In response to Ailsa and her Travel Theme Challenge.
Not too near and not too far
Out of the stress of the crowd
Music screams as elephants scream
When they lift their trunks and scream aloud
For joy of the night when masters are
Asleep and adream.
Lawrence, D. H.
A camel makes an elephant feel like a jet plane.
― Jackie Kennedy
The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge this week is “On The Move”.
The Daily Prompt is “Twilight Zone“.
The Great Migration is a cycle of life and death, played out on the plains of the Serengeti (in Tanzania) and Masai Mara (in Kenya). Some 1.4 million wildebeest, 250,000 Burchell’s zebra and a smattering of trailing Thomson’s gazelle make this year-long round trip. In fact, around 250,000 Wildebeest and 30,000 zebra perish in this tough trek, mainly younger ones. Along the way, many migrating animals become prey to predators including lion, cheetah, crocodile and hyena.
We were one of the lucky people who actually witnessed this event. The Wildebeest would approach the river that they had to cross in response to a lack of drinking water. There appeared to be a leader who, to me at least, was surveying the crossing for predators. He would approach, look around, sniff the air, and taste the water. The first couple of times he, along with the rest of the heard just made a circle and returned in a few minutes. What he was seeing was crocodiles in the river and at least 3 lions on the far side who were also staring at him. Once the stampede began the sound was unbelievably loud with snorts and the water splashing as the Wildebeest began the crossing. Once the leader started across it was like an auto expressway at rush hour. Suddenly a crocodile sprang out of the water and grabbed the Wildebeest and drowned him. Other crocodiles join the fray. The Wildebeest far outnumbered the crocodiles and most made it to the other side. On that side were waiting a dozen or so lions who joined in the feast. The squealing sound was surreal. While having the appearance of a frenzy, recent research has shown a herd of Wildebeest possesses what is known as a “swarm intelligence”, whereby the animals systematically explore and overcome the obstacle as one.
This picture was taken on our recent vacation in Kenya. In fact on our last day. Our guide himself had not seen anything like this. You think you are alone on the large plains of the Serengeti and Masi Mara but the tour jeeps are in constant contact with each other. Once we found these Wildebeest getting ready to cross our guide contacted other tours and within minutes there were around 10 jeeps loaded with tourist like us. Guides are below:
…nothing. It’s still hard after all these years to reach out for someone in the hour before daylight and find nothing. Nothing to touch. Nothing to snuggle up to. Not even the heavy breathing that characterized her final days. She had been my faithful companion for the last fifteen years.
Lucy also had an attitude problem. I would joke with my friends that she even walked with an attitude. It was like her body language said “You want a piece of me? Well bring it on mister.” She became ill a couple of years ago and her state of health was deteriorating quickly. In her last days she became very irritable at the slightest little change in her daily routine. I now had to feed her myself. And she hated taking her pills that the doctor had ordered for her. “What do they know about my state of heath. I bet they look it all up on Goggle and then regurgitate the information hoping that I would understand what the hell they were saying.” On her last medical appointment the doctor had prepared me for the worse case scenario.
Her death came very quickly. I put her in the hospital the night before and the doctors called me late the next afternoon to say that I should come down to the hospital quickly to say my goodbyes.
As I entered the hospital I was greeted by a very somber technician who lead me to a “grieving room”. This room smelled of death. There was no hiding or masking of that smell. After a few minutes they brought her body in. She looked wide awake. Too wide awake. She had her leg bandaged in preparation for inserting the needle that would take her to another world. In a few minutes it was over. I stayed and prayed for what seemed like days. I don’t usually cry but I sure was making up for that in a big hurry as the tears would not stop.
When I was ready to leave they had already put her in an urn. She now rests on top of the fireplace mantle with our other deceased cats.
In this weeks Carpe Diem Haiku Kai Special challenge “Little Ones” we are asked to create an American Sentence. Created by Allen Ginsberg to make an “American” form of haiku, the sentence follows the same syllable count as a traditional haiku: 17. Written left to right vs vertically.
Inquisitive face, wagging tail, pleading their case, wishing beyond hope.
“Come out here KoKo”, her mate requested.
“I’m watching “Pretty Woman” on my big screen. Then I have to answer my emails. My inbox is at 124 unread messages right now. Then I need to finish a chapter in my latest book “The Thoughts of a Gorilla”. I want Julia Roberts to play the lead when it comes out as a movie. Tell those pesky tourist to please go away. I need peace and quite to concentrate on my brand.”
“Your brand? What the hell does that mean. You can do or say anything and it will strengthen your brand. Just don’t scratch yourself you know where and everything will be just fine.”
“Listen, I know over 500 sign-language words and I’m about to use a couple of them on those peeping toms! You know my motto: Avoid Pain/Seek Pleasure. People should be polite to Gorillas.”
These words form my entry into this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction challenge.