cronechronicler

Exploring the poetry of everyday life

Journey Into Africa 1994: Circle of Words

Journey long over
Tales memory enfolded
Dormant words waiting .

Wonder of wonders
My stories now live again.
Words freshly “Word-Pressed.”

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Journey Into Africa 1994: Circle of Night and Day

I looked up at rain-freshened evening sky
Heavens so high you can see past forever.
Watched a full moon rise beaming soft light
Saw millions of stars sprinkled like sequins
Flung across inky black background of night.

Before daybreak next morning, all wrapped in silence
Waking-up world enfolds me in enchantment
Alone with my coffee before morning game drive
I sit with animals invisible in darkness.
I saw them yesterday, know they are there.

Stars still in their heaven the birds start to call
Life all around stirring, a new day beginning.
Small creatures chirp, buzz, rustle the grasses
Staking own territory, searching for food. As the day lightens
Large animals appear sounding no noises.

Life in its abundance bursting its seams.
Creation amazing pulsing around me
My soul and my senses filed near overflowing
I’m only a visitor with the good fortune
To show up in time for my front row chair.

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Journey Into Africa 1994: The Circle of Life

There was a hippo grazing on the lawn at Lake Naivasha
While we breakfasted.   Amazing sight to us, yet untamed
Another had charged and killed a guest a few weeks past.
So began the animal parade of life.

We traveled next to Masai Mara
Game Preserve home to animals large and small.
Game drive in the afternoon an introduction
To the Africa we came to see.

A cheetah seeking prey streaked comet-like before our eyes.
Lions in prides, Mama with her rough and tumble cubs
King of the animals nearby with gaze aloft.
We saw also male lions stalking water buffalo.

Two giraffes  necks intertwined were a-courting. Two elephants engaged in sex
Don’t ask me how. Mama elephants nursed their tiny, hungry off-spring
Officious-looking warthogs entertained trotting through the brush on private missions.
Thomas said they looked like messengers with their radio-antenna tails held aloft.

Vultures circling drew us to fresh kill
Food for meat eaters’ ravenous demands. After dinner
Hyenas and other scavengers appear. Nature’s sanitation crew
Leaves only bones and skulls far-flung on plains.

In the middle of the afternoon it rained
Followed by a rainbow arching high across gray sky.
Next day bright flowers bloomed where once brown grasses grew.
Bow and blossoms attesting to great life circle turning ’round.

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Journey Into Africa 1994: Introducing the Human Characters

My travels in Kenya were characterized by an unexpected collection of people who gave the journey its unique flavor. Our tour group of seven, plus my former Pastor and his wife, was a revelation. I had figured there would be three couples and me. Instead I found myself one of a group of seven women. That was in 1994. Woman’s Lib as it was called back then was beginning to blossom. Maybe there were other female-only tour groups, but I wasn’t aware of any. This one occurred accidentally and I loved it!

Thomas, our guide, was the son of a Samburu hunter who taught him the ancient ways of tracking animals. He was overjoyed with the eight “mamas” he could show his beloved country to. We spent our nights in lodges located on several different game reserves, cocooned in mosquito nets to protect us from malaria. Before daylight and around four o’clock in the afternoon we went out on daily “game drives” in hopes of spotting animals in their habitats during their feeding times. Thomas drove us in a white diesel Toyota minivan with its top cut out so we could stand and get a 360 degree view. We were usually joined by several other groups staying at the lodge also riding in white Toyota open-topped minivans. When we saw  vans parked in a field near the road we knew there had to be animals somewhere. Guides called out to us what they had spotted and we joined the group. The animals were so accustomed to people in  minivans riding around every day they acted like we were just part of the scenery. There is a wonderful cartoon strip on Gary Larson’s Far Side picturing a couple of  minivans driving around and one animal saying to another one, “Convertible! Convertible!”

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Journey Into Africa 1994: Shadows and Reflections

Treetops – Bit of history
In shadow of old British Empire reach.
A King’s daughter was there when she got word
“The King is dead. Long live the Queen”.
She departed the second Queen Elizabeth.

Treetops – A watering hole
Inhabited from time out of mind.
Animal’s stately march to drumbeat of days
Learned before their birth. Nightly
Arrive at watering hole to quench thirst.

Travelers gather at nature’s old outpost
Fenced, high on stilts, safe from any harm.
We spend the night still dressed in our day clothes.
We wait like children expecting Santa Claus
To be awakened when the animals appear.

Before dawn. black night at their backs
Silently for animals so large they move.
Water buffalo circling the pond to drink
Form silhouettes of ancient rituals.
Newly arrived we present guests look on in awe.

Pink dawn fingers begin to part the night.
Shadows merge, become reflections on the pond.
We see more clearly majesty of beasts.
And wonder where we, architects of newer worlds
Fit in the grand scheme of things.

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Journey Into Africa 1994: It All Began With Yes

In the spring of 1993 I was divorced, self-supporting and living alone. A Pastor from my former church had previously taken members of the congregation on a tour of Kenya which appealed to me greatly. I was working at that time to help out with the expenses of my children’s college education and was disappointed not to be able to join the group. Then in 1993 I received a letter from the Pastor inviting me to travel on a “Journey Into Africa” in January 1994. This time I had vacation days available and a small nest egg ear-marked for my old age. I decided that I would rather spend money now to see the wonders of Kenya than spend it on a retirement home in the distant future. I said “Yes”!

It had been twenty years since I last traveled out of the United States and I couldn’t wait to get started on a new adventure. The Pastor’s letter promised we would see:
– The river of crocodiles at your doorstep in Samburu National Reserve
– The elephant families watering below your balcony at midnight at Treetops
– Lion gazing over the vast reaches of the Serengeti in the Maasai Mara Game Reserve
– The snows of Kilimanjaro in the distance of Amboseli NationaL Park
– Hippos wallowing in the mud at Manyara
We saw them all – and much more.

It has now been twenty years since I traveled to Kenya. I have not forgotten those two weeks Kenya inhabited my soul. Kenya and its people, animals and night skies are permanently etched in my senses. The land of Africa is filled with spirit. I am very sure of that.

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