Out of the corner of my eye I saw him move slowly to the rear. Our jeep had no roof, and leopards are adept at running, leaping up and into things, grabbing and dragging prey into trees. He wouldn't have a problem dealing with an old jeep with an open roof. He disappeared from view, and as I slowly turned my head I saw him cross the other side of the road and disappear into the bush.
When we knew the moment was over and that we were safe we started to do that weepy laugh that erupts when Life Happens in a way you weren't sure you would survive, touching and hugging each other. We then noticed that another jeep, coming from the opposite direction, had evidently seen what was happening and stopped, luckily turning off their motor and staying still so as not to further irritate the animal. Their driver had a rifle out. Each person had an expression that spoke volumes about what had happened (and could have happened.)
I will never forget one moment of this wonderful moment — dangerous, yet exciting and full of recognition. I had my tiny German camera and pressed that shutter as it happened. I gazed into a wild leopard's eyes and knew that my life and work would be deeply connected with the spirit of animals.
What significant moment have you experienced with an animal that taught you a Life Lesson?