like the lion did rubbing faces is to put her face into the palm of my hand and I'll hold her head lightly like a baseball. She loves for me to hold her face like that for about 5 seconds. Any more than that she gets uneasy. Less than that is not enough. I've learned to let go at the same time she wants me to. When I raise my hand from her face, her eyes look like she just woke up still emerging from the daze of sleep. Every time I hold her face, even when I do it several times in a row, her eyes come out of it as from sleep. I think it puts her in a place where she feels totally safe. I spent about an hour with Caterpillar, aware that I don't sit with her and focus loving attention on her enough. I do sometimes, but not enough. I felt so much love for my baby Pillar I wanted to treat her like this was our last moment together and I wanted to make it a happy one. It's not our last moment, but some day will be. I can let her go now satisfied I've expressed my love to Caterpillar for all time so I won't have to at the last moment. Rubbing the top of her head my heart chakra was still open, a circle of love ran between our hearts. I'm most happy I understand that the nature of the spirit of life in all living beings is love. It turns out love is the bridge between hearts. I think that's what Jesus was trying to get across to us.