Friday, September 5, 2008

A Praying Mantis Ride

September 5th, 4:00-8:00 pm, our last drive

Quiet. Slow. Cloudy.

A solemn rhythm between the team. A new family. An appreciation of each other and shared dreams.

Thoughts of the routine at home, the reality of what can or will exist in between.

Tonight we see 68 dik diks. Gerenuc posing. Jackals and bat-eared foxes cruising the roads.

Kudu, their beautiful mauve color coat--dramatic horns and snow colored, bouncing tail as he bolts through the woodland.

Impala, males and their harems grazing in the fields of gold. Grasses fluttering, swishing in the sunlight.

White-tailed mongoose slinking through the brush.

An ardwolf rushing off to privacy--their uniqueness casting a forever imprint in my mind.

Bruce finds a juvenile praying mantis--and he is the exact color of the commiphora bark with spots matching the red earth. He is passed back to me, and proceeds to ride on my arm for the next two hours. He eyes me a bit, then uses his yogi-master limberness to stretch and contort each of his legs. He cleans his entire body, by sliding his twig-like leg through his teeth. He seems totally comfortable, unaware of the bumps, the quick wind that could lift him off my shirt and into the night.

We connect. Me and the praying mantis. I know he appreciates me, just as I do him. He is happy to be here with me.

The night air is brisk--subtle starlight, not the heavy blanket that's been covering me each night. Everything is softer tonight. I am letting go. Preparing for life outside of this place again. Maybe Kenya truly has a way of saying, "see you later."

A beautiful sunset--clear sky full sun falling over the horizon, gently brushing the sky with an amber hue. A brisk breeze, washing my face as I hang over the edge of our vehicle searching the Tsavo scrub for one last memory. One last impression.

But what I've gained is the ability to breathe with more focus. More truth.

It is time to go home. To inhale the beauty there, re-training my eye to remember all the sacredness I might have been overlooking. Time to be overwhelmed by the massive love I am so fortunate to be a part of.

Thank you, Tsavo.

Thank you, Kenya.

Thank you, Africa.

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