|Steve with his obedient crocodile.|
On September 7, 2004, In New York City, I had the opportunity to meet Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter. At the time I worked at ABC in New York, specifically in the same studio as Live! With Regis and Kelly. As I watched them prepare the set for the animals, I heard commotion from the green room and Steve's enthusiastic voice.
As I got closer to the green room, it smelled more and more like a zoo. With much trepidation I stood in the doorway where Steve was talking with the crew of the show, and right there on the floor was this huge crocodile. There was no rope tied to her, no restraint, as free as a croc would be in her natural habitat. (As you can see from the photos!)
|Perhaps Steve is communicating with her!|
"Come on in mate! She's a beauty isn't she?", Steve said to me as he saw me staring at the croc with both fear and amazement. Steve was a kid at heart, he talked to everyone...there was no one beneath him and no one above him, he looked at people and animals with the same love he had for himself. He encouraged me to not be afraid to approach the crocodile. Knowing that Steve was right there in the room was the only reason I decided to take a picture with it. I truly felt safe. In the short time I spent with him in the green room, he shared photos with us from a trip he had recently made.
|Take a look at this, mate!|
The reason I share with you my encounter with the Crocodile Hunter, is because he inspired me. He reminded me of the importance to approach my work with fervor and enthusiasm, the same enthusiasm and zest he demonstrated for people and the wildlife. While you may not realize it, Steve was also an animal communicator. His sensitivity to the needs of animals helped us to better understand them and their divine place and purpose here on our planet. Steve did for conservation and education what no one had ever done before. He brought wildlife conservation right into people's living rooms (and my job!) and created a whole new generation of Wildlife Warriors.
|I gave my camera to my friend, I asked her to snap it as quickly as she could. When I handed her the camera and posed with a slight nervousness, she says, "Felix, where's the button again?" (flipping the camera over!) Ay!!!|
Let us not be caught up in how Steve passed, the illusion of the form, but rather let us remember his life and legacy. May his life remind us to live each and every day with passion and gratitude, as he did. May we continue to be aware of how we affect the planet in our every day lives and realize our interconnectedness to one another. Steve, mate, may your work continue to inspire.
Love and Light,