I’d like to tell you about Max the Cheetah. Max and his brother (whose name I forget) came here from another guest park—a park that lacked the proper paperwork to keep the cheetahs (the government is really cracking down). So rather than be confiscated by the government, Max and his brother were adopted by Harnas. They had been pet cheetahs and are very comfortable around people.
Marieta is trying very hard to re-wild them. They go out in the Lifeline area on “soft” release every few days—that is, they have radio collars and are sent out to try to hunt. Whether they are successful of not, they get tracked down at the end of the day and brought home. This is will go on until they are either successful hunting the majority of the time (and be released full time) or show they can’t be released (and left to live out their days here).
Anyway, Max and his brother are in an enclosure right next to another cheetah enclosure, and every day Max goes over the fence and spends the day there. He’s not fighting with his brother and he’s not harassing the other cheetahs. He’s just going over there and sleeping under a tree.
I respect and admire that behavior. Max does it just because he can. It’s his rebellion against a world that no longer has a place for animals like him. You gotta love a guy who escapes just because. Just to show his independence. Just to say, “You can’t tell me what to do.” Gee—I wonder why I love that so much! Perhaps it says something about me????
One other note about the landscape here. I just love it. I grew up in Arizona, as most of you know, and the desert holds such beauty for me. The sky is so big and blue, and the sunsets are so orange, purple, and gold—filling half the sky with its colors.
I find such peace here, and I wish I could give that to some of you. My friend Doug, back in North Carolina, is battling cancer, and I wish, especially, that I could transfer some of the peace and beauty here home to him. I wish, at least in his mind, he could travel here and breathe the clean air, watch the colors in the sky, feel the breath of the summer breeze, and sense the quiet in the world here. Doug—my heart is with you, and I hope you can feel it to help you through some of your pain.