A Presence in the Wilderness – June 4th, 2014

 A highlight of our visit to The Kalahari, an unexpected meeting in fading light, just after sun-set, seventy metres from our tent.





Deception Valley in the Central Kalahari,
where we searched for you for hours
amongst the desiccated grasses, rich
in brittle blooms of dormant plants,
Oryx and Ostrich,  solitary or grouped
and hovering noisy Black Korhaan’s
whose erratic  flight amused,
but nothing seemed disturbed,
which hinted at your absence.

Just before six the sun slipped the sky
firing the horizon but chilling us
seated on the open-sided truck
swerve-lurching in  sand’s deep  ruts
driving to beat the failing light
and reach the campsite’s comfort.
Amidst that disadvantage we met,
seventy metres from the tents,
unexpectedly, our paths crossed.


Three sleek  females took control
confidently emerging from the shrub
crossing the track they stopped us.
Two metres from the  truck’s front tyres
they passed to the left in powered silence.
We looked right, to their entrance point
and there, alone,  you stood,
an awesome perfection  –
tawny- golden, with immaculate mane,
powerful,  enormous  and close.
Our mutual gaze locked fast,  unblinking,
until you had seen enough, then
strolling forward effortlessly
you passed behind the truck
soundlessly, ignoring us.
As you faded with the light
we felt the presence of natural grace.


Passing behind the truck with the light almost gone.


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