I was watching the movie "Duma" recently with my girls. I highly recommend it, by the way, to any of you with kids. Anyway, it's the story of a boy who lives on a plantation in Africa with his parents. He's riding in a car with his dad one night and they see a baby cheetah in the middle of the road, and stop. They can't see the mother anywhere and the boy begs his dad to take it home with them. The dad agrees, but makes sure the boy knows that he can't keep the cheetah forever, that they can help it learn to take care of itself but that they'll have to return it to the wild someday. The boy says he understands. They take it home, name it Duma (Swahili for cheetah), nurse it, raise it, try to teach it to hunt (which it can't do) and have fun with it. After a series of other adventures, the boy goes to return the cheetah to the wild. Duma runs into the savannah and immediately finds another cheetah to hang around with, and is finally successful at hunting and being the cheetah he was born to be. He turns back to look at the boy, and obviously recognizes him, but then runs away with the other cheetah and the boy is left in sadness. Of course, the moral of the story is that the boy loves Duma, and so he sets him free to be who he was meant to be. He understands that keeping him in captivity, while it's great for the boy, won't make Duma the happiest he can be.
I'm sure you all have guessed my intention in posting this story here. At the end of the movie, I told my daughter that was kind of how I feel about her dad. Of course I'm sad to set him free, but I know he's meant to be a cheetah, and because I love him, I want him to be the happiest he can be. She liked that.
Chris is running with another cheetah now, and though he looks back at me, I know he's happier in the savannah than on the plantation.
The problem is that the movie ends there. How does the boy move on from his relationship with the cheetah? Does he get another pet that is meant to be domesticated? How can that pet ever hope to compare to the beauty, grace, speed of Duma, and how can the boy possibly love another animal? I love my cheetah, but I feel like I am at the edge of the savannah, watching him run and hunt and play and be happy, while I just watch. I don't feel the capacity to move away from the savannah, and I can't imagine what that cheetah will need from me now. It's a sad realization for me, that I know he needed me to get him to this point, to help him realize his potential, but I don't see how I fit into the wild now.
I'm probably going to take a break from posting here for awhile. It's Chris's blog, and it should be about him and his life, which is increasingly separated from mine. Maybe I'll take up residence on another blog, or maybe keep quiet for now (I'm a lot more introverted than Chris...). Thank you for listening and responding. Have fun with my cheetah.