|That black line in the middle-ground... Not trees... Wildebeest|
|Zebra accompany the wildebeest on their migration|
I've always thought you were kind of weird looking, and to be honest, having met you in person, I still do, but I have to thank you for your gift to me, a profound experience. You may not be pretty, but you are amazing and I will forever think of you with fondness and awe.
Observing the part of your astounding migration cycle where you traverse the Masai Mara and the Serengeti was one of the most exciting and humbling events in my small life. We humans tend to be such vainglorious creatures. You... you are truly glorious. You embody the connectedness of Life, the interdependence of land, beast and vegetation—put it this way, you make me want to bust out my own off-key version of The Circle of Life.
|And there they were... thousands of them...|
For the next two weeks, wherever we drove, for hundreds of miles, you were with us, dotting the lines of our vision. Endlessly restless. I watched as you responded to the scent of predators, crocodiles hidden in the mud, lions almost invisible through the grasses. From my perch atop a 4-wheel drive, I cheered you on silently as you huddled nervously together along the river bank then surged as a single thrashing beast to the other side. I was so engrossed I didn't take a photo — I couldn't bear to take my eyes off you.
|Collective gasp as flamingo take flight in the pink of dawn|
You were with me that chilling morning at the bottom of the Ngorongoro Crater when I saw a lake pink with flamingos and watched a lion, exhausted and muddy having just taken down a buffalo, defend it from a mob of thieving hyena. You with your oddly sloping back and serious grey-bearded face.
My dear Wildebeest, you are my David Attenborough. You led me through the wildlife documentary world of Kenya and Tanzania to the base of Kilimanjaro. Because of you, I have watched baboons play, seen a lioness defend her young, come to appreciate the diversity and beauty of birds, been raced by a crazy warthog and awoken by elephants eating our thatched roof. I have witnessed the mating dance of an ostrich and been both fascinated and repulsed by vultures cleaning a carcass. You took me on a journey like none other, via dusty villages where tiny children herded animals, past young Masai warriors, and along roads where the air was filled with Sunday song as locals celebrated their faith in churches without walls.
Wildebeest of Africa I love you, and am forever in your gratitude.
|I had permission to take this beautiful shot.|
|A tiny lilac-breasted roller with an elephant backdrop|
|Being this handsome gets boring|
|Yep... A tree-climbing lion|
|Mmmmm ...sun! (I call the little guy on the right Dopey because he reminds me of the Disney dwarf.)|
|A sunset shuffle|
|She had to fold herself up to get down and eat acacia pods|
|I could go on forever but will stop here. All of these photographs were taken by me with my trusty Nikon Coolpix P510. They have not been photoshopped.|
Song of the Day: The Gnu Song (written by Flanders and Swann) as performed in Episode 519 of The Muppet Show.
Question of the Day: Have you had a life-changing experience with animals?