Flocke appeared to me in a dream. We sat silently in a white, icy world. Crisp air blew softly around us. Unlike the happy din of Berlin, the silence here was deafening and awesome. Clouds coated the sky, making the whole land-and-sky-scape white as far as I could see. I sat on my haunches with a bank of snow behind me and Flocke to my left. I sensed her presence with such intensity that I could not move my head to look at her. We sat in utter silence, absorbing each other's essence along with that of the landscape and the sound of the tundra winds. Looking off into the horizonless distance, I reveled in Flocke's exquisite, refined essence and desperately tried to push away the terror of being without her. The two opposing emotions were almost more than I could handle yet somehow the scene around us helped me sink deep enough to embrace both ends of the spectrum. I wanted to stay there forever, falling into the middle of the experience. The wind blew like a mother's soft breath and I began to relax.
Slowly, my eyes opened and there I was, lying on my mulchbett in my enclosure. Birds sang, the morning sun shone through the trees. I heard my zoo-mates stirring and preparations for breakfast were underway. Soon, I would have my morning visit with Papi.
I waited quietly and patiently by the gate to see Papi. I did not wail out for him as usual. When he finally came my heart skipped a beat, how I loved him! He knew something was different about me but did not show any concern. He unlocked the latch and beckoned me into the courtyard. "Komm Mäuschen," he said warmly. I quietly followed him to our usual place and we settled down together. I felt so full and happy with him!
"You are so quiet today Knuti. What a change from the usual!"
Remembering my recent dream of Flocke, I smiled to myself. My breath was slow and deep. I waited for my words to come. We communicated with our hearts and through images so the words here are only a representation of the conversation that took place:
"Papi, I do not want to pursue my studies any longer."
There. I said it. I tensed a bit in anticipation of his reaction.
He remained silent and breathed slowly. His eyes crinkled warmly and he smiled his beautiful smile. He laughed out loud, stroked my head, pulled my ears and kissed my nose. My heart relaxed. This was not the response I expected!
"Papi, you seem happy about this. I don't understand why you are not upset. I thought you wanted me to be a successful, responsible polar bear son. I thought it pleased you that I was such a good student and had a great career ahead of me. Please tell me why you are smiling and relaxed?"
Papi laughed and caressed my head again.
"I don't care about your studies at all! All I want is your perfect happiness. If you never do anything but run around your enclosure, play with your toys, swim, sleep and delight your fans, that is more than enough for me. Just having you in the world is enough for me. You are our King Knut. People all around the world love you so much for just existing! Your devotees watch and enjoy your every move, even when you just sleep on your mulchbett. You will always be loved and cared for and you need do nothing at all. There is no need to work in the world or be a "responsible" polar bear. You are here to be our heart's delight....and you do that so well my dear boy."
This was a surprise to me and I needed some time to take it in. Somehow I had lost my way and forgot my true purpose. I believed that I had to please Papi by being responsible and serious. Flocke's radiant presence awakened me from a dream of drudgery and boredom! I wasn't ready to talk about Flocke with Papi yet but it would happen very soon...