You may or may not know Rob, and I have taken some much needed time off and have landed in South Africa. I can wholeheartedly say that this is a fabulous part of the world. We have seen “ The Big Five”: the Lion, Leopard, African (Cape) Buffalo, Black Rhinoceros and the Elephant. They are the five animals that everyone hopes to see when on Safari but they are apparently the most difficult to find/track. Needless to say, I’m bursting with joy at the chance of seeing all of them. And, if you’ve heard me say it once, you’ll hear it until the day I take my last breath… God is so good to us! He even cares about details like this and to top it off, we have had great weather as well.
Part of the joy I’ve had on this holiday has been through sending my photos back to my family. I’m not the best photographer, but I’m doing my best to share this adventure with them. Every day there seems to be something new that captures our attention and leaves us awestruck. The African bush, the spectacular animals. I’m just trying to take it all in.
In addition to ‘The Big Five,’ we’ve seen Giraffes, Rhinos (both black and white), Hippos, a Leopard with its fresh kill of an Antelope. We actually sat and watched the Leopard prepare the Antelope after the kill and take it up into a tree for safe keeping. As strange as that was to watch, it was spectacular. Nature in all her glory. As we watched the Leopard, we could see her breathing deeply, panting from exhaustion from extending herself to the limit for the kill. Every moment counted as she carefully managed the post-kill process. She took her time, regaining her energy as she manipulated the kill for her to be able to move with ease. She meticulously cut the stomach out so it would be light enough to drag up into the tree. According to our guide, the kill would be about 3-4 days worth of food for her and her cub so it was imperative that she did everything to protect what would sustain them. I couldn’t help but feel for the poor old Antelope.
We saw other Antelopes and huge Elephants with their babies close to their sides. Some would roll in pools of mud to cool down, others rest along shorelines and in tall grass. We saw Eagles, Vultures and many other birds of various colours and sizes. I could go on and on, but one thing that that stood out to both Rob and I and appears to be common to all these magnificent creatures is their love and devotion to their own.
We had the opportunity to take rest and sit amongst a pride of Lions (approx 16 including all the cubs). Definitely, something I will never forget. We sat for over an hour watching, listening and, in fact, learning. It was both fascinating and surreal at the same time.
It felt like we had been invited into their living room. We sat in our vehicle in the middle of them and right by the watering hole. We soaked it all up as they went on with their day as if we weren’t even there. It was so natural, absolutely breath-taking. We could smell them, hear them breathing, listen to them lapping the water as they drank it. We could listen to the cubs make their funny little noises as they
played with each other and their Mums. We saw how they love to bond with each other by just walking up to one that is lying on the ground, push up against them and then just plop down on top of them so they could cuddle.
It was interesting to see the different personalities, some cubs were more mischievous than others, some mothers were more tolerant than others, and some were more demonstrative than others. The older cubs sometimes pushed the younger ones over and yet other times helped them. There was harmony, and they all knew exactly the order in which the pride operated.
It reminded me of how we humans live. Except I think they have and show more respect and honour for each other than we do. As humans, we have such an incredible privilege of making so many more deliberate decisions about how we honour and value our own, we can empower each other so much more, help each other dream so much bigger and create a world of abundance for each other.
God has given us authority and ability to create. These animals are genuinely unbelievably beautiful, but they live lives of limitation merely because they can’t build as we can. As parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, extended family, we can create an environment in which the children of the future and we can exist in.
May we use the gifts we have been given to create an environment of hope, love, security and big dreams. May we breathe life into our own world so we can all thrive and see the world be what it was designed to be in the beginning. It’s there for us to create. Who is with me?