acacia blossoms

acacia blossoms

Sunday, July 4, 2010

watching you watching me

father and son

We are in the midst of cold winter days. I have cold fingers and a cold nose – the end bit - and am wearing a jacket indoors. I am making coffee just to hold the mug and then nipping out into the bright sunlight to get warm again.   But I am loving it too. Our winter is so short, that wearing jackets, socks, jeans, and warm jerseys – all has novelty value for me. I love to snuggle under the blankets on a cold winter night and feel the nip in the air beyond my warm cocoon.

cold frogs seek the morning sun

We have been living with lions again.  Last week, three male lions strolled into the garden around sunset.  The big black maned lion, was accompanied by two young adult sons – lean and muscled, they walked in as if they owned the place.  Between them they scent marked every tree, bush and corner of the land around our house. They do own the place. They stalked around the house looking in the windows at us. Making direct eye contact through the glass. 

seeing double

Rayson came to join us in the lounge much to my relief, but he is very lion aware fortunately. He has to be. He spends a lot of time here on his own.  We moved carefully, speaking in hushed tones – enjoying the excitement, feeling safe indoors.

The dominant young male, who will soon have a rich dark mane like his father, ranged closer to the glass.  He tugged at the blanket that covers the wooden table under the trees.  Self consciously watching us as he tried to hook it with tooth and claw.  Then he walked onto the stoep and found the cushions.  K opened the door a crack and said ‘hey!’ assertively. They moved off reluctantly to the edge of the grass allowing us enough time to carefully retrieve the cushions. The table cloth was just too far away.

As soon as we were back inside, he returned.  Hmm – no cushions huh?  OK so I will take your spade.  Gripping the plastic handle he walked off triumphantly to the long grass with his prize as if hoping to provoke a reaction. Come and play? I don’t think so.

As darkness fell, soft and velvety around them, we became more intriguing subjects to watch.  We stood in awe being watched.  He came right to the glass looking at me. I stood stock still – less than 2 meters away from his nose. This incredible animal now felt less like a playful puppy and more like the super predator he is. The night did that I think.

He charged – bumping the glass. Twice.  Well if a monkey can jump through a window, this guy would have no problem. Also our window putty in ancient.  K took the spotlight and chased them away. Off they went melting into the dark.  We heard them calling loudly throughout the night. 

This morning before dawn, I heard that little sound the pride makes to communicate with each other over short distances, and call cubs to follow. It was outside my window. When I climbed out of the warm cocoon to look, they had gone.  Oh dear, we left the cushions out last night.  The house is ringed with tracks again. Cubs jumping on and off the boardwalk.  One cushion gone – foam chips everywhere. Another cushion dragged to the long grass, played with by muddy paws and lain upon.  Bite marks on the cane chair. There was a party here and it wasn’t us.

foam chips on the boardwalk

cub tracks in the sand


Diane said...

Well it least you having a cold nose means you are healthy:)

I love the big cats but maybe that is a bit too close for comfort. Think my glass would be double glazing..... Diane

Beatnheart said...


Lori ann said...

Oh Val! i am so happy to spend my 4th here with you and Keith and Rayson and the lions. Even if they did charge the windows (!)

They are gorgeous aren't they? they really are the king of beasts.

I'm working on the fingerless gloves for you, a bit slowly now, but hopefully they'll be to you soon.

Fantastic post!
(so glad you were able to get the great photos uploaded.)
xxx lori

Bonnie Zieman, M.Ed. said...

You live surrounded by such magnificent creatures! You also live with more courage than I!

Thanks for sharing this latest wildlife adventure with us Val.

Lorac said...

He took your shovel? Really!Hopefully he left it behind unscathed. Too bad they got your cushions. I can't imagine looking out my window and seeing a lion! I think I would have a heart attack right off! Love to hear you describe it though!

Val said...

Diane - double glazing would be tough in our summer though !

Beatnheart - indeed :-) thanks for visiting

Lori - how is the broken finger? internet connection has been beyond poor lately but i am stubborn :-)

Bonnie - its such fun having the lions around - really!

Lorac - yeah the shovel, cushions, anything portable really :-)

thanks so much for visiting and your comments
Blog on! xxxV

Some Birds said...

What an amazing post! I love the pictures as well as your descriptions of these visitors. So glad I followed the links from 'Beautiful World.'

mermaid gallery said...

I love visiting your world.....where the lions and elephant roam.....just fascinating!

Angela said...

Haha, yes we can laugh, here from our safety! I bet they enjoyed lying on the cushions (Paco does, too)when you did not look, but BEING looked at from 2 m away would be too much for me! Oh yes they ARE the mighty predators, and never forget it! I heard if they ever charge you really the best thing you can do is SHOUT at them (or blow a vuvuzela perhaps?).
Geeze, what a post again!

Janelle said...

ooooo darls....creepy man...too close and strange behaviour i reckon...scare them away a bit. i know i would. x j

Spiny Marshmallow said...

Jeez Val - careful hey. I agree with J. Dont let them get too comfortable. This isnt such normal behaviour - watch out for yourself, really. x

Kristin said...

Incredible. Despite your vivid description and beautiful pictures, it's hard to imagine myself in your shoes. It's utterly surreal.

Vagabonde said...

You are courageous! I remember being in a small cabin in the Montana mountains with a large bear watching through the window – I was petrified. But that was only once and you live with these animals. Lovely photographs – lions are such beautiful creatures.

Kerry said...

You go through more cushions at your place than anybody I have ever heard of, and for the most unusual reason.

Stay warm! Stay safe.

Miranda said...

Oooergh, I dunno Val. Sounds a little too close for comfort! Gorgeous creatures tho, great pics! xxx
Careful, hey.

Fire Byrd said...

What astonishing photographs or amazing creatures. I understnad they pose a real threat,but for me in the safty of England I'm just enjoying this post.
Don't get eaten!

Val said...

Some Birds - thanks for visiting - i am off to yours!

Susan E -I am glad :-)

Geli - aah a vuvuzela - now there is a thought.hehe

Janelle, Pam - ja, i hear you i hear you.. and i know you know! we are taking care and i think it is a phase. These are the same cubs, now big, who were at the pool party, so they are very familiar with our place.

Kristin - likewise - its the wonder of blogosphere i think. always a magical mystery ride.

Vagabone - wow a bear looking thru the window of your cabin! sheesh!

Val said...

some birds - thanks for the visit!

susan - we are in lion country right now :-)

Geli - aha maybe i should keep a vuvuzela to hand?

Janelle and Pam - i hear you, and we are being careful. these are the same lions that were cubs at the pool party earlier this year. they know our place well! xx

kristin - it feels pretty surreal to me too sometimes :-)

Vagabonde - wow a large bear looking thru your cabin window must be very imposing too! sort of puts you in your place in the big scheme of things hey?

thanks everyone! blog on xxxV

Reya Mellicker said...

Holy cow! What a story. When you make eye contact with them, do you try to "talk" to them? What does it feel like? Wow.

Marilynne said...

I got the shivers reading about the lions. Are you really safe with them so close?

Val said...

Miranda - yes - I know you guys know! we are pretty careful and its difficult sometimes not to get used to them in a way. but yeah - no closer for sure!

FireByrd - I will try not to!

Reya - i didnt think of that - maybe next time. actually i felt morelike the rabbit in the headlights at the time.

Marylin - yeah they are impressive creatures and the predator prey relationship is very real! we are careful though and then enjoy the excitement

thanks for your concern and lovely comments all. sorry my last answers got duplicated somehow - i thought the first were swallowed in our dodgy internet connection. cant seem to edit them now. oh well. enjoy and blog on, xxxV

karen said...

Oh the cushions again!!
Love those lions, and the frogs too. We have a pair living in our outdoor shower, and a tree frog in our inside one! blog on, indeed!!

Sciarada said...

Neighbors very intrusive but very beautiful

Val said...

kerry - hi there! yes you are probably right :-)

karen - i didnt know frogs could feel cold though?

Sciarada - haha nosy neighbours they are!


e said...

Blogger ate my first comment, so I'll try again...

Those lions are gorgeous, but a bit too close...

Of course, if I were living in their environs, I'd be only too happy to sacrifice a cushion or two...

I hope you are well, Val.

Val said...

hello e - thanks for trying again - yes all well thanks! hope so with you too? oh yes - the cushions are worth the lion visits and antics! xxV

Cheryl Cato said...

What a story! It is amazing as always. I am glad you are safe & know it must have been a frightening & exhilarating experience. Thankfully it's one you lived to tell.

Val said...

lizzy - thanks for all your comments! we love having the lions around for sure, and its fun and exciting but also can be dangerous so we heighten our awareness!
I am glad i live in bricks and mortar and not a grass hut - although i used to live in a tent and might again one day...!!


Just Another Savage! said...

Hey Val, thanks for visiting with Dancing with the Wildbeast, I tried to post your comment but something is amiss. wanted you to know You and Janelle are two of my favorites. Hope to see you up north or down in Niassa sometime. Best Audwin

Anonymous said...

I've missed blogland! The double lion heads pic is awesome and having them around is simply fabulous . . .

Your posts are my virtual bush fix