This I Believe

H Jean - Leesburg, Florida
Entered on December 10, 2006
Age Group: 65+
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Just last week I heard a report on NPR. The tiger population in the wild is now reduced from a former number of 10,000 to merely 5000. Hearing this brought a terrible feeling of helplessness and heartbreak to me! I celebrate and revere the wonderful diversity of life that our earth, Gaia, has brought forth. Gritting my teeth in frustration, I have listened as species after species becomes threatened. But tigers are the last straw for me.

I love tigers. No other creature embodies the wonder, the creativity and the spectacular effects nature has accomplished as does the beauty of the tiger. When painting for myself a large picture of tigers, I had the opportunity to examine in detail their wonderful markings. Looking in the eyes of a tiger, one feels his immense dignity and confidence in existence.

The tiger’s coat is a miracle of density and softness that rivals the most elegant pile carpet made by humans in exponential multiples. A treasured memory of mine is the time I had the chance to sit by a tiger and bury my fingers in his coat, when attending a wildlife exposition.

It would be possible to continue far beyond the limits of these essays to describe or tell of all the amazing abilities and qualities of the tiger. But most of all, the tiger embodies the mysterious, the heart-chilling danger, the mist-shrouded thrill of being alive on this planet.

My own children and grandchildren have been among those fortunate ones who know there are tigers in the world. But beyond them, the children who follow may only know the tiger as children of today know the dinosaurs.

I wouldn’t want to live in a world that didn’t have tigers.