Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Follow the Wabbit. Although it's clear that it's a museum puma, killed and stuffed long ago, it was given some life and character by the taxidermist. Once I had a strange encounter with a puma in entirely the wrong place at the wrong time, but we both went our separate ways and I'm here to tell the tale. Shortly afterwards I came across this fellow - and like the taxidermist, I made him a character too. A puma is a cougar, a mountain lion, a panther or a catamount. Although it can be big, it is more related to the cat. So it gets the symbolism of the cat, not the lion. Cats are often regarded unfavourably in symbolism and many cultures see the cat as diabolic. But not in Islam. When passengers on Noah's Ark were disturbed by rats, Noah stroked the lion's face and it spat out a couple of cats. But whether it's a beast of good or a beast of evil omen, you can't ignore a puma. I chose to give this Puma a benevolent character and I made him a bit of a mensch. That's a Yiddish expression describing a principled, decorous and charitable individual. Puma is responsible and dignified - and even if he's a little old fashioned, he does what's right.