For the first time in my life I felt completely helpless. That “oh no”, there is nowhere to hide feeling.
I was staring straight into the fiery eyes of a tiger with an instinctual shut down, no fight, no flight feeling. He broadened his shoulders, clenched his razor sharp claws around the log he was perched upon, perhaps in preparation for a death imparting pounce. I never knew ferocious animals had the capability of shooting paralyzing laser beams from their eyes. So frightening, they breed a factor of intimidation that enforces complete surrender of their prey.
I was utterly helpless.
Just as my soul was departing my body and transcending to the skies above, my girlfriend tugged on my arm, capturing my inhibition and sucking my soul right back into its bodily fortress. “Lets go look at the kangaroos.”
We were at the zoo.
Separated by a fence, the tiger still managed to stir up my primitive evolutionary response to danger. Frozen in my boots and fascinated by its shear elegance, I noticed the tiger beheld a balance of power and grace; when it was staring deep into my eyes it demanded respect.
And respect is what it got.
I often find myself disappointed with the world we live in today. Wild tigers are taking their last breaths in the Himalayas of southeastern Asia, and human population is bolstering to such a global presence that we are pushing out all of the fascinating species that once made our ancestors cling to the tree tops. We can lurk under the moonlight and there is no longer the threat of an animal predator. This day and age the real threats are sexual predators, gangsters, thugs, and lowlife scumbags. Personally, I’d much rather die at the expense of a hungry tiger that a cocaine craving piece of shit.
Mankind is no longer vulnerable within the animal kingdom! Now I know some of you might pull up statistics like- “How many people get trampled by elephants in the Congo per year“, or an article of an exotic animal owner getting killed by his pet lion; but thats not what I’m talking about.
The feeling I got staring into the eye of the tiger was a feeling of adventure. That was adrenaline.
Humans are a species that have recently separated themselves from nature. We’ve turned ourselves indoors and never look to the stars anymore. As we fill our cities with concrete and disinfect the world around us, we edge further and further away from the creatures that we once were. I light up inside when I see the ocean, when I think about the rolling prairies or camel treks across the desert; this world of comfort and assuredness captivates my craving for something unknown.
It is a natural tendency — we always want more. You could argue that humans have conquered the world. But the truth is, we’ll never be satisfied. We’ll always be hungry for more. We can set our goals on castles in the sky or a digital globe but we can’t forget who we truly are.
And what we truly are is wild at heart.