How A Lion Cries

September 2, 2013
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"Olivia! Turn your light off and go to bed!" Not wanting to endure the nighttime rath of my mother, I tiptoed quietly into my room and switched off the light. Slowly and cautiously I crept like a spy down the hallway and once I reached the safety of my living room, plopped myself down on the couch beside my father.
"What are we watching" I asked my father. He switched down the volume a couple notches, hoping the growls and prrs from the lions escaping the TV would not reach my mother in the back of the apartment.
"The nature channel" he said. Nature meant Sunday nights, with me settling for crazy animals fighting rather than staring at my ceiling covered in haphazardly placed stars, and dreading the following Monday. Therefore, I came to like Sundays.
"Down in the depths of Africa roam the lions, prowling on their own or in packs. They attack packs of weaker animals solo, hoping to single out a baby or elder animal." The narrarators voice was complimented by a milita of video clips of lions beating down an elk or deer. Grabbing the small, week baby's in their mighty jaws and dragging it away. The pack of the other animals disapear in the distance, leaving the baby to die merciless at the hands of this great beast.
But watching these videos and programs never bothered me. It's the circle of life. The lions are at the top of the food chain, they shouldn't have to bow down to a weaker animal to get their deserved food.
So the program persued, divulging facts about lions in combat and male lions and female lions and basically everything about lions.
Towards the middle I lost interest, swallowing yawns left and right, hoping that my father did not send me to bed. But then it showed a video clip of a lion cub dying, something you probably wouldn't think of. Lions are fierce, protective, smart creatures. Surely they wouldn't let one of their own fall down?
And yet there it was, the cries of a baby cub as the light left his eyes.
Later the mother came back for her cub, only to find its carrcus eaten out. So she turned her back, gathered her remaining cubs and walked off.
Though on the outside her eyes remained the same; hard, sharp orbs of a fighter. Her heart must have been crying.
To us humans, the loss of a child is devastating, and if morbid enough can even make the news. But it happens everyday, at everytime. Another born, one more gone.
Our losses, especially that of a child, rip us apart inside. Greif, blame, sorrow, rage, all emotions we might and do feel at the death of a loved one. So what makes it seem that lions do not feel this way too.
Yes. The mother of the cub walked away. But what choice does she have? Their is no one to come hold her hand and tell her she is gonna make it. She has three other cubs who need milk and shelter and love. For her, dwelling over her loss is out of the question. But that doesn't mean she doesn't feel.
She doesn't get a grave stone for her lost child or a service. What she gets is reality. What she gets is the circle of life.
So while she is not a human and does not walk on two crooked legs, she cries too.
She cries like every lion does. On the inside.

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Mckay This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 18, 2013 at 6:06 pm
Were you watching The Last Lions...or something like that? I feel like I've watched this before? Anywho, very moving piece. (Some typos here and there. Nothing editing can't fix. :P) I don't think many of realize that animals also suffer the pain of loss. We take them for indifferent, emotionless creatures. But they also suffer. Very entertaining piece. If only it had some British guy narrating it like in all the documetaries. XD Oh well. Great piece, Liv. 
Rayynbow said...
Sept. 15, 2013 at 10:33 pm
Very interesting way to be insightful about lions and life. I like the part about "two crooked legs." I think that it would have been better if you could have been more specific when comparing the lioness's feelings to our own. Also when the lions attacked the "week" baby animal, it should have been a "weak" baby animal (but that's a minor detail).
ChasingForever said...
Sept. 13, 2013 at 3:05 pm
This is really good!
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