Last night I mistook two hippos
fighting in the Crocodile River outside our
bedroom for a person snoring. In my sleepy reverie I thought, “That is the
strangest snoring I’ve ever heard.”
In the morning, I awoke before the
sun and they were still making a ruckus. I walked along the river towards the
noise. It was a deep bass roaring that echoed down the misty river banks much
as the roar of dinosaurs must have echoed in prehistoric times.
Suddenly, the shape of something
wild loomed on the path ahead. It was a male Kudu, a large deer-like creature
with horns twisting above its head, the symbol of Kruger National Park.
It stared at me and we were both thinking, “Fight or flight?” I decided not to
press my luck and moved off the path.
is a wild place. It awakens the dormant. The wild parts of my brain – the
reptilian brain I think it’s called – gradually go numb when I’m pounding out
the emails and analyzing spreadsheets. I become this calculating version of
myself, a blanched and tepid, domesticated risk minimizer.
Driving around Kruger this morning
we came face to face with an elephant in
musk (a time when they become
randy and unpredictable like an adolescent). He walked toward us waving his
tusks as if to say “Get out of my back yard!”
We American Jesus-followers need
to rediscover our wildness. Life was never meant to be as tamed down as we’ve
made it. Having met our natural need for security, we redefine what it means to
be secure, so that it is now normal to have four or five different kinds of
insurance policies, while some families have upwards of ten policies.
We just stopped for coffee at a
restaurant along the Crocodile River. In front
of me are two sand bars with about 20 crocodiles laying out on them. A herd of
hippos is wading up river to lie down alongside them on the sand. This place
rocks! It reeks of wildness.
I’m going to take these memories of the African wilderness home with me
as a prod to keep me unsettled in my domesticated environment and committed to
those parts of my life that are wild and haunted by the rumbling of hippos
fighting in the distance.
WOW DADDY!!!!!!!!!!!!! That’s so awesome!! Your writing is quite brilliant and I miss Africa so much these days. Stay wild.
“I’m going to take these memories of the African wilderness home with me as a prod to keep me unsettled in my domesticated environment and committed to those parts of my life that are wild and haunted by the rumbling of hippos fighting in the distance.”
A word for the day.
“I’m haunted by hippos”
reminds me of the line from “A River Runs Through It” –
“I’m haunted by waters”
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