It’s 2017, and although I’m devastated that Planet Earth is no longer on our screens, I can’t complain, as the year has started out to be a good one. Whilst watching David Attenborough show us the planet and its most enchanting creatures as we have never seen them before, I can’t help but think about the world, life and the people we meet.
The beauty of existence is that we are constantly meeting people. It’s an endless cycle. Whether we are travelling, at school, college, university, or work, we are always in conversation with other humans. I am very confident that everyone in this world can say that they are surrounded by at least one person that cares about them. We are meeting new people all the time, and are thrown together in the most peculiar of places. So much can happen so quickly, it can be difficult to keep up.
You may be blessed with people that change your life for the better, but also for the worse. I’ve learnt that wearing your heart on your sleeve can be one of the most painful experiences you have to face – something I do far too much. I’m only 19 years of age; I’m no expert or professional, but I’m starting to get a good idea of how people work, and there’s no better way than to compare life and relationships to the wildlife. It is in fact a jungle out there, constantly growing and forever changing – a metaphor for life so to speak. You thought I’m a Celeb was hard? Try walking through the jungle of life.
The jungle is a humid place. Down in the entangled trees that loom over everything, hushed and brooding in their leafy reverie, you’ll find the humming of the parrots; always there, always hidden – in the background to any given situation. Not everyone has to listen to them, but their main focus: to narrate the life of the jungle. Chit chat. Chit chat. Not too far from them is the wise old owl, who watches from afar. You might not see him all day, but he gives sound advice, with always something sensible to say.
Pools of shadow form under these trees, and lurking in the darkness you’ll spot the glowing, green eyes of the panther, glazed with hunger. The beauty or the beast? His movements, deadly. You may survive, but walk away with your head held high, he’s not worth your time.
Other animals don’t see the cuddly, bumbling bear as he is, killing people with kindness. The parrots may brand him a fool, always underestimated. Give him a chance, he’s a good friend to all.
Monkeying around, the chimpanzees keeping spirits on a constant high. The baboons also within reach. Recognisable from a distance; fun party animals, with plenty of arse, but no balls.
The masters of chaos are the weasels. One-sided, and natural liars, their earnest persuasions make it hard to discern their true motives. They have an uncanny gift of sensing weakness, and team up with more successful animals, obtaining their trust and then milking them for all they’re worth.
Always close and always together, you’ll spot the pride of lions. Hard to find, but once found, they’re family. Beneath the toy-like exterior, there’s an inner strength that will protect and be fiercely loyal – never letting you down.
Almost invisible, with his striped fur, you’ll notice the tiger – a truly majestic creature. It’s not easy to resist the charms of the tiger, as he moves with fluid grace around the jungle. There’s an aura of electricity that surrounds him – with intimacy being his greatest sensual tool. However, unlike the family orientated lions, tigers are solitary creatures, who are always on the move. He’s unobtainable. Fall too quickly and he’ll kill you with a single swipe of his outsized paws.
Down by the watering hole you’ll witness the vultures circling over everyone else’s misfortune. Their eyes scanning the party, identifying which among us is the easiest of prey. Relationships are kept on a superficial level, and living up to its reputation, can swoop in, take what it needs, and then disappear. Nearby, admired by friends for their physical strength and faithfulness are the rhinos. The rhinos take time to welcome a new creature, to be assured that they are as committed and true as they are. This slowly-built friendship will last forever.
Oozing with elegance and confidence, the giraffes patronisingly look down upon all, standing heads and shoulders above the rest of the animal kingdom. But, smile and they’ll smile right back. Neighbouring is the leopard that never changes his spots, and the elephant who never forgets. And by the baritone hum of the waterfall, is the hippopotamus; large and harmless in the water, however, he has a ferociously enormous mouth.
Easily forgotten, the armadillo, shy and asleep in his shell. Wake him up, and take him through your journey with you.
The rain comes down, and the blinding sun comes out, making you shield your eyes and bless yourself for your existence. As I embark on my journey through the jungle of life, for me this is only the start. It’s taken me a while to find the hidden values behind these animals, to look out for the dangers and find my safety. However, exhausted by the jungle, no matter how riveting and vibrant it may be; for now, I fly away on the wings of a silver bird to another, concrete jungle, to start the journey all over again; with lessons learned, and experience gained.