Why is it that we take such pleasure in getting close to wild things? Think of all the people who keep what to me are totally inappropriate pets--ocelots, wolves, even parrots. These are animals meant to live in the woods, not in suburbia, but numbers of our fellow humans want to be close to these not-yet-domesticated creatures. (Of course, I put up bird feeders to get to see little wild things up close.) A (probably dreadful) film that I still remember from my childhood was the obscure Mara of the Wilderness, about a girl raised by wolves, which seemed like a pretty cool idea when I was eight. These days, I'm too fond of indoor plumbing and central heat to want to spend my time running with a wolf pack in the northern Rockies (if that's where the film took place--I saw it a LONG time ago), but how many of us read and at least briefly fantasized about being Women Who Run With the Wolves?
How many stories/poems/songs have to do with the lure of the "bad boy", the untamed male? Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, "Leader of the Pack"? Our current vampire fascination has something of the same feel to me--how many young women fantasize being the woman who can join with the male who could prove at any moment to be dangerous and drain her life's blood? Pretty strange, when you think about it.
But I must confess a current related satisfaction. Several years ago we adopted a feral kitten born in our back yard, and feral Feraldine has remained even though she has lived in our house since late 2007. She sleeps in a basket in front of a heat vent, uses the litter box, and eats in the kitchen (preferably when we are in another room), but little Feraldine, the "blue streak," has retained a fear of humans. The last few mornings, though, she has materialized in bed, doing the "feed the cat dance" on top of Mommy. She has even allowed her head and back to be scratched, arching her back, purring, and curling her tail into a perfect question mark. (Of course, she still dashes away as soon as human verticality seems likely.) I don't like to seem unappreciative of our four thoroughly domesticated felines, but Feraldine's purr is one of the happiest sounds I've heard in a long time.