Evening. The sun is sending honey pink streamers across the sky. The impala herd flows in procession from left to right and back again. They are like a school of fish swimming through a jungle of green leaves and grass – filing past windows in the view. The ground birds are calling – proclaiming their territories. The light is soft – diffused.
From the forest the crack of a branch breaking, then another signals elephants. We sit waiting for them to emerge from the forest, watching the curtain of green for glimpses of elephant shapes. The moon is high, waxing gibbious on its way to full moon. A blue moon to mark the start of 2010. Once in a blue moon – perhaps this time the new years resolutions will hold?
The birds settle and the bush goes quiet as the day shift knock off, and the night shift are starting to wake. The elephants wait as light fades, until it is the same colour as their dusty grey hides. Pieces of grey appear amongst the green. A glint of a tusk gleams whitely. It all happens fast now. Elephants are morphing out of the forest right left and centre. Suddenly our view is full of mighty Jurassic creatures.
Matriarchs walk purposefully to the waterhole, tiny calves in tow. The bulls rush to join them in the delicious reed beds, but soon the cows and calves are pushed on as the waterhole fills up with bulls young and old. They fan out. Browsing on new mopane leaves, pulling up tufts of lush green grass, checking everything for palatability – they haven’t been here in a while and the summer growth is enticing.
The small waterhole nearest the house, is a favourite drinking spot of the warthogs who mud bath on the edges. A young elephant discovers this emerald jewel, and is followed by his bigger siblings. They crowd in, and the air is full of munching slurping noises. A push and shove of silent beasts in grey light, their presence told by their noisy eating habits only.
Light fades to monochrome moonlight. Grey shapes and shadows move all around amid the bushes and trees. One elephant lifts its trunk high. The wind is swirling and she has caught out scent. The group pauses for a second or two, and then turn as one, moving steadily away. Withdrawing from the cool water and luscious salad feast. They melt into the twilight – moving fast but not running. Here and there a flash of ivory, giant legs like tree trunks make negative shapes, ears flap dark shadows. The stragglers follow the herd on into the mopane. A bat swoops low overhead and the elephants are gone like a memory of a dream.