07 March, 2011

It Started with a Story

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 PantheraHis 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!

For pictures of my daughter’s beautiful and magic tigers and a project to keep the Tigers Forever… click on the links.

You can find the Panthera Blog here.  









Belinda said...

This was fascinating, TE. I could sense his love for the jaguars in his voice. I love how his genuine desire to help them led him back to working with people which reminded me that we won't let anything get in our way once we commit to our life's work. I also really enjoy the sound of his voice; it's both engaging and calming.

Thanks for introducing the Moth here on your blog!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi TE .. I think I've heard of The Moth before .. and I'd love to have the luxury of just sitting and listening .. one day! Delighted to hear of your enjoyment together .. thanks for reminding me of the good that so many do for others ..

All the best - Hilary

giulietta nardone said...

Hi TE,

I'm going to check these storytellers out. Folks used to spend much of their free time sitting in circles sharing stories instead of alone staring at the TV.

Glad your daughter likes to hold real books in her hands.

My home sounds like yours. Books everywhere and I've read most of them.

I will listen to Man and the Beast. Thank you for mentioning these.

As you know, I'm a cat lover, too. Amazing creatures with much to teach us.

Take care! You always have something wonderful to share. Giulietta

Sara said...

TE -- I agree with the other comments about The Moth.

My house also looks like yours. I was so tempted to get a Kindle, but I like seeing the book covers and, like your daughter, touching the pages -- the texture and feel of each page, the font used, how the story is broken into chapters and the wonderful smell of books.

Thanks for sharing this. I will check out the Panthera site:~)