Scene: KUDUS RUS (http://www.kudusrus.co.za/) – a game reserve in the northwestern province of South Africa, with Isabel Vidal and Cremilde Geddes, friends from Johannesburg; and Sylvia Hebert, my friend from Houston.
When we arrived for a 2-day retreat into the African bush, always healing for me, we were told our options – one of which was walking through the bush with lions. It seemed like an adventure. I love adventure.
Arnay Small, the resident lion-lover, gave us the do’s and don’ts. We were encouraged to pet these big carnivores. Very tentatively, I approached the closest one, who had plopped on the ground, and stroked his back, got braver, stroked under the chin. They are very playful by nature, being about a year old. BUT they weigh about 350 pounds – with claws – and fangs, and could wipe me out in a nanosecond – on purpose or by accident.
It took a bit of time to balance the very real fact that these were wild animals with the fact that they were used to humans. The wild part could take over at any point. The trick was to strike a balance between heightened awareness and calmness of spirit. Like always, really.
I’d do it again … and again!