[Click on “Contents,” above, to revisit earlier posts in my African Safari series.]
African Safari – Part 13
Before our trip to Botswana my idea of seasonal perfection was fall and winter in the Northern Hemisphere. There’s nothing like a brisk autumnn morning when you can smell the crisp in the air and see vibrant oranges and reds against a brilliant blue October sky. Better yet, for me anyway, is the magic of a fresh snowfall that outlines familiar landmarks with poufs of white. At least that was always my view until we went to the Southern Hemisphere in August, the end of their winter.
Even now, nine years later, I can smell the velvety desert sage and feel the African air, soft as new flannel pajamas, against my skin. True, we weren’t there in the searing, humid heat of their summer, but their winter was as appealing as the snowy ones I love.
Even now hardly a day goes by that I don’t think of that trip — the one I so determinedly did not want to take — while conjuring some tiny detail to savor: the absence of outside influence, the simple life style, the welcoming joyousness of the people, particularly the children. Unforgettable, the way: elephants just materialize out of the bush; ferocious, tusked warthogs run daintily, tails held straight up like the antenna on a car; hippos’ broadcast their nightly, nasally wanh wanh wanh; lions seemed so small and looked so bored. I’ll always remember the enviable eyelashes of the giraffes; the zebras’ hysterical dog-like yaps; the skulking hyena; the rumbling thunderclouds that were Cape buffalo herds.
From the very first day Peter and I said we’d return the next year. But we didn’t, and now we won’t. Even though my husband’s mind is fading, he does remember that magical trip, and the memories are etched as indelibly on my brain as if acid on metal. I’ve only to think Botswana and I’m back there again.
Be content with who you are and where you are, and do whatever you can do to bring to others such contentment, and joy, and understanding that you have managed to find yourself.”
― Alexander McCall Smith, The Double Comfort Safari Club