THE STORY OF SPIRIT
Several years ago, a friend shared with me the story of a black leopard named Spirit. It really touched my heart and after watching the video on YouTube, I had such a need to visit the Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary in Plettenberg Bay. What a magical experience!
Some of these magical moments included a puma walking along the fence making a strange sound, which the guide told me was her way of saying "hello". Another was when a cheetah got up and walked straight towards me, looking me directly in the eyes! Even though I was behind a very secure fence, I still stepped back due to the intensity. Have always wondered what she was actually thinking at that moment.
... And then, I got to meet Spirit. He took a while to show himself but eventually came to have a big stretch and sharpen his claws on an old tree trunk lying on the ground. He was truly magnificent - both in appearance and in spiritual presence. I felt very blessed to have seen him, and ever since, I have wanted to do a painting that would portray all the beauty, magic and spirit I felt in that moment.
If you are ever in the area, do yourself a favour and go for a visit (cooler weather or later in the day is the best). The enclosures are massive with lots of greenery, and the animals are really cared for. You will leave with a smile, and Jukani having touched your heart and soul. Visit www.jukani.co.za for more information and to learn more about the amazing work they do.