Growing up in Africa on the outskirts of Zimbabwe’s capital, the wilderness virtually on our doorstep, I was privileged enough to appreciate nature and non-humans from a very unique perspective.
I remember on a particular trip into the bush, my older sister and brother and I were staying in one thatched hut (a.k.a. “chalet”) with semi-open sides, and my parents in another, 50 or so meters away.
One night, a pride of lions decided to prowl through the camp and sniff around.
They circled our chalet several times, coming in so close we could see their paws padding on the dry red dirt just below the thatched roof.
Needless to say I was terrified.
We had to keep still, silent, not letting fear get the better of us – tempted to run screaming to the grown-ups hut – so close but yet so far.
The lions didn’t seem angry or hungry, just curious.
We could feel their powerful voices softly grunting through the quivering air as they moved around us – again and again and again.
After a few minutes that felt like hours, they left us in peace and moved off to explore their lands elsewhere. I say “their lands” because that’s exactly what it was. It was their territory we were humbly visiting, interacting with the environment and its abundant life with respectful appreciation.
Being brought up with such awareness and awe at the delicacy and majesty of nature led me to be the advocate for animals I am today.
We all share one home.
Not divided by species but united by our abilities to feel, to love, and a desire to simply live.