There is a rapture on the lonely shore;
There is society, where none intrudes.
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more...

-Lord Byron

04 March 2015

tracking Rhino scat.....

When the girls approached me about wanting to do a "walking Safari", I thought that this must be the first scam for outdoor adventures that I've come across in Africa. No way you could "walk" where Africa's Big Five animals are....

No Way Possible.

But they were insistent, and the hotel said they had heard nothing but good things about it. What the hell, tomorrow was our last day in Zambia. I told them I would go along.

We wake up around 6am the next morning to get an early breakfast before they arrive to take us on safari. A Toyota pick up truck pulls up, with two guides, one male the other female, in the cab.

"Jambo!" I inquire as to where the three of us should sit, but the girl climbs into the pickup bed so we can fit into the cab of the truck. I feel bad for her as there is frost on the window.... but off we go.
About twenty minutes later, we pick up our tracker, then turn off the main road onto a dirt trail. No locked gate to pass through, no National Park entrance fee. We simply enter the bush of the Motherland.
The guide drives for a few more minutes, then abruptly stops as we are informed that this is where we will begin our search for the Rhino that lives in this area.

The tracker cautions us to be very quiet, then starts searching the animal scat on the ground so that we have a sense of what direction to be going. If this sounds surreal, trust me, it felt surreal!
We start hiking along, making our own trail as we go. Animals start to appear, and it is unbelievable to me how close we are to them in their own natural habitat.
As I'm enjoying the scenery around me, our tracker suddenly motions all of us to stop immediately, as he is pointing forward and up towards a large acacia tree. A mighty giraffe is staring intently at us, no more that 20 feet away.

We wait him out, then continue onward. My heart is racing uncontrollably. The Rhino scat is getting fresher, and we walk slowly and quietly forward.

Will we actually find a Rhino in the bush by tracking scat?
I'll let you watch the video for the big reveal that happened, but trust me, it was our most satisfying breakfast ever when we were done.
*******


01 March 2015

No Snow Geese here...

One year ago I heard about the annual Snow Geese Festival in Delta, Utah. The town sets aside a weekend to witness the annual migration of the snow geese from Mexico to Canada, making a stop in the fields and waters of this small town in Central Utah. Nature has it's own schedule though, one that can not be set by man's clock. I re-learned this truth whilst staring at empty lakeside beauty in the early morning, as the snow geese were nowhere to be found.
I did however, find other more recently lost treasures of our ever changing modern world. I muse for moment, then make the quick and spontaneous decision to slowly make my way back home through the dirt roads of Great Basin National Park, with a good portion along the Pony Express route of old.
Cars and people along this desolate stretch are replaced with the occasional pronghorn antelope and abandoned mines. I stumble upon a bird refuge called Fish Springs, and get my need of seeing the Snow Geese replaced with the observations of other species....mallards, cranes and Canadian geese.
Interspersed with bouts of high winds and blinding snowstorms, I find a new adventurous weekend from the one originally planned, making it all the better.


22 February 2015

Tybee

Palm trees in the distance, a rickety and wooden fence line in  the sand.
A mild winters day on the Atlantic. The birds far out number the brazen souls that are scattered here today. The concrete pier is a lone king to the foamy waves that end their long journey here from the western lands of Europe.
You are pulled into the symmetric pillars that give rise to the lone king. One step closer to understanding.
In the blink of a watery eye covered in dust, you disappear, the lone king remains in it's concrete solitude.
Unwavering.

14 February 2015

The Great Divorce

It was a rare impulse buy. I saw tickets for a show called "The Great Divorce" by one of my favorite authors, C.S. Lewis.

Yet I hadn't heard of this book, or play, or whatever it was.

Nevertheless, I purchased a ticket. One might say I was inspired to do so, perhaps a force from above or beyond told my subconscious this was where I was to be today.
"C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce is a classic Christian allegorical tale about a bus ride from hell to heaven. An extraordinary meditation upon good and evil, grace and judgment, Lewis’s revolutionary idea in the The Great Divorce is that the gates of Hell are locked from the inside. Using his extraordinary descriptive powers, Lewis’ The Great Divorce will change the way we think about good and evil."

It certainly succeeded in that respect. While trying to wrap my mind around its concept, one line kept repeating itself to me...

"Heaven and Hell are only concepts in our mind"

The Living Planet

It' a rare treat that I actually do something in my hometown, what with constant road travel and everything.

The world is a big place.

Occasionally though I do find myself home for a weekend, and on even more rare occasions, I get to play Uncle with my nieces and nephews.

On one such Sunday, it all worked out where the four of us enjoyed a warm winter's day exploring the new Living Planet Aquarium at the south end of the valley.
It's a place where everyone can be a kid under the wonderment of nature. We learn about shark feeding habits, the close knit family habits of penguins, the solitary life of jellies.

We see new creatures and our imaginations soar. We touch the skeletal remains of the deep ocean.

Twas a nice Sunday.