Beasley, Mr. Lion, and I returned yesterday from a 10-day photo shoot trip with my brother …… this time to North and South Dakota as well as Wyoming. An added bonus…..my niece Kelly joined us.
As with past trips, my brother used his National-Geographic-type camera to capture the beauty of the area and I wandered around with an iPhone and a small bunny and a raggedy-taggedy lion.
This is the third trip Beasley and Mr. Lion have taken together and on each of these outings, as silly as it may seem, there has been something about their “friendship” that touched my heart.
For first time readers….. Beasley went with me to Europe on three different occasions and helped me share the story of my adventures with family and friends. A year ago my granddaughter, who felt sorry for Beasley because he sat on my bookcase all alone, gave me Mr. Lion so Beasley could have a friend.
I think theirs is an interesting friendship……a modern day Odd Couple…. as they are total opposites.
Beasley is an introvert…. he keeps his emotions close to his chest ……can be a little stiff and formal and perhaps a bit cautious with his actions.
Mr. Lion, who has a lopsided smile and sparkly eyes and extra-long arms that he uses to hug anybody he meets, is an extrovert who loves freely and who is a little off-the-wall and wants to enjoy life.
I think they make the perfect pair.
If they were at a party….. I would imagine Mr. Lion would be standing in the middle of the room …… laughing…… spilling cheese dip or salsa on himself……twirling around and smiling and perhaps having more than one margarita. Beasley, however, might be found sitting in a chair talking quietly to someone and looking at Mr. Lion and thinking to himself “tsk tsk”.
But I have no doubt that Mr. Lion has enriched Beasley’s life as seen in the Before and After pictures below. There is Beasley in Europe dining and then doing the same on this trip…… but with Mr. Lion.
The truly alive picture…… the sparkling-with-life picture….. the fun picture….. is the one where Beasley is sharing drinks and food with his friend.
Not only did Beasley and Mr. Lion share meals on this trip but they also supported each other during a challenging day. We woke one morning in Dickinson, North Dakota, with plans to drive to Devil’s Tower in Wyoming.
But the weather was more dicey than we anticipated as there were multiple inches of snow in the forecast as well as very gusty winds.
In the picture below you see Beasley and Mr. Lion looking out the hotel room window…… Beasley with his very neatly groomed bunny ears and Mr. Lion with his hair going every which way. Knowing each of them as I do, I can only imagine the conversation they were having with each other.
Beasley is, of course, telling Mr. Lion that he is apprehensive about the snow and asking if we should still travel in the car and what happens if we get stuck and what will we do? Mr. Lion, his fun positive outlook in full swing, is telling Beasley how cool this is and wondering…… will there be enough snow to build a snowman?
Then later, as we are inching our way down the road with very limited visibility, Mr. Lion is patting Beasley’s paw and reassuring him that we will be fine……
And once the snowstorm was over, Mr. Lion suggested we stop the car so they could make snow angels and climb a tree or two.
These very simple little pictures of a stuffed bunny and a stuffed lion truly sum up visually the importance of being connected to others.
In today’s world, it is easy to put up barriers….. to let the angers and differences of our national politics color our views of each other….. to let fears and doubts based on past life experiences creep in…..to let those things build walls around our hearts.
But walls not only keep others out…..they also shut us in.
As readers know, I recently began dating again and had a very successful first online date with a delightful gentleman which has led to more dates. I will not lie …… it has been a little scary to allow myself to be connected to someone again….. to let the walls down.
And yet…… the visual appeal of Beasley and Mr. Lion …… together….. strikes a strong emotional note with me…..one I cannot ignore.
So, once again… a small “somewhat-proper” bunny and a “raggedy-looking” lion have touched my heart…… it is amazing to me how something made out of bits of fabric can come to life …… can make me laugh as I look at their pictures…. and make me see more clearly what is important in life.
Which is …….being connected to others is worth the risk.
And a note to my granddaughter….. I have no idea why your heart told you that Beasley needed a friend. I don’t know what you saw and I don’t know the emotions behind your actions but I can tell you this …….. you not only made Beasley’s life better but you have also enriched mine with your simple gesture because the pictures of Beasley and Mr. Lion together remind me of the importance of sharing life with others.
I’m looking forward to the next two months of your summer vacation where I can spend time with you and your brother….. and where we can share ice cream and desserts from Alpine Bakery and quiet moments and times where love and laughter take center stage.
Because in the end…. caring and sharing….is what makes life worth living.
Hugs and Love,
This is what friendship and love looks like…..
being there with each other ….. side by side.