Get off my Territory Boys – The Girls are mine

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I’ve been on holiday as previously posted, in Paris, but just prior to going there, I had the fantastic opportunity to visit South Africa.  People say to me, so what happened, did you go on Safari.  Well as a matter of fact, I did do what is commonly called a game drive.  Game Drive’s are fairly structured experiences, where you go lodge at a game park, IMPODIMO was the one I stayed at with a group of associates as a kind of wind down from a pretty hectic promotional event at Sun City earlier in the week.

The Game Drive takes place either early morning or early evening, and in this particular case, we set out after a late lunch and decided to go looking for lions.  Our party was not there to shoot anything but photographs, and I have to admit my professional photographic equipment consisted of a flip camcorder and a black and white film camera.  I think I filled up the roll of 24 black and whites the day before on my olympus mu 35mm snap camera and so was down to using a hand held flip HD camera to record the experience.

We really had a fantastic guide and tracker on our truck.  The truck was a landrover and purpose built for the kind of bush bashing they do out on the game parks in South Africa…. but on with the story.

In our case we were looking for lions.  We really hadn’t seen any so far.  I had seen a bunch of jackals trying to climb a tree to get an eagle, which to my mind was the picture of futile endeavour.  Perhaps the jackals had a bet with each other, it was like that… but back to the story…

Yes lions were the go, our driver guide and tracker were pretty sure they knew roughly where the lions were… on the far side of the park.  To get there we had to drive for an hour i guess to the North East edge.  Our normally sedate type of driving was interrupted by a big bull elephant, who seemed intent on:-

a. Not letting us get to see his herd of 50 or so female elephants

b. Frustrated with not being able to get with any of them himself

c. Other elephant things I could not figure out

So after a game of cat and mouse with the elephant, it decided to chase us off the road and into the bush, where our intrepid driver and tracker carefully outsmarted said large black bull elephant by playing a decoy-waiting game.

So this is about how close the elephant got to the truck before we high tailed it out to the bush on the other side of the road, still in full sight of the elephant.

I could write more on this post about the strategy by which we were able to outsmart it, and the fact that eventually we did get to drive through or past the herd of 50 female elephants, but that is another story…

I could write about how we caught up with the lions and how we took sundown photos of them, and how just when we were all settled down, same said male elephant came trundling through the darkness and scared off all the lions at a frightening pace, as well as our mates in trucks..but that is another story..

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My Wire My World

There is a creek rushing down the rocks of the sunken bush valley. Houses perched on sandstone slabs jutting from the valley sides.  The blue sky framed by the mountains on either side of the creek, and the gum trees all over the place all directions and stretching up all over in green and bark bits falling off after the rains. Above the creek and the horizon is a thick twisted power wire strung above a swimming pool where in the surrounding rocks are born lizards.

I come down here to the wire each day, it’s a good spot to sit and get a view of the pool.  The owners keep it clean, and only seem to use it on weekends, and then only for an hour or so.  In the meantime I can comfortably sit quietly and wait for a lizard to turn up.

But today is different,  I have noticed a kind of menace in the air and just now two Myna birds have come and sat on the wire about two wing lengths from me.  They start snapping like it is their wire.  The lizard does not move below.  Waiting for me, as I am for it.  The birds don’t care about the lizard, they only care about territory, which is not theirs by the way.  I clearly own the territory here.  I laugh about it each morning but these birds will keep trying for a bit.  I don’t move a muscle, but my right eye is focussed down on the lizard below.

Finally one of the Myna creeps along the wire, bending forward toward me, snapping it’s clicking beak in an earnest but futile attempt at claiming my wire.  The same wire that we will both be back on tomorrow for more laughs. I ignore the Myna and then just inches from me, the Myna quits and departs for another place.

I don’t move, but wait for the lizard to come out.  A cloud passes over the sky with a shadow below the wire.  The lizard decides to go back under the rock.  The creek makes the only sound in the valley now.

We shall see who comes again tomorrow then and perhaps get a better handle on the feeling of menace in the air with the sound of the water in the valley below.

CJS April 2012

Photo “Kookaburra” attrib. G Crouch – Flickr