When Timmy was first born into the world it was full of magic. His mother, Rocious loved him in an eternal and expansiveness way with certainty, like the certainty of the eye of the storm. The eye of the storm knows its meaning and purpose, like a rock that falls down into a cave trapping the victim beneath it. Their world was sublime and contained powerful magic that was alive like a beating heart. Yet there were events that comprised its inelegance, the unpredictable thunder storms, the sudden deaths of little critters, and the swarming flies that flew in small geometric patterns, but his world provided him with all he needed. The earth where Timmy roamed was like a giant trough to a starving pig, and he ate from it feeling powerful and carefree.
Everything in that world belonged there because it had order, meaning, and purpose. It was a spiritual place and like all spiritual places it had rhythm, patterns made up from the waves of loss, trauma, joy, celebration, conflict, and peace. Like watching an orchestrated symphony Timmy witnessed the dawning of the sun and moon, listened intently to the whispers circling just above the tiny glimmer waves on the lake. He tried with earnest every day to follow the light that danced like break dancers on top of the waves, jerking up from one spot to another and then following the light as it swirled up into the trees. In the morning, the sun arose from the sky and began its sultry dance, moving across the sky with great intention, speaking his name, it showered the land with baptismal sun rays. Trees swayed in unison it seemed, moving together from left to right like singers in a Baptist choir and the earth gently yielded its mass with deference and respect as he made his journey. In the evening, the glow of the moon ever so gently stroked his naïve heart. The rays came to greet his heart like a lover’s kiss, soft, comforting, like a kiss one’s loved one plants on your cheek just before you go to sleep. Upon his first awakening he marveled at the beep-beep crackling sounds performed by the beetles and crickets, everywhere his thick and muscular neck turned he saw magic. Slivers of fresh dew grass tickled his paws and the just born branches massaged his body as he glided through the woods. To our human eyes we would see wilderness, chaos, and unyieldiness, but for Tigers like him, this is their heaven and earth.
His mother was different than her son, altered by her experiences in the earth people world, she had known the cruelties of living. Around her neck she wore a broken tag on her collar that read, “rocious”. Her name in a former life was “Ferocious” as she was a tiger in a traveling circus. Like other tigers before her she was made to jump through rings of fire, growl with outstretched fangs, and trained to perform other limited acts of nothing to appease crowds of dying onlookers. Everyone who lived in the mountains, the goats, the birds, and the trees, just called her Rocious because this is what the tag she wore with resigned acceptance read.
Rocious was long and strong, and had lived long enough for the cruel images and smells of her earlier life to slowly fade. She only had vague memories of the male lion that raped her and gave her Timmy. After the rape, she killed the male lion and made her escape into the woods. Her feelings of the rapist softened because Timmy brought her great joy. His life reminded her of her life in India before she was captured.
He and his mother would walk across the steamy ground listening to the cracking of twigs beneath their commanding paws, the cracking sound was blended with sounds of the slight bending of dying bark, and the crackling of newly fallen leaves. One day as they made their way through the deep woods toward the running brook, Timmy met his first and only true friend. While sipping at the dancing brook Timmy glanced up and saw Mimi. Mimi was tiny but not inconsequential, her fur made of soft velvety stuff and of course, she had large soulful eyes. Though Mimi didn’t notice the world the way Timmy did because she lived in constant fear, always having to stretch her head upward after every snap or every whistle of the telepathic wind. Being a deer was difficult, not quite a horse, not really a dog, and people always wanting to kill you for sport or sometimes for food. Her life was full of worry, having to learn something new everyday and to grieve everyday for all of the deaths in her herd family. She grew to understand and yet loath the large boom of the gun. Like a quick gag reflex, once she heard the gun, she would spring off toward the bushes and run from the sound of death. The only way that she knew that someone was killed was because she would never see them again. That was death to her, a gun’s loud boom and then holding on to the last memory of the deer she would never see again. She lived in constant fear of the earth people, the men and sometimes children and women, who walked with cautious steps of hatred carrying a long booming metal. She learned how to push her tiny righteous hooves against the earth to stretch the muscles in her legs to hop and then later to turn that hopping into a sprint so she could run.
On that day at the cleansing brook while standing very still with her mom, Zoe, Mimi caught the eye of Timmy. Timmy and Mimi stared at each other for an eternity but in actuality it was only one fifth of a second. Timmy’s mom, Rocious smelled the two deers and slowly turned her head toward them. She let out a small, prerehearsed uneventful sound that communicated to Timmy to keep looking at the little deer. In a flash, Rocious pushed her formidable claws into the half wet soil that lay between the rock and the rolling water and commenced her energy to attack the larger deer. She leaped into the air, with her black-white-orange stripes painting a blurry tapestry moving swiftly against the branches and wilderness. Her muscles heaving her heavy body through the air as if it was the wind, while her tongue salivated readying itself for the taste of deer blood. Zoe looked with quizzical wonderment, not fear because she knew the tiger would not catch her. Deers, like all of us, know the moment of our death and Zoe knew that this moment would not be that moment. This would be a thwarted tiger chase, and she did all that she could not to chuckle at the futility of the tiger. Rocious leaped using what she knew as her wisdom, the wisdom that all of us have given to us from our ancestors and the wind, the instructions to always kill the mother first, for in killing the mother the baby deer would be lost and confused and run back to the deer herd. This was the way Tigers survived by eating Deer.
In the moment of the first pounce, Mimi’s mother, Zoe, had previously instructed her baby girl to run toward Timmy, while she, as she planned so many times before with her baby doe, would climb with lightening speed backward up into the mountain around the other side and would meet her daughter at the far glen just before the waterfall.
Rocious broke every branch limb that threatened to slow her pace, and dug her strong claws into the earth’s bank and through every drop of brook water, pushing the sandy wet earth away as she moved toward Zoe. Zoe watched as Rocious moved, with surety, aggression, and stealth, she tapped her hoof two times and Mimi took off just as the hoof tapped two. Timmy kept looking straight into Mimi’s eyes and his heart was soft and supple, transfixed by the beautiful and light spirit of Mimi.
Meanwhile, Zoe turned and high tailed it up the mountain, skiing up the mountain, first left then right then down and back and up. Rocious didn’t stand a chance and stumbled as the weight of her body felt the heavy weight of upward movement, the watery sand became too heavy coagulated between the fingers of her paws, and the tiny little rocks underneath the water too jagged for the tiger to maneuver. Just as Mimi reached Timmy she soared over his head, Timmy crouched down in fear as if he was bowing before a king. Mimi sprinted into the deep bush on the other side of the brook, making her way down to the glen to meet her mother. Rocious returned thwarted and slightly discombobulated and then returned to sipping the clear cleansing spring water. Timmy smiled, a private internal smile as he drank alongside with his mother, he slowly glanced up catching the sight of Mimi one last time before the next time.
The drink at the brook was the last time that Timmy saw his mother. Rocious got separated from Timmy shortly thereafter and died a slow and excruciating death after her leg got caught by a falling rock in a cave. Timmy searched for days and months, howling as loud as he could, loud painful and longing cries. He asked the trees, the sun, and the wind to help him but no one could answer him. As fall quickly turned into winter, he had to look with great care and caution because of the earth people with booming metal, and by the time winter came he could look no further and so he did what he knew what to do, he returned to their lair. He sat alone, frightened and afraid having lost his dear mother, the only other tiger he had ever known, he watched the snowflakes drift toward him as if they were mocking his sadness. One would land on his nose then quickly disappear and then its cousin would fall into his eyes. The coldness of the snowflake excited him and annoyed him all at once. He could feel the cold uninviting air as it moved through his lungs, drying out every moisture he had preserved within. He stared out into the growing whiteness, watching the charcoal gray sky turn into dark blue velvet as night slivered into his lonely soul. He howled for his mother, crying out to the moon until all he could hear were the echoes of his pain rushing back from the moon and back into his heart.
He found little red berries to eat between his fast and sudden sleeps, and when he had the strength he would capture and feast on a rabbit or chipmunk, and these critters saved him supporting his life until spring. Spring came and the newness of summer sprung into his life and then fall beckoned winter again. The seasons came and went and as they did he grew stronger and the pain of loss melted away, not fully, but he learned through the march of the seasons how to become the tiger he was meant to be. The world was still magical but tarnished now like a beaten down boot that is left on the side of the road lost from the foot of the weary and disenchanted soldier.
One morning as winter was trying to crawl into spring he heard an unfamiliar sound and before he knew it he was running for his life as two earth people with booming metal were shooting hard and explosive things at him. One sharp thing hit him just under his chest right above his belly. He ran down to the brook, past the glen, and found the cave underneath the waterfall. He stood stoically still like a statue and the only sound that was heard were the intermittment dripping of tiger blood onto the cold cave floor. Their whispers were unfamiliar to him but he could hear clips of their funny speech, one would say something than the other would say “Shhhh” and then he would hear cautious and careful footsteps. He could hear the Shhs and the footsteps moving away from him, he had lost them, but he never forgot the sound and smell of earth people. During his desperate race for his life he stumbled upon Zoe and Mimi as they scattered in all the excitement too. Mimi stopped and caught Timmy’s eyes, and they both felt a warm, soothing closeness that friends do when meeting once again. Timmy layed down while holding the loving memory of Mimi in his mind while feeling the small trickling of blood seep out.
Mimi had grown into a refined, gifted, and talented deer, in the earth people world we might think of a professor at Harvard, she was also a spirit and medicine healer. In the deer world, Mimi was a legend, whenever bucks wanted their deer boys to learn the ways of brave men they brought them to Mimi. Whenever deers who were gay needed understanding and life wisdom Mimi would embrace them with love and shower them with compassion. Mimi was as close to a saint or God like figure that deers could know. She knew of her place in the world and as she aged she too began to see the magic in the world. She taught the does everything they needed to know about living in the wilderness. She taught them how to listen to the birds, how to lick the fresh dew from the grass tops and the leaves, she taught them about the different types of grasses and what herbs could help which ailments. She taught deer, both young and old how to understand the hatred and love of earth people. She taught the deer, what human words and smells meant, in a nutshell, she was a genius deer, having learned under her mother’s tutelage. Through Mimi’s love and wisdom her herd had grown from 6 to 25 in three short years.
Mimi could smell the blood of her friend and realized that Timmy needed her. Pondering what to do, she took a long and individual sojourn up to the mountain and spoke to the wind and moon. After meditating and getting part of the answer, she knew what she needed to do. She made her way down the mountain, past the glen and then stood patiently just beneath the waterfall and called out to Timmy. Timmy stirred from his sleep barely noticing the pool of burgundy blood he was laying in, he snorted a quick hello knowing instinctively that Mimi had come to help him. Meanwhile Mimi was busy chewing medicinal herbs, gauging her stomach so that it was full of the numbing and healing herbs, and then slowly made her way up the mountain across the ledge and past the falling water into the cave. Timmy’s eyes widened with delight feeling no pain and knowing that the moon and wind had sent Mimi to his rescue. He layed down and exposed the side of his body where the running blood was coming out now with a more determined blood stream. Mimi smiled with her eyes and slowly walked toward her friend, first she slowly licked the blood around the wound, and then let out a communicative snort, letting her friend know that what she was about to do would be very painful. She had to bite out the bullet. She did and Timmy winced in a little bit of pain but did not move because the herb medicine from Mimi’s tongue had numbed his skin. Mimi bit off a little tiger meat and with one precise bite had successfully retrieved the bullet. She then regurgitated the healing herbs and let it flow into the wound and across the tiger’s skin. Mimi looked into the eyes of her friend, telling him that she would return in a day or so to see how he was doing. Timmy looked back with gratitude eyes and fell quickly into a dream sleep where he could romp and play with Rocious.
Timmy healed quickly from the herb surgery and soon was back to his life, eating wild fowl, and occasionally feasting on a herd of wild hogs. He would spot Mimi from time to time and they would exchange loving looks of friendship. Then the winter of harm came across the world and wilderness. The unforgiving ice had come and froze everything, and the beings of the forest started to diminish, one by one animals began to die. The winter of harm was like some sort of cosmic spring cleaning where herds were being thinned for the next cycle of life. Zoe died a similar way like Rocious with her hoof getting caught in a frozen ice hole, then shot by an earth person and carried away. Almost half of the deer herd was lost and the baby deer orphans stayed close to Mimi as she led them to the upper regions of the mountain. Mimi knew that some of them would certainly die by falling off a cliff, dying of starvation, but many would not die because of being fed the high protein grass that lived just beneath the glowing light blue mountain top ice snow. Mimi made the journey with bands of elderly deer, new born orphan does and the few last remaining bucks. The winter of harm was horrid, beastly, degrading, and unrelenting. Timmy had nearly wasted away from having to eat frozen rock hard berries and leather like hardened skin of dead rabbits and foxes. He was starving, and in the last stages of his starvation he became dazed. He barely made it away from the booming metal men who had chased him for three days and four frigid nights. He was angry that he might die in such a dishonorable way. The men only relented when one of them did not wake up in the middle of night from the cold. He made his escape breaking through the frozen ice of the waterfall into his healing herb cave. He dropped to the floor of the cave and as he lay himself down he made an unexpected groan of despair, the sound of his final calls before death beamed out across the wide and still frozen snow. Mimi way above the mountain top heard the longing death cry of her friend, and slowly made her way back to the voice of his near departure. When Mimi finally arrived by his side, Timmy was nearly dead, panting slow and deep breaths, breaths that longed for a new beginning a chance to survive. Timmy layed on his side with all the images of his magic world playing in his mind in rapid succession; sun rising, crackling leaves, sipping brook water, communing with the moon, dancing snowflakes on his nose, warm sweet berry juice in his mouth, running with Rocious, looking into Mimi’s eyes, as the images played he could feel the slow invitation of death as his chest heaved toward him on the in breath and outward on the out breath. Mimi’s eyes were full of tears, because she didn’t want her friend to die. She looked at him and the idea that this was the moment of Timmy’s death was unacceptable to her, for she knew that this was not the moment, that Timmy would have to live in order to have his daughter, who would then go on to have a son, and that son would bare more tiger descendants. In that moment, she understood the true purpose of her life. The pain and sorrow rushed out of her body and she went into a dream like state of bliss. She approached her friend with the last drop of deep sorrow and did what all friends would do. She surrendered her body, her mind, and her soul to her friend. She mindfully and gently placed her caring body underneath his panting mouth, nudging her body close to his so his nose and teeth could touch her skin. Awakened and revived by the deer scent and the forceful beating of a living heart, Timmy ravished her. As he gripped his fangs into her being, the sun ray’s shot its brilliant light through the frozen icicles hanging over the healing cave.
Word count 3,427
Copyright © 2011, Brian L. Ragsdale, All Rights Reserved