These first lines from Mervi in her remembrance post are exemplary for my dilemma, how to commemorate the man not only behind Knut, but also care taker of 19 bears, 5 African wild dogs, 4 polar wolves, not to forget cat Muschi who adopted 9 years ago moon bear Mäuschen, at 41 oldest inhabitant of the bear's quarter and for who Thomas Dörflein had a special soft spot.
I started to think about this September 22 at least one month ago, I wanted to be prepared, to be ready for this day which marked an end and a new beginning, but I am not.My hard disk is full of photos and little notes and stories which I had kept for today, but I come back to the very same ones I have already posted or looked at so many times during the past year. I started today by watching them all over again, I read the entries in Knut's Blog from last year, visited other sites of the Knut community, thought about Thomas Dörflein's family and how they might feel today. This year went by so fast, but it had not smoothened the memory of that peculiar moment of shock and bewilderment I felt learning about the news last year. Sitting at the same place as last year, I still can't help but feeling unprepared, for what happened and for what was to come when 8 days later Simba followed. It has been a year of mourning and remembrance, a year which made me learn more about the harshness of nature's course, but also a year which made me learn more than ever before about the beauty of moments meant to pass, transforming sadness and feelings of loss into the most intense reflections of what had been, yet not gone as they continue to live in us.
We have been privileged to see a tiny little handful bear grow, a bear full of life, cherishing the wonder of each moment, no matter in which form the wonder materialises, salmon, grapes, croissants or jutebags, a ball, toy, log or a twig - Knut never ceases to surprise us with his way to live up to each moment, - well knowing that my laudatio won't be received as enthusiastically by some carps who happened to be in his moat last year in spring or by the turtle whose parcours for survival kept us for days in suspense...(and yes, she survived!).However - this was the gift Thomas Dörflein shared with all of us, a gift which has kept me not only occupied in consequence with lots of other bears around the world..., but which kept me wondering and smiling ...... ever since, from the very beginning of this unique relationship until now, sometimes,I admit, through tears, more of gratefulness then of sorrow...Danke Herr Dörflein...
Photos credits:Frau Schnatterliese (1), rbb (2), Jessie (3,5,6), ChristinaM (4,7)
Related: In Mervi's KWM you will find a lot of postings to commemorate Thomas Dörflein, please don't miss the long sequence on Doris' and Jessie's video showing Thomas Dörflein playing with Knut in autumn 2007, you will find the link also on the K-files wall, two other videos have been posted by Gudrun.