acacia blossoms

acacia blossoms

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

butterflies and lions

I didnt sleep much last night. Sometime after midnight hyenas were
calling all around. Their calls turning to mad cackling - maniacal
laughter with another purpose ; they homed in on a kill and suddenly
all was quiet, but I was now wide awake. A low moaning groaning sound
came from somewhere outside - something dying? or living? I got out
of bed to make some tea. The power was off so i lit a couple of
candles and stared out into the black night. Stars bright as
torchlight shone back at me - the big dipper just visible above the
northern tree line.Somewhere out there elephants were browsing - their
primeaval screams rending the still air. Night passed slowly - tick
tock. Imagine how slow it would go if i was out there sitting under a
bush..with nothing but my wits to protect me. I could be in a lot of

Sometime before dawn i fell asleep , waking groggily after sunrise.
Lions are calling in the east. Grabbing cameras, binoculars, coffee
we head out to try and find them. We did not have to go far, two
females and a young male are arranged around a termite mound near the
track. Looking quite sleepy, but not completely - a condition i
empathised with - they blinked golden blinks as the morning sun found
their liquid eyes. Giant soft looking paws, folded neatly below the
chin; a splash of dried mud/blood makes a saddle on a tawny back
telling of the nights efforts to hunt. Heads nod, but are instantly
alert to any sound or movement in the periphery. Purple blue shadows
move around the termitaria as the sun rises. Butterflies flit busily
in a foreground of wild dagga plants.
Behind us water reflects ice blue and still as a mirror. Waterbirds
stalk the receding shores. A fish eagle breaks cover from a tall rain
tree and swoops accross to an island of trees on the far shore.

But these cats are still hungry. A group of giraffe appear from
behind the rise. Necks rising like a bunch of sticks - staring rudely.
The lions stare back, moving into a low ready-to-move position. The
giraffe stare interminably. Never get into a staring contest with a
giraffe! Finally they start to move off and become more interested in
each other again. The lions however are reminded of the need to feed,
and start to move steadily along the tree line until they reach a
vantage point over a small waterhole. The two females take up
strategic positions. A chubby looking warthog is heading this way -
head down, grazing, distracted. Tension mounts. Suddenly something
alerts him. His body changes shape with the tension of awareness. head
up, tail up, ears eyes nose - all the senses primed to receive
information no matter how subtle. He takes off towards the water -
the two lionesses follow at a steady lope.

An impala accross the water spots them and runs, raising the alarm for
another group of warthogs. Their cover is blown. They head back to
the shade of the croton bushes on the treeline - casting around for
other possible prey items on the way.
The suns warmth is intensifying though, and soon they join the young
male lion in the dappled shade. A francolin flies in to his usual
roosting spot - sees the lions and does a last minute swerve. Sleep
overcomes, heads droop and keel over, paws rise and fall, tails flick.
Time to sleep off the days heat - unless something tasty walks by.

(photos coming soon!)


Reya Mellicker said...

I am so thrilled that you're back in the blog world, hooked up and writing.


Lori ann said...

I had the same kind of night, but instead of hearing lions roaring in the distance I listened to the ocean...and dreamed of Val, your delicious post has just added more fuel to my imagination, and I feel for sure I will be quite useless at work today! I can't concentrate!! 13 more days!!!!!
wonderful post as always,thank you. I hope you get your sleep tonite.
♥ lori

Anonymous said...

Who said a picture paints 1000 words. Your words paint 1,000,000 colours in 1 image

love it - my virtual dose of much needed soulfood - thank you

Tessa said...

What familiar feelings your beautifully written words evoke.

Anonymous said...

That's a wonderful description. How do you get close enough to look, but stay safe?

Rosaria Williams said...

I'm still trembling, for the drama all around you. No wonder you can't sleep. Now, tell us you are safe and soundly dreaming.

Debby said...

I know the lions need to feed, but I've a soft spot for the warthogs. I'm glad they didn't become at least.

Fire Byrd said...

I've just had to look around me to get my bearings. I was with you watching the drama unfolding.
And I've had to bring myself back here to the reality of being naughty when I should ge getting sorted for the morning.
Thanks for my mini safari, it was wonderful.

Val said...

hi everyone - thanks for your kind comments :-) it does feel like a dream sometimes - have to pinch myself; noisy night again last night - fantastic!!
xx blog on!

Kristin said...

I love your words. I've got images blinking, hunting and loping through my mind. Better than TV.

Unknown said...

What an evocative post. I came for a visit on Reya's recommendation, and I'm so glad - looking forward to more beautiful African adventures.

Angela said...

Dearest Val, thank you for the adjustment of writing size!(the laughing photo was still a bit too small, it is so lovely!) Oh, what an incredible post again! If you would just hold your camera (with sound) out into the night and speak the words from your post alongside, you would have us all trembling beside you! Do it! Get Derek to make such a Val-at-home-and-around-film! We`d all LOVE it!

e said...

Wonderfully vibrant and articulate. You should really write a book, too. People would love it. Hope you are well.

Eleonora Baldwin said...

Ciao Val,
I'm here visiting from two mutual blogger friends, Lori and Nicky (Absolute Vanilla).

Your posts are a gasp of warm African air. Parched rusty-colored soil in my nostrils, the powerful pride call of the lion... the giraffe staring contests, the fish eagles diving down for prey...

With just a few evocative paragraphs, you brought me there in the bush. In the midst of a place that has left a significant mark.

Thank you for that. I can never get enough of Africa.
Take care of Lori when she will come along soon, and please allow me to come visit here again. I need your African words like oxygen.

Val said...

Kristin - just read your meme and loved it - very cool

Sandra Leigh - thanks for the visit! glad you liked it :-)
Geli - the writing seems to come out all different sizes now - was going to change the colours but Chimera just told me it is accessible sight wise for her - so the red/yellow stays!

e - thanks so much - oh yes The Book .....

Lola - thanks for visiting and i am really hoping to see Lori soon