"Going to the village showed me how naive a victim I am. The sheep attacked me. Fortunately, I escaped", said my classmate. My village-raised mindset didn't believe what he said, remembering childhood memories. Sheep were my bosom friends till I attended school. And I still appreciate their 3 qualities: 1. They're good listeners. Maybe they don't listen to you passionately, but they don't make any contrary point as well, raising your self-esteem. 2. They're good recommenders. They don't speak in a human language, or even their "ba-bas" don't match Morse's language. But sometimes silence speaks louder than words, allowing you to reflect on your actions, evaluate and conclude. 3. They're reliable. They don't gossip at all. Literally, I shared all my childhood secrets with them, yet I didn't hear anyone saying, "Oho, you little devil, your sheep said everything to me." The true friendship power encouraged me. I explained to my classmate that sheep never attack humans unless it is revenge. Thanks to my experience of about 5 years with sheep, I was sure about what I was saying. I carried on asking, "What did you do before the attack? Anything annoying?" He said he played with its lamb, separating mother and child. I felt proud when I heard those words. Not because I've proven that I'm right in front of the class but because I could advocate animals' rights the first time. Realization hit me: for me, animal values matter the same as human values.
Having a keen eye for real estate and working on a timeline of no more than two months, Mama was scrupulous and swift when choosing the right house. After a hard and footsore morning of self-guided showings, it was on Oakridge Drive where she found just the thing: a midcentury split level, set back from the road and nestled into a hillside, trimmed with wrought iron details and a bedroom balcony that overlooked the pool. The pool was really what caught Mama's attention, specifically the thicket of verdant elephant-ear plants that wrapped around the outdoor patio, intertwining with fat terra cotta pots of bright fuchsia bougainvillea, creating the feeling of a miniature jungle. It was there, fifty-six days later, with the faintest breath of spring in the air, she gave birth to five kittens. My parents instantly regretted telling me they were there, for when we made our pilgrimage to my grandparents' tidy house I skipped polite chat and bolted down the stairs, pressing my face against the sliding door in hopes of seeing the kittens, so desperate I caused a clatter and an obvious round white fog of my breath against the glass. Startled by the commotion, Mama deftly ushered her round and mewling children back under the elephant ears, her lustrous tabby fur slipping through the giant leaves and closing them behind her like a beaded curtain. As March gave way to April, I learned to control my volume, and as I calmed, I caught more glimpses of black and white fluff, tabby tails, and tufted orange ears. With every passing day, they grew bolder. Mama sat just at the edge of the little jungle one Sunday, watching as the five tussled in the late morning light, chasing pillbugs across the patio. Mama was starting to get that restless, primeval itch that made her turn to house hunting again, and the kittens had started to find meals on their own. As I watched the little clowder tumble in the sun, I overheard the adults in the room ruminating that it wouldn't be long before all of the cats had wandered off and we should probably consider sprinkling a box of mothballs in the bushes before the next set of pests moved in. My pleading eight-year-old eyes turned to each grown up in turn, looking for weakness of will that might somehow result in my acquisition of a pet before they aged out of my grandparents' garden. A firm no, an exasperated head shake, a “don't even ask..” But bless him, my father, well into his sixties at the time and perhaps not at the peak of his physical prime, stood up and slid the sliding glass door open, startling Mama cat who dove into the thicket, teenaged kittens in hot pursuit. Dad stood as a Midwesterner does, hands-on-hips, scrutinizing the situation and evaluating all possible escape routes. Without further prompting, he plunged into the elephant-ear thicket and a great cacophony of rustling and squalling carried into the house. Just as my mother began her protests in urgent, as I clenched my fists under my chin in trepidation, he emerged— mottled old hands bloody, Dockers khakis covered with mulch, and clutching a screaming, swatting calico kitten. I called her Wildflower.
Hello! My name is Glenn. Well, that's my pen name. I am here to tell you the story of why I am here today. Throughout the pandemic I have done a lot of things. One of those things is writing. Another of those things is walking my cat, of whom is pictured. But back to the writing thing, I decided that my writing has improved so I should enter some competitions and see just how much I really have improved. Now, that's it. Pretty boring, huh? I could make up a nice story if you would like, but that would be lying so I will not. I think I will tell you all why I am writing in the first place. I write to express my emotions and have a healthy outlet for them. Also pretty boring, but that's okay. I prefer boring to scary anyhow. To change to a more interesting topic, I have a cat. Her name is Honey. I think that she is a Maine Coon, but I cannot be sure because she was a stray. She enjoys walks and the outside. But she does not care for her harness. But she knows that she can go outside if she wears it. She is a very calm cat, and hardly ever runs. She loves napping and the occasional cat tv watching (windows, not actual tv).
At the time of this eBook promotion, a terrible thing is going on. The annual seal slaughter in Canada is in full swing. Thousands of baby seals will be shot or clubbed to death because of their fur. Despite the huge international outcry and protest, and many national bans on import of seal products. If you feel resentment or if this inhumanity disgusts you, please message Justin Trudeau and Canadian authorities. Share this petition. And spread the word about my book, Look for Me Under the Rainbow, and its 67% discount promotion week so we can together sensitize others to the suffering of these beautiful creatures. Thursday, April 22, 2021, 8:00 AM PDT through Thursday, April 29, 2021, 12:00 AM PDT “On an early, misty morning, a ship arrived and disembarked men. All the seals ran away. All, except the young. Unprotected, unaware of the danger, they innocently waited for hu-man beings to approach. A man lifted a club and struck the fragile little head. One, two, three times. Blood spattered the white fur. No cries, no sound. Silent and quick. And then again. One, two, three dull thuds, blood and death. Still, no cries. Only a blank look of surprise and disappointment. . . . Other human beings approached from the opposite side and took the surviving pups in their arms. But the men armed with rifles and clubs snatched the pups from them, bashing their skulls. One, two, three. Blows. Blood. Death. More humans came. They took away those trying to protect the pups with their bodies. Putting them on their ship, they towed it away. The remaining men skinned the bodies and loaded the furs in their ship. Leaving behind the less than two week old pups' corpses, they disappeared into the fog, as suddenly as they arrived. Mary Jane was among the dead pups. Frozen remains of her tiny body eerily lay motionless on the bloodstained ice with other pups killed that day. The day when humans cruelly murdered an entire generation. Wiped out. No pup left alive.” Download your Look for Me Under the Rainbow eBook. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07C7JGMNG/ Thank you. BJ Original post: https://www.bernardjan.com/post/save-the-seals-book-promotion-week
I don't care about the dates and numbers anymore. They have less and less importance as I am growing older. Other things are becoming priorities. But I won't forget the day you left us. I will remember that date as long as there is a spark of sanity left in me. I miss you, Marcel. *** The more I get into the depth of your character and dive into the sea of kindness with which you abound, the harder for me is everything I have done to sin against you. Everything I denied you. Forgive me. Forgive me. It was a beautiful day last week. I think it was Friday. The sun warmed like no other day of the year. There was a pleasant wind, and the scents of flowers and sprouted grass rose from the ground. I thought I would pick fresh green grass for you as soon as it grew a little more. I thought I'd surprise you with this gift. But I will never give it to you, love, and that makes me feel like garbage. If I had known. If I had only sensed—if I had wanted to admit to myself!—you could have tasted the first grass of this spring, no matter how short and unripe its leaves were. But I was a coward and ran from reality! I stole from you the last touch of just-awakened nature, because not even the trees had fully bloomed yet. *** In Memoriam Marcel April 19, 2006–April 19, 2020 A World Without Color, the true story of our last three days together, still lives on Amazon as an eBook and paperback. Waiting for the world to read about you. BJ Original post: https://www.bernardjan.com/post/15-years-without-you
Did you forget what it is like to be a child? Climb on the raft with Ethan, Will, Jason, Derrick, and Sarah, and remind yourself of the careless innocence of the childhood. January River, a literary fiction, coming-of-age, and young adult novel about five friends, one dog and one river carrying a secret, is at a discounted price of only $0.99 on the following days: Monday, March 22, 2021, 8:00 AM PDT through Monday, March 29, 2021, 12:00 AM PDT Read the excerpt and enjoy this rafting adventure! So, the four friends—Will, Ethan, Jason, and Derrick—went out rafting. The boys were charged up even at the mere thought of going down the January River. When Derrick, Jason and Ethan found themselves on the raft, the excitement turned into euphoria. At that moment, trouble loomed. Unforeseen and unexpected, it hit them like a charging tornado. Derrick's sister, Sarah, jumped out of the bushes growing on the riverbank. “Well, well! What do I see here?” She turned with a threatening tone to her several-minutes-older brother. His jaw almost fell to the raft and scraped on it as he couldn't believe his own eyes. “You didn't want to take me with you, did you? Did you think you could sneak out and run away just like that? Hasn't it occurred to you that your baby sister would like to come for a ride too?” “What's that, for Christ's sake?” Jason whispered into Derrick's ear. “I thought you said everything's been taken care of with your sister. You were supposed to get rid of her.” “That was what I thought,” moaned Derrick. “But it seems she tricked us again.” “Well, Der, what do you have to say in your defense?” She approached the water, showing no mercy at all. “What the heck you brats think you're doin'?” Will stood in the water up to his knees, not knowing whether to climb on the raft or move toward Derrick's sister. “Haven't we agreed that just four of us were to go down the river?” “We have, but it seems Derrick messed up,” Jason commented helplessly. “I messed up?! It cost me fifty cents!” All rivers carry their secrets, but not every river keeps its secret forever. Click here for more mystery and romance and download January River eBook at $0.99. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086LJJC8V Please don't forget to leave an honest review and spread the word about this discount. You have the power to influence the future of these five friends. Check out my three other books as well: A World Without Color, Look for Me Under the Rainbow and Cruel Summer. BJ Original post: https://www.bernardjan.com/post/rafting-down-the-january-river-at-a-discounted-price
“What is man, Mom?” “Man's a great mystery. We know not where he comes from, nor where he's going . . .” “This . . . man, is he dangerous?” “Very dangerous, son. You must try never to meet one . . .” “But how can I not meet a man? How do I avoid him?” “You'll sense him coming close. You know, son, man has a special smell. The scent of fear, misfortune and pain. He feeds on it. You'll recognize him by this scent.” My novella, Look for Me Under the Rainbow, about a curious harp seal pup Danny and Helen, an environmentalist and member of a young activist crew of the Rainbow Warriors whose mission is to save animals, has got another international recognition. In March this year, PETA Germany added it in the resources they recommend for activists and organizations in Eastern Europe! That way, Look for Me Under the Rainbow has found itself in the esteemed company of other animal rights books and authors such as The PETA Practical Guide to Animal Rights: Simple Acts of Kindness to Help Animals in Trouble by Ingrid Newkirk, Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism by Melanie Joy, The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy—and Why They Matter by Marc Bekoff, and Change of Heart: What Psychology Can Teach Us About Spreading Social Change by Nick Cooney, to name just a few. PETA Germany was founded at the end of 1993 and is a partner organization of PETA USA, the world's largest animal rights organization with over six and a half million supporters. Their goal is to help every animal have a better life. They are committed to uncovering animal cruelty, educating the public and teaching them a mindful and respectful way of life. PETA acts in the tradition of social liberation movements and campaigns for the end of speciesism. They stand for the abolition of mistreatment, discrimination and exploitation of all animals and fight for the establishment of their rights. Thank you, PETA Germany, for this honor and recognition! Click here for PETA Germany's Activist Network in Eastern Europe Resources. https://www.peta.de/aktiv/peta-germanys-activist-network-eastern-europe-ressources/ BJ Original post: https://www.bernardjan.com/post/look-for-me-under-the-rainbow-in-peta-germany-s-book-resources
Of the three books I will have at a discounted price this year, I am opening the new season with Look for Me Under the Rainbow. Look for Me Under the Rainbow is a YA and literary fiction novella about the harp seal pup Danny and the group of activists and environmentalists who are trying to save him before the seal hunt begins. You can get it as eBook on Amazon at a 67% discount price. Tuesday, February 9, 2021, 8:00 AM PST through Tuesday, February 16, 2021, 12:00 AM PST Look for Me Under the Rainbow excerpt: “What is Greenland, Mom?” “It's the place your ancestors came from, Danny.” She smiled gently at Jon hanging on her every word. “Your grandfathers and grandmothers, your father, me, even Jon and you.” “How can I be from Greenland when I was born here?” “I was born here, too, and so was your father, on these same ice floes.” “Here on these ice floes?” Jon's eyes went wide. “No, Jon, it's just a way of putting it. We always return to this part of the world, but the group never stays on the same ice floe twice.” “Why?” “Because that's impossible. Even if we wanted to, we wouldn't be able to find the exact ice floes. They change in time, just as we do. The old ones disappear, new ones are born, some break and turn into several small ice floes, and even those that remain unchanged are not the same. Everything changes in a special way. Besides, it wouldn't be safe to stay al-ways at the same place.” “Why wouldn't it be safe?” asked Danny. To read the entire story, download your eBook here for only $0.99! https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07C7JGMNG/ Though written for younger readers, Look for Me Under the Rainbow will appeal to anyone who cherishes our beautiful planet and wishes to protect its treasures. Thank you for reading Look for Me Under the Rainbow and for leaving an honest review on Amazon and Goodreads. I love to hear your thoughts about my stories. Please spread a message about this discount and don't forget to check out my two other books, A World Without Color and January River, which you can also get as eBook and paperback. BJ Original blog post: https://www.bernardjan.com/post/my-first-discount-in-2021
This is the last opportunity to download my novel January River is at a 67% discount price on Amazon! Sunday, December 20, 2020, 8:00 AM PST through Sunday, December 27, 2020, 12:00 AM PST January River is a beautiful gift for everyone who loves a nice literature. This coming-of-age literary fiction story about five friends, one dog and one river carrying a secret has all the elements, mystery and romance included, to keep you entertained and warm around the heart. Please check out some acclaims for January River from happy and satisfied readers: “Wow, a very professionally written coming-of-age literary fictional book. It was quite easy for me to read/follow from start/finish & never a dull moment . . . Lots of exciting scenarios, with several twists/turns & a great set of unique characters & facts to keep track of.”—Tony Parsons, Amazon and Goodreads “Author Bernard Jan has crafted a unique work of fiction quite unlike anything else I've ever read. The blend of genres woven into this highly literary piece delivers emotional realism, dark secretive thriller moments, and a deep and meaningful discussion of our connection to the natural world, all at once.”—K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite “The story has a variety of characters, both good and bad, that make this book complete. The story will also hit on a variety of emotions at various points and I found myself empathizing with different characters at different points.”—Leslie, StoreyBook Reviews Download January River at $0.99 bargain price on Amazon here and feed your Kindle! https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086LJJC8V Please spread the word about this discount and make someone else happy too. And don't forget to check out my two other books A World Without Color and Look for Me Under the Rainbow. All rivers carry their secrets, but not every river keeps its secret forever. Thank you and my very best wishes for the happier and less stressful future to all of us! BJ Original blog post https://www.bernardjan.com/post/the-last-discount-for-january-river-in-2020
The story of the little seal Danny got its book trailer! Two authors with the same cause joined forces and realized collaboration which resulted in the book trailer for the young adult and literary fiction novella Look for Me Under the Rainbow by Bernard Jan. Danny is a curious harp seal pup with soft white fur and black innocent eyes. Helen is an environmentalist, and a Rainbow Warrior activist. Her mission is to save animals. As winter turns into spring, a new generation of seal pups comes to life. A few weeks later, the killing begins. Against a spectacular backdrop of ice and snow, Helen prepares to look horrific human cruelty in the face. In the race against time and clubs, will Helen save Danny before the hunt begins and the ice turns red? Some of the praises for Look for Me Under the Rainbow on Amazon and Goodreads: Intense. A real eye-opener. Memorable. Gripping. Thought provoking. Amazing. Captivating. Honest. Poetic. An extraordinary story. Emotional. Fantastic writing. Profound. Heartbreaking. Realistic. Outstanding! A must read! A call to action. Watch the Look for Me Under the Rainbow book trailer by Dean Cole on YouTube. Please share! https://bit.ly/3lRbCmP Bernard Jan is a pen name of an environmental and animal rights advocate and vegan. He is the author of seven books published in Croatian, a poet and an amateur photographer. Bernard Jan self-published three of his books, A World Without Color, Look for Me Under the Rainbow, and January River, in English on Amazon. In each of these stories, animals play an important role, carrying the message of compassion, empathy, tolerance. Dean Cole is the writer of LGBTQ fiction, a vegan and animal rights advocate, video editor and book cover designer. He is the author of Look for Me Under the Rainbow book trailer and the trailers of his two books HIS BOY: A Romantic Comedy and Chasing Ghosts (The Quentin Strange Mysteries Book 1). Bernard Jan thanks Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, People for The Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Harpseals.org, Greenpeace, Animal Friends Croatia, and many other groups and individuals for the inspiration and their contribution to the fight for the harp seals in Canada and other animals worldwide. Special thanks and credits go to People for The Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society for the beautiful footage of the harp seal pups provided for this book trailer. Sometimes all you need is a big heart and burning desire. To change the world. BJ Look for Me Under the Rainbow trailer on YouTube https://bit.ly/3lRbCmP Look for Me Under the Rainbow at Amazon https://amzn.to/37ETGqB Original blog post https://www.bernardjan.com/post/look-for-me-under-the-rainbow-trailer
I hope you already got to read and review my YA novella about the harp seal pup Danny and the group of activists and environmentalists trying to save him from the hands of greedy humans. In case you didn't, this is the last opportunity to get Look for Me Under the Rainbow at a 67% discount price this year! Sunday, November 15, 2020, 8:00 AM PST through Sunday, November 22, 2020, 12:00 AM PS Please read an excerpt to get a better feeling of this beautiful, gentle and touching story. * * * Too late, Danny realized he did not have time nor strength enough to reach his mother for protection. With tears in his eyes, he watched her blurred shape stumbling slowly closer to him and tried to call out. But he could not, his throat felt choked. He braced himself for what was coming. Trying not to turn away, he looked the human in the eyes, at least he thought those were the eyes of this bizarre creature. He had learned the lesson well, as everything else his mother taught him, and now he had to apply his knowledge in real life whether he liked it or not. Staring, he stood motionless even when he heard noises behind him. In the corner of his field of vision, he noticed his mother between him and the human being. She growled dangerously even when the thing covering the creature's head fell off as it slipped onto the ice in its effort to go around his mother. Danny's fear disappeared, when he saw something almost un-believable. Lovely golden hair, soft as the finest fur, fell in waves down the red buttoned-up parka. Danny thought it must be human fur. He couldn't stop gazing at the sea colored eyes, set in the perfectly carved features of her face. They caressed him with pleasant warmth and kindness. Only red lips, the tip of the nose and rosy cheeks stood in contrast to the harmony and beauty of the face. When she sprayed his fur and spoke words he did not understand, Danny was not afraid. At the same time, she held his mother at a safe distance, not allowing her to come closer. He could do nothing but stare at those eyes, the incredible blue eyes that came from an unknown world. Enchanted, he looked at his own image reflected in them while she gently patted his head, whispering tenderly. She stood up, folded her hair back under the hood, smiled at him and started back to the ship from which she had come and scared the wits out of him. And Danny still looked at her, transfixed. His mother's tears, falling like warm and silent drops on his face, returned him to reality. * * * If you want to read the whole story, download your copy here for only $0.99! Look for Me Under the Rainbow is primarily read by younger readers, but it is a story for everyone, especially the readers who cherish our beautiful planet and wish to protect its treasures. Thank you for reading Look for Me Under the Rainbow and leaving an honest review on Amazon and Goodreads. Your honest reviews are most appreciated and welcome, so thank you for your time and effort to write a few lines about my book. Thank you also for spreading the message. Please don't forget to check out my two other books, A World Without Color and January River, which you can also get as eBook and paperback. All three books can be nice gifts your beloved ones will appreciate. Download Look for Me Under the Rainbow: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07C7JGMNG/ BJ Original post: https://www.bernardjan.com/post/the-last-discount-for-look-for-me-under-the-rainbow-in-2020
It's the peak of the summer so I am bringing you some refreshment straight from the Canadian glaciers to cool you down. Look for Me Under the Rainbow is at a 67% summer discount! Tuesday, August 18, 2020, 8:00 AM PDT through Tuesday, August 25, 2020, 12:00 AM PDT The whole week the story of Danny, a curious harp seal pup with soft white fur and black innocent eyes, his family, and Helen, an environmentalist and member of a young activist crew of the Rainbow Warriors whose mission is to save animals, is discounted on Amazon. Curious to download your copy? You can do it here https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07C7JGMNG/. “Man. . . . Man's a great mystery. We know not where he comes from, nor where he's going. Elusive, like a shadow, he leaves wasteland in his wake. Wasteland and destruction.” “This . . . man, is he dangerous?” “Very dangerous, son. More than anything you can imagine or will ever see in your life. You must try never to meet one. If you do come across man but it's too late to run, be brave. Wait for him. Whatever happens, never, ever turn your back on him. Look him straight in the eye. It's the only way you might save your life. That's the moment when he's most vulnerable and won't harm you. Human beings attack on the sly, behind your back.” “But how can I not meet a man? How do I avoid him?” the pup said, his tone hopeless. “You'll sense him coming. You know, son, man has a special smell. The scent of fear, misfortune, and pain. He feeds on it. You'll recognize him by this scent.” Although Look for Me Under the Rainbow is listed in a program for elementary schools in Croatia as a reading of choice for seventh graders, it is a story for everyone, especially the readers who cherish our beautiful planet and wish to protect its treasures. Thank you for reading Look for Me Under the Rainbow and writing an honest review on Amazon and Goodreads. Thank you for spreading the message. My eBook A World Without Color is at a permanent price of $0.99, while you can download my new novel January River as an eBook for $2.99. BJ Original post: https://www.bernardjan.com/post/look-for-me-under-the-rainbow-summer-discount
What a bliss is this Quarantine! Where the days smoothly pass amidst the undecided culture of following a routine, where the bright and clear mornings no more invite a man's engine to hustle betwixt the race of transportation and time in order to reach his destined workplace; a quarantine, where there is a lessening worry for morrow and a diminished criteria to borrow what a man has been dwelling upon so far, an another man's company, assistance and bodily affection for now one has learned to welcome ‘social distancing' with open arms and dearly kissed his ‘self-isolation'. A tint of wonder reflects in those thirsty eyes when they instinctively gaze at the sky that has never been as pollution free as it seems during the current pandemic. Various planned and expensive attempts to procure the fresh water of river Ganges never succeeded inspite all possible human efforts, for all it silently asked the humans was to truly respect the aspect of their holy river; all it ever wanted was to replenish in its own natural way while humans were busy in decorating it with their religious and industrial activities. The undisturbed marine habitat has provided a perfect condition for olive ridley turtles to lay eggs in Odisha's beach. With the factories and industries being shut, with the large number of vehicles being parked outside the respective owner's home and with the minimal artificial interference in the nature, birds and animals are fortunately tasting the syrup of freedom. Sparrows have returned in the verandas, peacocks are again rejoicing with their wide feathers on a rainy day and a Malabar civet, which is a critically endangered animal, was spotted walking on the road in Kerala. Does it not feels like an unprescribed duration of undeserved holidays, where one can casually find their precious selves inclined towards the unread books, that they have always wanted to lay hands on, just to recite the favourite paragraphs to their parents before bed. Those awaited head-massage therapies in grandmother's lap, that never got fulfilled due to lack of time or the entire family playing the board games around the centre table now no more seem to be a mere dream. It is now, the time to unravel those folded sheets of paper in which the roughly crafted sketch of a ‘happy family' was swiftly drawn in order to someday be painted on the canvas. It is the hour to try the recipe of those favourite dishes that have always been tasted with friends in those hyped cafes of the city or treating the family with a handmade ‘blueberry cheesecake', until our dear siblings finally utter in disagreement complaining about its weird taste, suitable to but only your own self. It is that precious time in life when the family values are being rediscovered. Not only a sense of reconnection is overlapping the dead ideas confined to the separate rooms of family members but an essence of sharing the household tasks and a deeper level of discussions are taking place, that are playing a major role in enhancing the bond. Most of the time is being spent together by laying back comfortably on sofas, all the heads being turned in the same direction and keenly watching the most indulging series on Netflix or rediscovering the cultural values by watching Ramayana and Mahabharata episodes. It appears like all the so called ‘generation gap' imbibed within our minds, that has been pretended to exist since the day mobile phones took the place of a companion, never really subsisted in the real sense. A busy life it has been, has it not? All the chances that individuals have strived to grab on their professional sphere, the possibilities of aiming to reach infinite goals that have kept the souls awake during the endless nights and the unwanted stress that has always hung with pride on the exhausted shoulders, can humans dare to put it at halt, all at once? Maybe it would not cost a lifetime to once sit and appreciate the beauty of solitude and observe the clear skyline filled with stars instead of desperately aiming towards becoming one. Maybe it is recommendable to press that pause button imbibed on the body's functioning system and cease to treat life like a race and relationships, like they are losing the real trace. Therefore, so close lies this opportunity that one never imagined to be a part of but also the one you can make the most of, just by being who you have since a long time have ceased to be. Covid'19 has brought a serious thrill of insanity in human lives and nature in a form of role reversal, such that it has caged the rational beings, limiting them to their comfort zone, confined to the walls of their home. Nature has finally been granted a precious time to rejuvenate, which has brought animals back to their natural habitat and given them a chance to breathe.
Seven years ago, aged 10, I almost lost my life. Camped in Khwai campground in the North of Botswana, I was walking back from the bathroom block, lagging several steps behind my family. Reaching the edge of the campsite, I happened to look round and caught sight of a dark shape crouched low to the ground mere metres behind. What ensued was a sequence of events that I will never forget. “I think there's something behind me,” I said. My brother Kieran turned round from several metres ahead and shone his torch in the direction of my gaze. There, illuminated by the pale beam was a young leopard crouched stalking close to the ground, frozen, it's eyes locked in mine. There was a long pause, then the contact was broken and the leopard padded off. My worried parents hastily split myself and my two siblings across our two tents, but the leopard kept returning. First under the car, then circling the fire as my father stood watch with a spade and a wine bottle. Next morning, there was a post up on a prominent 4WD forum describing the encounter as a warning for others. Gradually the comments rolled in, piling up into a thread some four pages long: heated discussion on how to treat this problem leopard, which would most likely be killed; personal anecdotes from others with similar experiences; and, amidst it all a notable section on what should be done about the problem child (me). To clarify, my actions were not unduly brash. In the normal state of things, a leopard would almost never stalk a human- even a child such as myself. Most likely, it was a young animal that had been fed- directly or indirectly- by campers, and so grown to associate humans with food. Entirely the humans' fault, of course, but as a result this leopard had become a threat to people. Relocation would require darting it with tranquilizer to capture it: costly, dangerous to both the people and the leopard, with the added complication that anywhere it were moved to would likely be another leopard's territory. It would be a truly rare authority that took such an option. This animal failed to take my life, and paid the ultimate price- it's a strange sort of debt I feel, that I will never repay. It wasn't my fault, nor that of the leopard or any single human that can shoulder the blame. I see it as a symptom of our current relationship with nature- a relationship I have devoted my life to changing. We are the product of our environment, but we also shape it.
It was spring, and that meant several things. Firstly, it meant that the dares and threats to push other family members in the pool- still unpleasantly cold- had begun. It also meant that the season of family birthdays was in full swing; a succession in which, much to my dismay, I was the last. But most importantly of all it meant that my faithful friends the insects had returned in all their glory to the garden, and so every spare afternoon I could find I would be down in those mosquito-ridden, overgrown paths with my camera. They were exciting times. Beyond our lawn lay the pool, shimmering in the afternoon light. And beyond that, further still, was the garden proper: an exotic collection of mismatched plants and shrubs, crowned in the centre by a fig tree perched upon a large flat rock. Beside this ran a narrow path snaking its way to the back of the garden before it petered out into nothingness. I would spend hours down here, crouched peering into the greenery or observing closely as an ant tottered its way around the edge of a leaf on the hunt for food. Always I was surrounded by the whine of mosquitoes, caught between the need for utter stillness and swatting at these pests. And then there were the breakthroughs- those exciting moments in which I would stumble across something truly spectacular. It might be a large praying mantis, a lacework green moth, or an ant freshly ensnared in a spider's web. The nature of the finding itself mattered little. It was simply the pure joy of having discovered something new, something which I had all to myself… almost. One afternoon, I was happily snapping away when I became aware of my mother poised on the garden steps behind me. It was highly unusual of her not to have said anything in greeting, so it was with no small amount of confusion that I broke my concentration and turned to face her. Silence. Stood feet ajar with a cumbersome telephoto lens sighted across at nearby tree, she was certainly quite the picture. I tried to peer up to see what it was she had found, without success. After what seemed like an age, she straightened up and glanced down at my diminutive form peering up at her. She smiled, walking down to my level. “So this is where you spend all you time, is it?” As a conversation starter, I thought this could do with a little improvement, so chose not to respond. “There was a pretty interesting cricket up in the canopy there, but it disappeared, so I took some nice photos of the leaves.” Okay, perhaps I should have spoken first off. “They aren't crickets, they're katydids. And there are plenty more down here (I paused to indicate a few) if you want. But really your chances of getting a decent photo with that lens are pretty slim.” Sometimes it's hard for parents to be perfect.
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