I’ve struggled to write this post. Not because I’m not having fun. But because I am doing a lot of spiritual work, having awakenings almost daily, and am trying to find balance between sharing the physical experiences of my journey with weaving in the spiritual experience. Some days the spiritual is far more significant than where we are and what we do. The wild invites me to let go and that invitation is primal. I suspected and hoped this would happen but it’s not a thing that can be planned or timed. But my gut knew this was where I needed to be at this time. Heeding my intuition is a primary objective these days.
Also, this blog is new and I’m experimenting with what I share, what I love, and what I think might interest you most. Hearing your feedback in what you most love reading about is helpful.
Now for yesterday’s news as I didn’t have cell service since leaving the Moremi Gorge reserve:
The thing about lodging in a game reserve is that you get to hear the game at night, like the baboon just off my deck calling to someone! The buildings are not fenced off so the game could come right onto the deck if they chose. Some critter scampered across the tent roof (these are glam tents with electricity, chandeliers, a deep tub, AC and tv, not our usual camping tents), and another little creature sneezed just outside my wall.
Imagine this: you are sitting on a deck in a game reserve, as the first light of day slips up from behind a lushly blanketed mountain, a perfect and exotically-scented breeze lightly touching your hair while the only sounds you hear are dozens of African birds, a far-off baboon, and some bees on a flowering tree greeting the new day. Oh and that one bird that sounds like the quick siren of a police car: whoop-whoop, mixing up the otherwise tranquil audioscape. There is no man-made ambient noise of any kind as we are miles from anything. I wish I could bottle this for you.
On recommendation by my dear friend, Cathy, I’m reading “The Elephant Whisperer”, by Lawrence Anthony, a story about a man who adopts a herd of unruly elephants onto his game reserve in Zululand, Africa. (Highly recommend! I can’t put it down.) What he learns about elephants, himself, and life lessons on relationships, trust, faith, intuition, energy, patience, and the magic of the Universe has resonated deeply with me. Feeling validated, humbled, and connected to nature and myself in a new way, I found myself looking inward today and feeling something shift. Spontaneous tears and spiritual moments have happened on many occasions during this trip and I feel more are coming. Patience will reveal them in time. I’ve found myself feeling at peace, at home, calm, and more relaxed despite crisscrossing countries I know nothing about.
Botswana is a beauty. I really love it here. And it’s a wealthy country too with its mineral deposits of diamonds (De Beers is huge here), copper, and coal. But our driver complained that the government doesn’t invest in roads and other infrastructure despite its wealth. Most places we’ve been, you’d never know it was wealthy. The poor still live in shacks and raise goats for food. Shadrack was right about the roads – we had some rough going today and laughingly teased: another African massage.
As we wound our way across the flattening country, somewhere the red soil turned beachy white. After more cultural discussions in the truck on topics like abortion and US politics, we arrived at today’s destination, Nata Lodge. After settling in we toured the world’s largest salt pan, Makgadikgadi at over 4600 square miles(!), which is surrounded by the Kalahari and adjacent to a huge bird sanctuary. The sanctuary, which has no predators and a plentiful food supply, is home also to zebra, wildebeest, flamingos, ostrich, meerkats, and apparently a hippo whose fresh tracks we saw at the salt pans. A hippo is considered one of the most dangerous animals in Africa and I’m glad we did not encounter this one whilst out on the pans but those tracks are adorable.
The pans look like an ocean of mud flats and are normally covered in salt water but right now they are more like a clay desert. I walked out about a mile onto them, the grey-brown clay becoming increasingly slipperier the further I went, clinging to my sandals like mini weights, a thunderstorm building on one horizon, and a creamsicle sunset on the other.
The group had scattered about a mile apart so I had the place to myself. While an almost imperceptible flock of flamingos dotted the far horizon, the wind played an eerie tune over my open water bottle, the gooey clay held me in place, and I felt called to do some spontaneous qi gong. I thought of the book on elephants and life, the clear presence of spirits at the cave paintings and the gorge, and the emotional wounds that brought me here and my own storm of tears broke loose. How prophetic to shed tears on a salt pan during an impending thunderstorm?
Once again, Mother Nature was kind enough to wait for our return to the vehicle before letting the real rains come. It felt like a ritual cleansing.
Today’s animal sightings:
zebra, blue wildebeest, flamingoes, Coran (helicopter bird), Greater and Lesser (pinker)flamingos (fun fact- they massage the mud with their feet to disturb brine shrimp which is then scooped by their filtering beaks. They look like they’re dancing), long-tailed red collared widow bird, blue waxbill, red headed finch, cranes, and more.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post.
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