Begging for a Breathing Space

“Think global, act local.” 

Aurora stretches her long legs, yawns and slowly opens her pretty big eyes. Wow! So pretty! There is a faint glow of greenish light stretching across the sky and the additional bands of light forms slowly brightening the whole sky. The glow sways left to right, as if a giant colorful curtain is waving.The entire sky is full of colors and motions. Arctic is capped with formidable ice and snow  plunges into total darkness during winter, buffeted by blizzard, and bitterly cold wind, yet Aurora loves her motherland. She loves the edges of pack ice where currents and wind interact, forming a continually melting and refreezing matrix of ice patches. She stands on her hind leg and walks upright to look with a steady lumbering gait. Her front paws swings outward with each step landing slightly pigeon-toed and her head swings gently from side to side. Pregnancy has slowed her down. She looks around and to find a maternity den site. After searching for a while she decides to den in snowdrift along the southern mountain slopes, and 100 km from the coast. With her front and hind paws she bends down and starts to scrape a tunnel into snow. She digs two chambers. It is a very long tiring day for her. Aurora sits on the ground leaning against the hard ice wall stretching her long legs.She lingers to rest, draws a few more breaths of the crisp, cold air. She lays there and listens to the wind rustling the dry leaves. She feels a little restless. Aurora buries her head deeper into the snow and tries to sleep. That night a marvelous thing happens. she gives birth to the twin.

Aurora opens her eyes, turns her head slowly to one side. O’ wow! She says ,with a mix of bewilderment and wonder. She is thrilled to see the beautiful cubs. Aurora picks them up gently in her mouth, brings them closer and snuggle against her body. They are very tiny, lightly furred, but beautiful. Joy flashes into her heart. Aurora smiles and licks the cubs.  Her mind is thronged with delightful thoughts of motherhood and an intimate connection with her cubs. Aurora cradles them tenderly with her paws, breathing gently to keep them warm.Sometimes her breathing startles the infants so she makes extra effort not to disturb them.

images (9)

The beautiful bond grows stronger between them with the passage of time. Aurora loves each moment of being a mother. One morning, she notices that the cubs are trying to bite each other while playing. She pulls them closer and looks into their mouth although it is real hard to hold them.The cubs have started teething. Aurora sits close to the cubs and gently licks their thick furs to clean. She sits leaning on the ice of the tunnel and enjoys watching the cubs play among themselves. At irregular intervals the cubs run into mom, jumps up for  her nose, sometimes throw themselves on Aurora’s back and tries to reach for her with their paws. Aurora shakes her head, laughs and starts to play with her cubs. The cubs are very intelligent. They walk close to their mom and gaze at her face to check her facial expression. They do not like to disturb Aurora when she is not in a mood to play. Instead they pound on the snow with the fore paws, play hide and seek with each other. They enjoy most is the piggy back ride on Aurora. On several occasions she rolls over her back, gently fighting with one or both cubs on her belly.

Time passes. The cubs grow older and develop more motor skills. The cubs protest when Aurora pulls them closer to clean the fur by licking. After three and half months, the twins venture outside the den with mom. One morning, after breakfast, Aurora takes them close to the river. She introduces them to the open water by taking them in for 15 minute at a time, shaking off the excess water from the fur, or rubbing their fur in the snow. Sometimes Aurora rub their heads in the snow by pushing forward on the tummy and rolling on the back and they love that. One sunny afternoon, Aurora decides to lead her cubs to sea ice. The cubs are excited for the adventure but, the travel gets slow with frequent rests and nursing stops. At one point Aurora stops and looks at the deep snow and water. My little cubs can not swim in this, says Aurora. Then she looks at  their sweet faces and says,” Both of you, come climb on my back”. The cubs climb slowly, sit comfortably and enjoy the ride on mom’s back through the areas of deep snow and water. Combined with their instincts, the cubs learn a few survival and hunting skills from mother.  It is very hard for the cubs to walk on the steep slopes, but they try their best to keep up with mom. One day after their naps, Aurora makes them ready and takes both the cubs to the ocean. She teaches them with lots of patience, how to use the fore paws as paddle and hind paws as rudders in the water. They giggle so much and enjoy the whole day in the water. Slowly in a few days they become good swimmers. Then Aurora teaches the cubs how to locate breathing holes with their powerful sense of smell. She ask them to crawl slowly forward and freeze in  close to the whole. There they wait for ring seals to rise and then they catch the seals. After the lessons, Aurora puts her paws on the mischievous cubs and ask them to sit quietly to enjoy the sunset.

“                                                                                images (4)                                 download

The hunting becomes very hard.  They can not find the seals as the sea ice decreases. They swim long distances to stay with the rapidly receding ice.  Sometimes they complete a marathon swim but still do not find any seal to hunt. One day Aurora climbs up to a big rock and sits quietly. She scratches her paws on the stone. Her lips are sealed in an expression of sadness. She does not want her cubs go hungry.They can not find seals because of the ice melts. It is a grueling challenge for Aurora. The ice is so thin that it is even harder to stand and wait for prey.  She watches her cubs as they start losing weight and weaker without getting proper food. One night, as they are swimming back, she notices that one of the twins has lost one part of the body hair and can not breath properly. He is so sick that it is hard for him to swim. Aurora moves closer to the cub, extends her paw and tries to pull him closer and hold with her teeth. But she can not, he drowns in front of her eyes. A black cloud seems to hover over everything. That night she sits down on the ice, rocks back and forth and bends down on the ice and cries. The other cub comes closer,leans against his mom and gently put his paws on his mom’s face. He licks Aurora’s face, tries to console her. Aurora hugs her son tightly. Both lay down on the snow with the sadness of losing the other cub. Occasionally she raises her tear filled eyes to the water in the hope to see her cub. Then sighs!

Aurora does not understand  the changes in her beautiful land, where she may even survive or not. She tries to find an answer. Next morning, the turfs and paths are rustling with moist red leaves.The cold blue sky is half hidden by clouds. Aurora runs straight towards the ocean,stops and sits close to the water.  Her eyes are anxious and agonized. She glances at the water,and asks “Where is my cub? Why are you punishing us? Why??”  But there is no answer. Her voice echoes and fades away in the thin air. Aurora lays down on the snow and sobs quietly.

images (5)      images (6)

We cannot take the Earth for granted. We have treated it as though it is indestructible. The “greenhouse Effect” warms the earth and melts the precious snow and ice that polar bear needs for survival. If lion is the king of the jungle, then the polar bear is the king of the ice. He is revered by the few people who live in Arctic Circle as “God’s dog’ or ‘Ever Wandering One”.  As Arctic loses snow and ice, bare rocks and water absorbs more and more of the sun’s energy making it even warmer”. Polar bear could become extinct if there is an almost complete loss of summer sea ice. Global warnings can be slowed down, and the Polar bears do have a chance. Let us join with other activists around the world and help make a difference for the endangered species.

  • The Paris agreement which 195 nation signed over could be a great breakthrough but at the same time we have to do our part in every way to help our planet.

images (8)


3 thoughts on “Begging for a Breathing Space

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s