A Wild Heart

A Wild Heart

Nothing is more vital than a wild heart. When we lose that, we’ve lost our connection to the untamed, the unruly….the undomesticated part of ourself. And when that happens, the planet suffers.

simone (7)Yesterday I met Sampson.

I walked into the conference room and high up on a shelf, he perched. At first I wasn’t sure if he was alive as I wasn’t expecting a bobcat to be…ummm…there. But he was very much alive.

simone (8)Sampson is a northern bobcat that was ‘owned’ by humans who had him declawed and kept as a pet. They ran into problems with his ‘wild’ behaviors and there were permitting issues so he was surrendered to a wildlife rescue group in Ft. Walton Beach who now provide a home for him. He doesn’t like to be outdoors but rather lives in the administrative part of their building.

Stanley Kubrick, my orange tabby companion
Stanley Kubrick, my orange tabby companion…can’t you see the 

resemblance When I looked into this beautiful bobcat’s eyes I immediately saw my orange cat Stanley reflected back through the thread of wildness that remains very present in Sampson. Only it was like Stanley with his superhero powers turned up to full force.

simone (10)There was no where to hide from his searching eyes. When they locked with mine I understood that his wild wisdom is still intact even though he lives indoors. It was a bit unnerving to have my own wildness, my own worthiness to be evaluated. It was as if I was exposed, open to his scrutiny with no tree or rock or pretense to hide behind. He nailed me.

simone (6)Sampson allowed me to photograph his greatness and then came down to my level and allowed me to stroke him and ‘love’ him. I was being accepted into his clan. And when I sat at the conference table, he jumped up and walked to me and head-butted or bunted my forehead when I lowered my head to his. Cats (domestic and wild) have facial pheromones that they deposit on other cats, people, objects as a way to mark something as safe. According to one vet, it is like leaving a signal of comfort and safety….trusting the person or environment.

As I reflect back on my interaction with this amazing animal I realize how grateful I am. To be accepted as a trustworthy friend, or a person of comfort and safety to a wild creature (especially one that has been removed from his natural environment by humans and ‘used’ as a pet) is a gift to me. Given the amount of damage humans do to wild animals and wild places, to find acceptance such as this makes my heart glad…and happy.

simone (11)What is needed on our part to find greater acceptance from wild hearts of the world? What must we do to find ourselves worthy to be accepted by the clan of wild beings that we, in the greater sense, have abandoned? How can we maintain our wildness, like Sampson, even when living in environments that can seem far away from wilderness?

simone (13)
Whether a bobcat–ripped from his natural home as a baby–or a wild manatee, chooses to bring me into their clan, I am deeply grateful that I am deemed as acceptable, as a trustworthy friend and a human that brings comfort instead of pain and destruction….on some level do they know that I am a champion of their wild hearts?

6 Replies to “A Wild Heart”

  1. How beautiful, Simone! Both the photographs and the gift of the encounter and acceptance. But I think they do know.. they read us far more deeply than we generally think. You who are their champion, you meet far more of these wild and beautiful hearts up close than any woman I know. That is no coincidence 🙂

  2. I have worked with and around wildlife, including Sampson, for @ 30 years. You put into words what I have never been able to clearly express when asked why I do it.

  3. Thank you for your kind words. Sampson really is a teacher…on many levels. For those of us who treasure them as true companions in the journey….whether they are swimming free and showing us glimpses of a dorsal fin or in captivity being cared for by us…they are teachers.

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