Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Forever Young

How did I get here?
this day, today
filled with running, 
tasks, responsibilities
that I never dreamed, imagined
or ever really wanted.

these hands cannot
will not
dare not
(& I don't really want them to)
but they run...

Time past makes me want to cry though.

forever young
laughing curled into
a dark cave
ready to screw the world
and ourselves in the process

but we had each other
and that was more
than I had
in years before,
and some since

So, do I really want to live forever?
forever young?
testing, trying, proving, lying...
My answer,

but this song always takes me back to when I did...

Monday, May 30, 2011

Friends Along the Path

Within a short time, I was amongst friends again. It is amazing how when you travel, you can make friends at the drop of a hat. Your backpack alone gives you that first thing in common. The road erases your differences and you embrace people for their smiles alone.  It still amazed me though; that ease of friendships formed. Back home, you can pass a million faces and not look at any of them. Or worse, not talk to anyone for fear of the what ifs and the dreaded maybes that could harm you from the “strangers” that filled the world. As I ambled along though, all those strangers were friends that I just hadn’t met yet. I was ready and keen to meet them all.
The newest friends in my roster were Stuart and Rob. I met Rob in Malindi. After my long and uneventful night bus from Nairobi to Mombasa, I quickly moved along to Malindi. The plan was to explore Mombasa later on my way back through town. For now, I was headed  North on my adventures.
In the pleasant town of Malindi, I met Rob at the hostel where I stayed. Over the two days that I explored the coastal town, I got to know Rob a little bit. He was a quiet sort that had a bit of a weird feeling to him, but we discovered that we were both headed to Lamu, so decided to join forces along the way. Heck, we are all weird in our own ways and being a traveller made anyone alright in my books. Despite our differences, we were still on the same path.
So waving goodbye to Malindi, Rob and I climbed on board the bus to Lamu. It stopped on the side of the highway to pick up us dusty travellers, then we were off again. We found a seat and right ahead of us was Stuart, another backpacker. He was travelling alone from Mombasa, also headed to Lamu. We got to talking and figured that perhaps sharing a room between the three of us would help to stretch our traveller’s dollars a little further.  
Once it was decided, we all got to know each other a little bit better. Stuart was much more dynamic than Rob and we instantly clicked. We had similar taste in music, food and conversation flowed between us like water. By the time the bus pulled up to the ferry dock, I felt like I had known him for years. Rob, Stuart and I laughed and joked waiting for the ferry that would take us across to the island. I was excited to get to know another new place with my new friends. While it wasn’t a long crossing, by the time we reached the other side and landed on the vehicle-less island, I knew that my travelling companions were a good match for this new adventure. Lamu shimmered in front of us, like an oasis ripe for exploring. I faced it smiling. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Drip, drip, drip...

I can
not remember
a day that it hasn't
rained in the last weeks.
Every day. Maybe not all day,
but at some point every
Single day a little
bit more

and that my friends is a soggy 160 for Monkey Man's Sunday 160. Hope you had a sunny weekend!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Saturday's Email of the Week: When I am Rich

Saturday's Email of the Week
If it would ever stop raining here then maybe the lawn mowers could roll back out into the yard again. The grass is certainly happily growing, but soggy is the best way to describe my world this week. Sunshine is forecast for the day though, so I shall plan to soak up those rays this weekend (in between my children's busy social calendar - 2 birthday parties this weekend!)

Wishing you sunshine in your part of the world!


Turf Rolls on the Rock ...

Two Newfies were waiting at the bus stop when a truck went past loaded up with rolls of turf. 
Jimmy said, Im gonna do dat when I win da lottery.
What's dat den? asks Mikey.
Send me lawn away to be mowed."

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Battlefield

Creeping Charlie (weed)
Why is it that you put on this show
for me?
Like you have some worth
with that purple hue

Just creep 
back under the fence 
from whence you came
and trail
your damn roots 
with you

You are not welcome here.
 your showy ways
do not impress me -
nay, remind me 
that I stand no chance
against your onslaught.

I pluck 
and pull
grind dirt in toil
yet find o'ernight
you've slipped in 
another mile!

Ack, lost am I
on battlefield,
but next warpath 
I won't concede
to this other weed!
Into Jelly with thee!


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

An Offering

You are not alone
- not walking with silent steps.
I hear and catch tears 
falling behind those scarred hands,
then offer them to the rain

I am also going to link in a very late entry
to One Shot Wednesday

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Gander at Grizzly Bear

I found a new band today and I have to say that I am intrigued by them. So much so, that I watched several of their videos to get a better feel for their sound. Their music is very esoteric and great to chill out to. Their videos are all bizarre, requiring hallucinogenics to properly understand them (I suspect, I didn't experiment).

No matter, I just thought I would share. Here is the first video I watched by Grizzly Bear.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Polepole, I Travel Along

I stood in line and waited for the bus to load. We were supposed to leave at 9:00 PM. I shifted from foot to foot and looked around nervously. My eyes were peeled for the infamous pickpocketers that I had been warned about. Stories of buses getting hijacked or being driven into wandering animals in the dark of night plagued my imagination as well. Standing in a queue with a collection of strangers surrounding me, did not help matters. For the most part, we did not even share a common language. While I am sure there were some who understood English, my knowledge of Swahili was limited to Jambo = hello, jambo bwana = hello brother, and hakuna matata = no problem. That unfortunately wouldn’t take me far in an emergency though.
I just wanted to leave. I was conspicuously out of place with my backpack piled high with a sleeping bag and all my worldly possessions crammed inside of the bulging pack. My white skin shone neon against the majority of my dark-skinned neighbours. Once we were on the bus, I felt like I would be comparatively safer from the potential evils that surrounded me. I could hide in my seat, with only the worry of my seat mate. That alone would make it difficult to sleep on our seven-hour overnight journey. I did not sleep well on overnight trips at the best of times. I prayed that our drive would be uneventful and safe. I was glad that at the very least, we would not have to cross any borders during the journey. If I could get a little sleep, then the trip would be over before I knew it.
I shifted from foot to foot again and glanced at the clock hanging over the platform. Dim lights illuminated the hands on the clock face. It was time to go. A bus sat at another platform, but we had nothing at ours. While Nairobi to Mombasa was a major route between two influential cities in Kenya, I also knew that I was in Africa. African time was polepole.
Ah, there was some more Swahili for me – polepole meant slow or slowly. It had a strong link to hakuna matata. We could leave at 9:00, 9:18, 9:43 or whenever the bus finally arrived. No one sweated it or batted an eye. The women sat beside their giant red and blue checked plastic bags crammed with goods for market, with their babies strapped to their backs completely unperturbed. The babies slept or looked around themselves silently with large brown eyes. Not a peep was made. Men laughed and joked with other men, or amused themselves with games.
I tried to relax to the polepole schedule, but found myself looking at the clock again. It didn’t help that once I arrived in Mombasa, I would be in a new and foreign city. This time alone. Really, this was the first time that I had travelled all by myself. Always before, I had had family, friends or tour companies helping to set the itinerary. Now it was just me. My plans were loosely based, and I had no concrete destination in Mombasa or beyond. I refused to allow myself to think of the craziness of the situation. That was the nature of backpacking.
For the time being, I preferred to live in the moment though. With a sigh of relief, I saw the headlights of a bus swing into the parking lot. It pulled up to our platform and stopped with a release of air brakes. While it might take a while to get people and baggage loaded, it looked like we would leave soon enough. My smile returned, as I allowed myself to think about the adventures that lay ahead. 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Saturday's Email of the Week: I could use some of those

Saturday's Email of the Week

I am not sure if this was sent to me trying to tell me something or not. Hmmm... Well, I am not going to take offence, as it is pretty funny. I don't think I could pull it off, but desperation might force my hand one of these days. I am going out for dinner and then the theater tonight, so maybe I will get my chance yet. Ha.

Happy Saturday and I hope that all my Canadian friends have a lovely, long Victoria Day weekend.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Love and Some Verses

 ~ while Iron and Wine say it best, I will add some of my own visions of love today ~

You let me snuggle
icy toes resting on calves
and I sleep smiling

sweet warmth underfoot
promises of tomorrow
future round and cool
ruffled feathers envelop
until doting mate takes o'er
laughing eyes light on
my stooped visage uncurling-  
run screeching to arms
held straight with a back born fresh
now with love's sweet compromise  

Thursday, May 19, 2011

My Crabby Apple

Crab Apple is beginning to bloom

crabby appled kid
wreaked havoc on moods again
tears dispel thin peace 
forgiveness placed at table
eaten cold, but served with love

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Garden Walk

Today I am going on a garden walk. I need to let go of words and just be.
Grab a coffee and join me.


Jingle the bells
Soloman's Seal

Take a deep breathe...
Lilac's beginning to bloom

Feast your eyes here...
Pretty multi-coloured Phlox leaf that will provide more colour later in the summer

So soft...
Different kind of Phlox

Feeling royal with these delicate beauties...
Lily of the Valley

My stepable wildflower garden in the grass

The blister on my hand has almost healed, but it would appear my ministrations were in vain.

The tears of a tulip

The sun will come out 

Monday, May 16, 2011

making the call

Fighting back the tears
I reach for 
"Please help"

I can not do this anymore,
not alone.
I can no longer fight
the war that will not be won.

and I am bleeding...

the shaking begins 
 the story pours out
along with a single,stray, suppressed

i can not do this anymore
i hurt, i ache 
with every beat of your heart
my fears explode

Your ocean drowns me

 nascent blisters pop
unrecognizable excuses of life 
into my face
I shudder - not able to turn away

please help - I can no longer do this
the life raft I offer
is faded, peeling from 

I can not do this anymore

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Saturday's Email of the Week: A Smorgasbord

I have to say that it was a bit of a slow week for interesting emails. A gazillion recipes, lots of comment stream on Linked In, a few cutesy emails, but nothing that made me roll on the ground laughing or inhale sharply at the shock of it. Oh well, they can't all be banner weeks I guess. Perhaps I will just present you with a smorgasbord of images and snippets from my week via my life-line to the outer world - email. I hope you have a fabulous Saturday!

So on Thursday the kids and I went for dinner, then hit Canadian Tire to pick up a new inner tube for T's bike. We wandered around and as we were in the exercise-type aisles, I also picked up a step-counter.  The kids were gung-ho to buy some hand weights as well, but I managed to convince them out of them.

Why a step counter, you ask? Well, I have to admit that I fear all of this writing stuff might be a bit of a detriment to my waistline. I missed my weekly yoga class and didn't feel like I managed to squeeze in quite enough activity to make up for it. All the surfing I do just doesn't amount to quite enough calories burned I suspect.

So on Friday I strapped on the step counter, left my laptop behind and hit my gardens for a little fresh air and slugging of mulch. My shoulders got a mite rosy from my exertions, but my mood was elevated. By the time the kids came home I had burned off 150 calories, according to my new toy! While the girls ran naked through the sprinkler (first time this year!), I lovingly planted a few new specimens that we picked up from the garden centre on the way home. Yes, I love my gardens!

The forecast now calls for rain for the near future, so I stayed late into the evening to feel the grass between my toes. A discovery that our rhubarb was coming ready was cause to celebrate, so a bundle was picked. I think that perhaps tomorrow I can make use of one of those recipes that came in last week;

Aunt Norma's Rhubarb Muffins


  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups diced rhubarb
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease two 12 cup muffin pans or line with paper cups.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the brown sugar, oil, egg, vanilla and buttermilk with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour in the dry ingredients and mix by hand just until blended. Stir in the rhubarb and walnuts. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, filling almost to the top. In a small bowl, stir together the melted butter, white sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of this mixture on top of each muffin.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly pressed, about 25 minutes. Cool in the pans for at least 10 minutes before removing.

I will let you know how they turn out! 

For now I will leave you with a cute little poem that resonated with me from the week. I am sure I have read it before, and probably you have too, but it made me smile to re-read. Maybe I will vacuum and work on that sticky floor tomorrow after the muffins go into the oven...


Real Mothers don't eat quiche;
They don't have time to make it.

Real Mothers know that their kitchen utensils
Are probably in the sandbox.

Real Mothers often have sticky floors,
Filthy ovens and happy kids.

Real Mothers know that dried play dough
Doesn't come out of carpets.

Real Mothers don't want to know what
The vacuum just sucked up...

Real Mothers sometimes ask 'Why me?'
And get their answer when a little
Voice says, 'Because I love you best.'

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Gods Proclaim that my Work Day is Done

Twitter is over capacity. Blogger was down for over 20 hours yesterday. I am missing my latest post and really don't feel like re-writing it. It was a book review and I would like to include it here though, so just might have to. Sorry Book Thief!

What is going on in the web this week? I think that the God's are trying to tell me to get back outside and keep playing in the fresh air before the rains come. The forecast is for rain from now till eternity. Lovely.

So perhaps I will see how many more steps I can add into my day (I bought a step-counter to see how inactive I really am -Fat girl here I come!). We are supposed to take 10,000 steps a day (see an article I wrote about it here) and I am in the 3400 range right about now. I don't think I will make it today at this rate. That scares me for how inert I probably really am. Loving the life of a writer, but my butt certainly won't.

I am going to head back out into the yard. I spent the morning edging a walkway, garden and curb, as well as spreading some of the mulch around that I recently had delivered. If I want to beat that rain, I better act quick though.

Oops, I almost forgot that I have to pick my kids up though! Darn. I mean goody!! :) Maybe I can convince them that playing with mulch is a lot of fun! Oh boy! Or I can bribe them with a freezie. Now that's the ticket! 

Have a great weekend all!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Little Bit About Me Today.

Well now, isn't that a pretty thing! I have seen them around, but this lovely spring-feeling award comes from a new blogger that I've recently met. I found Sara from Starving Novelist on Twitter. While I am still feeling my way through the ups and downs of all things Twitterness, she seems to have it all down pat. She was very friendly and welcoming to me as well, which I am prone to like. And now what does she do, but present me with an award! Woohoo! I will take the cheap flattery and parade it around with me for the day, cus I'm like that I guess. You know that there are always strings with these things though. Drat.

Today's strings are simple enough;

1. Thank and link to the person who nominated you.
2. Share seven random facts about yourself.
3. Pass the award along to 5 new-found blogging buddies.
4. Contact the winners to congratulate them.

Easy peasy right! So a big shout out and thank you to Sara Burr for including me in the fun. Your random facts were a lot of fun. I can tell that we are going to get on just fine. 

Now I have to contemplate some random facts that you lovely people might be interested to know that I haven't already shared with you. Hmmm...

  1. I seem to have always been able to spin a decent yarn. Way back in grade school I wrote a speech for the annual public speaking contest. Everyone in the school had to write one and the best one from each class then had an opportunity to read their speech in front of the whole school. Well, I wrote a delightful little speech about some of the inventions that my Grandfather concocted, like the gotcha stick, the discomboobulator and I cannot remember what else. Anyway, I got lots of laughs in my class and was rewarded with the honour of reading my speech in front of the entire school! Accolades!!!
  2. Accolades aside, I was terrified. Fact #2 is that I was an extremely shy child that hid behind her mother's skirts whenever we were out in public. I did have a few neighbour friends, but most of my friends lived in the pages of books. Humourful or not, speaking in front of a rather large group of people was horrifying to me. I did it, but spoke into my pages and had my friends in the first row using stage whispers to encourage me to speak up that were louder than my own mousy tones. I would not be going on to speak in any wider circles after that fiasco, but I did eventually loosen up a tad. Friends and associates now would be shocked to learn that I was ever quiet.
  3. I might have been afraid of public speaking as a child, but I wasn't afraid of snakes. One summer while my sister and I were staying out at my Grandparent's house in BC, my cousins came to visit. My cousin Mike was a) a boy & b) a year older than me. That made him the leader of our little pack for some reason (there was him, me, my sister, who was 2 years younger than me, & his sister, who was a year younger than my sister). He came up with an idea to while away the hours on our senior citizen retreat island - putting garter snakes in people's mailboxes. Oh fun! Yup, we gathered up enough snakes to put one in each of the 6-7 mailboxes that sat at the side of the road, just up the hill from my grandparent's house. Hilarious, except for the fact that shortly thereafter we all went out for a drive and Grandpa decided to check the mail before going too far. Rats! Plan foiled and dirty looks were sent all around to us nasty kids in the back of the pickup. Fun while it lasted, but probably best that it was my Grandpa that found the snakes vs some poor little old lady who might've had a heart attack.
  4. While I frequently flew out to BC to spend summers with my grandparents, my first flight was a much longer affair. At 5 1/2 months old I had the pleasure of my very first airplane flight, all the way out to Cape Town, South Africa. I have no idea if I was a good baby or not or really anything about the visit at all, but that was my first flight. Not my last flight to South Africa though, as you all well know. :)
  5. Really, seven is such a large number! What else is interesting? Well, I don't think much of it, but most people think I am a bit of a freak as I don't like bacon. Not turkey bacon, or back bacon, or even that pre-cooked bacon (that looks pretty darn scary on the packaging and doesn't make me want to even consider it). My last bacon meal was a starvation-induced, bacon or nothing affair after a night of drinking at a friend's house. It passed my lips that morning, but no more (keep your knickers on though, as I can pick bacon bits out of a salad if I have to!)
  6. I also don't like olives, but feel less conspicuous about that. I use olive oil. I will eat pickles (home-made by ME of course) or pickled mushrooms, and have tried green and black olives on more than one occasion, but I just don't care for them. Sorry!
  7. Oh ho! Number Seven! Wonderful. Interesting fact number seven is that ... ummm ... errr... well... I, ah. Oh frig, you probably know more about me now than I do! How about, while my handwriting is generally legible, my signature is far from it. Scrawl! 
Woohoo! Did it. Oh wait. You say there is something more that I have to do? Lord have mercy! Ok, let me scroll back.


Oh yes, right, right, right! I am supposed to pass on my little award to some of the newest bloggers that I have discovered. Okey doke. how about we pick on Meg at Big London/Little London. She was in my recent writing class and could use a little love. Mama Zen at The Zen of Motherhood has been around for a while, but it hasn't been that long since I have been following her, so I am going to toot her horn today as well. Possum is also relatively new to my roster, as is Suzanne at Words that Work. There are probably others I could pick on, but I am tired and I am supposed to go let these lovely folks know that I have plagued them with this quiz awarded them for their merit! If you have read all the way to the bottom, good for you. This post has taken me longer to write than most and is all about me, me, me (so hopefully didn't lull you into sleep/an early grave).

Thanks Sara! It was fun!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

of life and love

listen to the wind
hear it cry of life and love
I nod in answer

At 5PM est, the One Stop Poetry doors will open on another One Shot Wednesday.
Will you be there?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Hakuna Matata

“Hakuna Matata! What a wonderful phrase.”

While this is a line from “The Lion King”, I learned it in Kenya. No worries, indeed. I heard this Swahili phrase everywhere I went. While I perhaps should have had a worry or two, this phrase stuck with me though. I held faith that everything would work out for me, as I travelled along.
At present, I gazed out the window of the Sunrise B&B into a throng of waiting taxis. There was a constant buzz of traffic, horns, music and people’s voices in the air. It probably wasn’t the best neighbourhood, but I wouldn’t be staying for long.  I had spent a few nights there before I went to the Masai Mara, and now had returned for a mere few hours. Only long enough to have a last visit with Amin and his wife. I had met him in a take-away the week before, and he had been the one to recommend this particular establishment. It wasn’t overly pretty, but it certainly had character being in the heart of this bustling neck of the woods. I didn’t go out after dark though.
Meeting Amin had been a God-send that I didn’t take lightly. Aside from the little packet of goodies that his wife had made up for me for my night bus to Mombasa, he had given me something much more valuable. This Edmonton, Alberta local was filled with the spirit of adventure himself. He had recently relocated from Canada and while his wife was still having a difficult time with the transition, their faith in “Hakuna Matata” was contagious. He had buoyed me up when I felt threatened with depression at my dismissal from the overland truck and now urged me on to the adventure ahead. He reminded me of the thrills of the road, and I could tell that he would love to take flight again, if the opportunity arose. His wife seemed only to dream of a flight back to Canada, but she gamely struggled on.
So for me, my road that night would take me on a dangerous adventure, from the accounts I had heard thus far. At 9PM, I would be taking the night bus to Mombasa and be rejoined with the coast. While I looked forward to arriving on the Indian Ocean, it sounded like my chances of arriving would be fraught with peril. More than one person that I met had fear in their eyes when I said that I was on the night bus. They told me stories of vehicles without lights colliding, the dangers of hitting animals on the road, as well as the threat of hijacking. I tried to take it all in stride, but I have to admit I was worried. By 9PM, it would be too late to do anything about it though, except for hopefully sleep some of my fear away. 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Snapshot of my Past

Mother's Day 2005
Sun shone.
gentle and mild
plastered faces in smiles
My first Day.

Eyes held a beginning tale
that would conclude 2 years later
when Daddy faded
from this picture

(Aw shucks, that isn't a very happy mother's day poem is it? The pic was taken on my first mother's day; a few weeks after Daddy was diagnosed with cancer. Daddy's kind of help to make Mother's Day more special, so even though it is supposed to be a day to celebrate me, I tend not to be so excited. I know my girlies have special treats for me though, so I will do my best to smile for them & be a happy mommy)

Happy Mother's Day to You
& Happy Sunday 160.
Go visit some of the other folks
who link in and get your fill
of reading about Mommy's praises
as I am sure they will abound.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Saturday's Email of the Week: I Need to Get ME One of These

Saturday's Email of the Week

Here is the answer to my prayers! Goodbye high priced vehicles! Sayonara to gas stations! Arrivederci to emissions. Adios to societal guilt that I am wrecking the world for my children's children. Totsiens to all that noise. Bring it on!


Now I just have to move to the States to get one! Doh!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Good People

Happy Friday my friends!

I have been working away today, studying trees, Mother's Day ideas, new social media avenues and working on my newest Twitter presence. I took a quick break to take a peek at my blog and was pleased to see all the comments I received from yesterday's post. You guys are all too sweet!

So I will dedicate this video (from one of my favourite bands - Great Big Sea) to you "Good People" today. Hope you all have a lovely weekend and Happy Mother's Day to all the Mommas out there!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I Have Succumbed...

I tried. I really did. I dragged my feet, refused to jump on the bandwagon, and swore it would lead to no good!

 I didn’t even look at it. Not a peep!

But the pressure grew. 


I give up! You win!

You can now find me on Twitter @KatherineKrige

( ^ )

There. A measly 55 words for you folk who have pushed me to the brink of sanity. Now I will never get any work done, sleep or probably even see my family ever again! 

Twitter! Why have you forsaken me!!!

Oh G-Man, what does the future hold now? I shall just have to avoid any more work for the day and tweet out all of the Flash 55s I come across at your place. 

(Please Lord save me from the social media world I have been sucked into. I am weak!)
But Geez its FUN!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My Rainbow

green orb
fills my head
leaking indigo
through my hair,
down my shoulders.
I struggle to breath
as I always do.
too wrapped
up  in  relaxing 
to know how
to just be.

Red sparks
pulse to pink blankets
gently resting on my chest
warming that stitched together
semblance of a 
heart that
no longer beats.
The  sun  rises
golden yellow filling mine eyes,
chest and radiating out thine arms
to fill the room. 
It breathes for me.

melting the tight knots
of yesterday's cares & dreams
Until orange remains
that tender power
wisping its way in to fill
what remains of my 
allowing them
to kindle and fire
a belly not known to 
as icy hands
smooth wrinkles
in swollen knee joints
and my eyes open 
to a day changed
by the breath
and love

A Metta Meditation offered today
May you be safe from inner and outer harm
May you be filled with peace and loving kindness
May you be filled with strength and health all of your days

I need to practice this myself today,
but offer loving kindness to you
and the world as well.
Peace my friends

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Birthday Present

Happy Birthday to me! I was not in the best of spirits when I woke up this morning due to a distinct case of “poor me” and loneliness, but the morning turned out pretty darn good. After yesterday’s sightings of “everything”, I figured today would not be all that exciting. Pretty hard to beat lions, a cheetah, hyenas, giraffes and thousands of wildebeest (plus, plus, plus!). We did a mighty fine job of it though. We watched five cheetahs devour an impala, while heaps of vultures watched on hoping for leftovers. We arrived moments after they had taken down the small antelope and  the band of cheetahs still panted from their exertions. They ripped it apart, growling at each other as they vied for a piece of the kill. Their furry faces were matted with blood before the feast was done. From the safety of our landrover, we observed the gruesome display of life on the savanna with clicks of cameras and hushed voices as a quiet backdrop to the setting. By the time the cheetahs were done, all the vultures  got was the stomach and intestines. They didn’t go very far. Before we knew it, the cheetahs were slinking away to rest and digest, and the vultures were picking through the grass to find any missed morsels that held more than the stomach full of grass that was gone in an instant. This was the cycle of life in the African wilds.
I reflected on my safari after returning to camp. I had thoroughly enjoyed the Masai Mara so far. There were heaps of animals here. The Masai Mara was in Kenya, but continued into Tanzania as the Serengeti. The political border was all that stood in the way of thousands of animals migrating from one location to the next. While I had not realized it at the time, July to October was the prime time for the Great Migration when literally millions of wildebeest, zebras, and many other species of antelopes migrated North into the Mara. It was absolutely incredible.
Yes, the wildebeest were very impressive creatures. It was wild seeing thousands upon thousands of them. At one point, our driver Jimmy drove us into the middle of a herd. We were surrounded by black beasts that stretched on and on as far as the eye could see. It was neat to see the way they migrated. One day, we came upon a line of them crossing the road late in the afternoon. They were all in a single or double-file line and when they got approximately 200 metres from the road, they started to run. We sat watching them for a period of time. The line stretched out forever it seemed. It was fascinating to watch. I laughed  as they crossed the road and continued for a bit before they jogged to a walk again. I couldn’t help but shake my head at the patience and orderliness of it.
During my brief 4-day visit into the game park, I was spoiled beyond belief with these animal sightings. They quickly followed each other in a succession of sightings till I felt like I was almost in a zoo, going from a cheetah lazing in the sun with a herd of wildebeest and zebra in the background, to two hyenas munching on a wildebeest with vultures on the side lines, to the sight of simple group of giraffes gently loping along in the African sun. In addition to all of that, we saw four lions lazing under some bushes to avoid the heat of the day. The male even got a bit of a root in, although the female did not let it last for long. As I said at the time, “typical male; after a good meal (wildebeest), all he wants is  a little piece of action”. Ha!
Oh, but was it ever hot during the day! Due to getting stuck in the dirt briefly, and watching our national geographic moment with the cheetahs, we ate a late lunch that day. Lunch was followed by a break, as we were in need of siestas ourselves. My pen scratched out the stories from the morning’s adventures, while I sheltered from the baking rays from the near equatorial sun. Once the heat of the day abated,  we would go on a bit of a walk.
The safari had certainly been worth it. While the people in my van were not the most interesting bunch, you can’t have everything. I got a chance to talk to some of Masai people that accompanied us on our game drives and helped out in camp. They provided an interesting study themselves. I found the women very beautiful.  In fact, I felt that the Masai were a good looking race as a whole. They had good facial features, were all quite tall, and had very interesting piercings. One of the men in camp told me how his were done. A hole was cut in his ear with a knife, and gradually bigger and bigger pieces of wood were put in the hole. He said it took two months to get to the size the holes were now. The lobes dangled down towards his shoulders loosely. And while the lobe looked like it would have no feelings left, the young man encouraged me to feel it, and replied that  it still did. Interesting, to say the least.
By the end of the day, we had taken in a nature walk as well. I showered, then popped the top on a bottle of Claret Select by Drostdy-Hof. It was my last birthday present to me for the day. Not a bad birthday all around with game viewing, a nature hike, good meals and a bottle of nice, red wine. It was my first birthday away from distant relatives, but I survived and had a list of new animals spied to add to my growing list of sightings.

New Animals Spied
ü  Topi
ü  Grant’s gazelle
ü  Thomson’s Gazelle
ü  Dik-dik
ü  Hartebeest
ü  Masai Giraffe
ü  Olive baboon


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