Walking in my house is somewhat like entering a small, mom and pop, bookstore; there are books everywhere. And in everywhere, I mean everywhere as they occupy any flat space we can find. The piles, boxes and shelves subtly proclaim “A Reader lives here.” As I watch the books reproducing faster than cats or rabbits, I offer my daughter (time and time again) an e-reader – AKA, an unlimited electronic bookshelve. She declines the offer each time as she loves a book in her hand, turning paper pages, and the sight of the type on the written page.
Her love of books isn’t just about the books though; the written story, that is. She loves the audio versions of print books. She loves storytellers!
This winter, the two of us have found delight in the storytellers and their tales we have found on podcasts – The New Yorker fiction, Selected Shorts, and The Moth.
One night we gathered on the bed and settled in for a storytelling session with The Moth. Within minutes we lost track of time, absorbed completely in the story being told, the picture unfolding within each of our imaginations. She sat, chin propped on hands, curled in blanket, absorbing the words and images. I sat next to her, crocheting, completely unaware of the stitches or the work of my hands. The words of the speaker sending chills through my body and goose bumps over my skin. The same story found me sitting at my computer next day researching the speaker, his foundation, and The Moth itself.
Who had our rapt attention?
Alan Rabinowitz –of Panthera. His story is both poignant and beautiful. I found myself thinking – I want to work with him; I want to help! (But of course, I want to work for The Moth too and help save the art of storytelling… and I am genuine about both desires)
My daughter and I share a house with cats, so my being drawn to a story of a man and jaguars and big cats and something magic that happened probably isn’t surprising to many. My daughter shares my love of cats (of all sizes.) She really saw her first tiger when she was 8 months old. I don’t mean that she hadn’t seen a tiger before, but she really “saw” the tiger at that point. She thought the massive cat was the greatest piece of magic on earth – bursting into joyful laughter and squeals of delight as she watched him, not wanting to leave his presence. If my daughter grows up to work with animals, of any size, I will not be surprised.
The magic of Rabinowitz’ story goes beyond the connection he made with jaguars – It revolves around what a child, with a severe speaking challenge was able to do… It is the story of how one person, just one, can make a difference. And he has made a difference for big cats, ecosystems, and communities. Rabinowitz continues to educate, discover, and provide refuge for big cats.
Rather than attempt to tell the story of this man and his journey, I urge you to hear his story in his own words and voice; Man and Beast.
We each have stories to tell. Some of us get caught in the stories of our lives using them as a means of holding us back or reminding us why we are where we are. This story, Alan’s story, is one that blows those theories that we tell ourselves away. One man, one woman, one child… each of us can make a difference!
Rabinowitz now works with many Big Cats, Please check them out!
You can find the Panthera Blog here.