MOTHER Volume 2

SPAIN 38°59’10.5”N 3°55’44.6”W


dive deeply into these eyes . Not long ago, a scant one hundred pairs of these peepers graced our planet, belonging to the Iberian lynx, one of the world’s most endangered felines. To this day, I can hardly fathom the immensity of my luck. When I took my first steps into the realm of wildlife photography three years ago, it was this creature’s penetrating gaze that whisked me away into a new dimension. On the day that altered my life, the tranquil peace of the Spanish plains in the country’s center was violently upended as I locked eyes with this mesmerizing beast. Standing there was the Iberian lynx, a paragon of feline elegance and tenacity. Its un- wavering and bold eyes seemed to communicate an unspoken challenge. “Psst, human,” it seemed to convey, “Check me out. Take note of how my fur glimmers under the sun, how I move with a soundless grace, how my steady gaze meets yours. Bear in mind, this is my land, my kingdom.” While I was standing there, my heart thundered, not from dread, but from sheer delight. I was overjoyed, even feeling privileged to witness such an exquisite display of nature’s wonder. “Hey, most spectacular of all felines,” I longed to respond. “Can you sense my racing pulse, my trembling hands? This isn’t fear, but pure joy. I’m here just to admire your beauty from a respectful distance. In due course, I’ll retreat, honoring your domain—the land of the lynx.” Was it mere luck stumbling upon a creature teetering on the brink of extinction in the wild? Three years have elapsed since that profound encounter. I’ve seen this animal more than 10 times—and each time I brace myself for another meeting, I tell myself, “I’ve rolled the dice and won once. I can’t ask for more.” Yet the day arrives, and like a phantom, it materializes again. Its silent, balletic stride, its gaze lifting to intersect mine, and an indistinct message resonates within me, “How’s it going, Lady Luck? Everything copacetic? Thanks for popping by to visit me, arguably the planet’s most handsome and graceful creature.” Sometimes I have to pinch myself. Here I am, staring into the eyes of an elusive creature, which by all odds, I should probably have ever seen only on an endangered species list. Yet, here we are, doing our routine check-in, like a pair of old friends—well, one who purrs and the other who incessantly clicks a camera shutter. As I stand there, I chuckle at the absurdity of it all. The Iberian lynx, unwittingly my new model and talisman, probably wondering when this curious biped will finally lose interest. Little does it know, each encounter only fuels my fascination and respect for these beautiful creatures. But don’t worry, Mr. Lynx, I’ll stick to my word. Your secret plains hideaway is safe with me. After all, who am I to spill the beans about the world’s best-kept feline secret?”



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