Like her protagonist Shannon Kendricks, Cathy Parker is an attorney. She volunteered as a zoo keeper's aide for eight years and did have a very special beluga buddy, Mauyak, just as Shannon Kendricks has. As to encounters with alien children, as in the trilogy, she is not saying. She was also a radio and print journalist and once was the 'Jill of all trades' for a small satellite paper in Wyoming. She did everything from taking to the photos to writing the articles and op-ed pieces to helping with layout and hauling the newspapers through blizzards once a week. As a result, she saw lambs being born and went on a cattle drive and ate her first (and last) Rocky Mountain Oyster. She has seen mountain gorillas in the wild in Rwanda and orangutans in Borneo and even rocked an orphaned baby orangutan to sleep on her chest. She has volunteered with a chimpanzee sanctuary for former research subjects. So you can see where her heart lies. Currently she lives in Costa Rica with her black cat. All similarities between her cat and the trilogy's Narcissus are purely and probably coincidental.
These are photos I took in 2014 on a remote island of Indonesia where we were welcomed most graciously. The parents were especially keen to have their young ones photographed. On to the Encounter. As you recall: Up close, I could see how huge she really was .... She looked right at me. She held my gaze. We connected.
For five seconds, nothing in the world existed but her and me. Yes, it was only five seconds, but it was also an experience outside of time, and therefore eternal.
I had been in swimming often at the zoo with the little harbor porpoise baby, Kahneek, and the three belugas, Inuk, Shiku, and my buddy, the temperamental Mauyak, feeding them, rubbing their tongues and lips-- for these are sensitive to touch and the belugas loved it—and trailing my hand along their sides. So, I was tempted to slide into the water and swim up to the huge whale which beguiled me. But, the waters of the Alaskan Sea were frigid and I would have succumbed to hypothermia long before I could ease up to the big girl, so I refrained. But oh, how I wanted to.
I simply soaked in the magical moment, fixing it in my mind forever.
Then she sank down beneath the surface of the sea and joined her baby. The two of them disappeared into the depths.