As the Nevada sun rouses itself from slumber I’m sitting in my living room jump starting the morning with a cup of coffee and a cuddle with Peggy Sue Lynx. What a way to enjoy the desert solitude! Peggy and I anticipate starting each day with an hour of meditation, interspersed with the intimate, healing sounds of ceremonial drumming which align with my bodily and spiritual rhythms. After seventy five years of searching for this degree of intimacy with nature, I pause to savor the experience. What a terrific feeling!

There are just the two of us now supporting one other. Our other family member and my life partner John joined the spirit world nearly two years ago; Peggy Sue and I have had to muster up all the strength possible. I found a message from John that embellishes our contributions over the span of forty seven years.
“Hello World”

We were—and still are—John and Barbara Williamson, a team that has survived many challenges, including one you speak of in hushed tones that lives under the name of “Death.” Though for now death complicates our relationship, we continue side by side on a wonderful journey that has led us through many realms over the past 47 years.

Together, through Sandstone Retreat and Tiger-Touch we have contributed needed changes within our culture. Some of these changes are still being assimilated. Some will never be. After all, not every grain of wheat lands in fertile soil.

At any rate, we are happy with our contributions. Perhaps in the long run they will be appreciated by others less inclined to investigate on their own.

We feel it only proper to record our most significant finding to date. That discovery determines how we humans bond with one another. Just as important is how we bond with non-human creatures. These bonds determine how much of our lives are spent with connections to the “animal” world and the balance of life on this Earth. That is the only route to “Peace on Earth” as the wise men of old envisioned it.

To read more in depth about our contributions order your copy of my story “An Extraordinary Life” sub: Love, Sex and Commitment at

I have included a link to the N Y Times final tribute to my amazing life partner John Williamson


nikilogoSeeing a tiger in the same shared space, breathing the same air, wrapped in the same boundaries, is unforgettable. There is a slight rustle in the undergrowth, then a sudden heart-stopping epiphany of predatory splendor that may last only a moment—though it feels much longer—and after your eyes and those large hazel orbs have locked into a mutual gaze, nature’s battleship sails on through a sea of shrubbery and trees and is lost in the jungle stillness. You are left alive, unmarked yet forever changed.

That’s what a brief encounter does for you. Words are inadequate to describe a life shared with a tiger, but they can give you a slight hint, an inviting aroma such as you might get when passing by a coffee shop that invites you to linger and buy in to the experience.
When Nikki Tigress was only four years old, she had already lived more than most forty-year-old humans. She had been pampered and loved by her human parents in the wilderness of Montana, a wide-open land with mountains and brisk air reminiscent of her Siberian heritage.
Her young caretakers would drive her into the snow covered mountains, where a bevy of photographers would wait to photograph her as she raced down the slopes. Her image appeared in volumes of magazine covers and articles. She was aware on some level of her celebrity, and loved her work. She did not ask for early retirement—it was forced upon her suddenly by a tragic turn of events.

Luckily for me, the emotions running through me as I write are masked by the anonymity of word processing. You cannot see my face, hear the tides of my breath, or feel the tremor in my hands.

Her human family knew their relationship with Nikki was going to be shorter than they wanted, that a tiger’s life rushed past five times as swiftly, bringing the inevitable parting. Yet they did not even get their twenty years with her. It ended on a strip of asphalt with a screech of tires and the rude splash of bent tin and broken glass. The car—and their time with Nikki—was lost.
Human beings have surrounded themselves with technology that can maim or kill in an instant. When the car stopped, his back was broken and her neck was seriously injured. Their doctor told them they would live, but they would never be the same again. They could not be parents to a four hundred pound tigress.

After a heart-wrenching selection process, they chose Tiger Touch Sanctuary as Nikki’s new forever home. They knew we would give her love and attention. It would not be the same life, but it would be a good life. John and I knew we could not take their place, but we could take their space and earn spots in Nikki’s heart alongside the parents she could never forget.

We transported her in a carrier in the pickup bed of a Dodge Diesel truck from Montana back to our place in Nevada, an eighteen hour drive that could only be described as traumatic for everyone involved. It was necessary to drive all night and not expose our new tiger to the outside world.
Tiger Nikki was so bonded with her previous caretakers that only time could heal such deep wound. Nikki was living proof that animals form a bond with humans the same as humans bond with each other. Humans are among the animal species that can form tight bonds with all others living in Nature. Best to accept that we are animals and one with all of Nature!

Nikki settled comfortably into her new home at Tiger Touch and found her new work rather interesting. She studied all the members that came to visit and would decide who she could shock or scare them into wetting their pants. She was—as she had always been—a celebrity. Her new life was being a tiger queen or ambassador and inventing new and scary tricks. She formed new bonds with John and me. We all loved each other very much. She told us all her fears and revealed to us all her needs. We protected her from her fears and filled her needs. We also did something else—we took upon ourselves the unenviable task that once loomed over her parents. We presided over her passage into that spirit realm where brisk breezes and snowy mountainsides always beckon beneath a never-setting sun.


Rocky and NalaLove, like anything natural, never loses its ability to surprise me. It is like a hearty sprig of grass that blossoms in a crack, refusing to let pavement come between earth and sky. With Sandstone Retreat behind me, I never expected to form such intense bonding relationships as I had known, especially with non-human friends. Indeed, I had searched for love until it found me, and chased love until it finally caught me.

After moving into our ten-acre sage brush kingdom in the wild, quiet Nevada desert, I learned the striking difference between solitude and loneliness. Here reigned solitude, an unhurried, uncrowded space where I could lose myself or be found. I was surrounded by many lovely critters going about the business of eating and being eaten. Oh, don’t get me wrong—I’m not being morbid. Indeed, even among the most vulnerable prey species I sensed more vigilance than fear.

Soon I found my place in this brave old world, forming a connection with my neighbors. While I sat outside in the swing; jack rabbits would boldly come within inches of me and gaze right into my eyes. Not exactly sure what they saw but it seemed to be interesting and pleasant for them. It was flattering to me. I cried when a lovely butterfly landed on my arm and found comfort staying for a while.
In our menagerie; were tigers, lions, cougars, lynx and a serval. Queen Nala the lioness came to us when she was five months old and weighed over sixty pounds. She made it clear that she wrote the rule book. She was still young enough and so cute that she insisted on sleeping in bed with people. At five a.m. each morning when it was time for her bed mates to get up and take her outside for her callings, they had better act quickly or meet the consequences.

It took Nala and I quite a bit of time to get our differences worked out. She felt I should be her slave and grant her many requests. She came with much anger over having to take pictures with children when she was a cub to help pay for her support. She never got over it and never liked kids. I became the butt of her anger. She felt it was my job to entertain her. One of her little activities was to have me pull her around in the snow on a shovel. By this time she has put on more pounds and when I fell down pulling her she would run and jump on top of me. The neighbors thought she was killing me and would call the sheriff. It was simply playtime. Soon she was too big to be on the outside of the compound so we put her inside with the bigger cats.

We continued that harassing relationship for about another year until one day we had a non-verbal understanding and chucked it all in the name of love. She no longer had a need to dominate and harass me and all the tension between us was gone. From that moment on she taught me valuable lessons and I showed her love, respect and compassion when she had a heartbreak (failed) relationship. She knew so much more than humans. When we stop thinking and talking we will know everything. God bless these majestic creatures!