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Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 3:24 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 2:25 pm
Posts: 927
Location: USA
...and now for the REST OF THE STORY....

As I turned to go join Ed back inside, I saw this just off the side of hut #4
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So much for Ed's "look out" abilities! I guess it's hard to see anything with the covers pulled over your head! (ME, Tarzan...HIM, Jane!)

It looked, superficially at least, to be the same one that was there yesterday, then moved to the waterhole the whole day. He wasn't the least interested in me, just soaking up the early morning rays.
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When we left for our next camp, Nossob, around 9:30, the wildebeests were once again waiting for a chance to quench their thirsts. I wondered if they had trekked to another waterhole yesterday, or if they can go awhile without water?
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POST SCRIPT: After we arrived at Nossob, we heard what had gone on behind the scenes:

It seems the assistant was on duty that morning and had called on his two-way radio to get permission to fire a warning shot into the air, as he was also concerned about the lions' bold and seemingly "take no prisoners" attitude. After consultation with the higher ups (Ranger?) at Nossob, it was decided the rifle shot itself might actually alarm a guest who wasn't aware of what was taking place, and cause them to venture outside. This would be more dangerous than all of us simply huddled inside. Hopefully no one would go out unawares.

So the morning did NOT, after all, end with a BANG, and we all got a bang for our buck and then some!


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Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 11:47 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 2:25 pm
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Location: USA
After a relaxing (finally!) trip back to Nossob, we went on our afternoon drive to check on mama and the cubs. Sadly, they were gone. Day before yesterday they were still there, so between the 27th and 29th of Sept. mama decided to move them, or at least I hope that's what happened. Some nincomPOOP obviously decided to drive up over the embankment, into the surrounding bush, and around to the back of the bush/den. The tracks and broken down brush were clear and infuriating! (Nincompoop was my THIRD choice of names to use, but the others were not very ladylike.) Some self-centered guy/gal decided that the well being of mom and her babies, not to mention the enjoyment of every other park visitor, were not as important as their own selfish desires.

Enough editorializing, and if, for some reason, it was a Parks vehicle that left the tracks, I respectfully withdraw my ire.

Harrumph!

We spotted a number of eagles in the area around Nossob:
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Other sightings on our drives in this area included AWC, a pair of bat eared foxes, a brown hyena, and a poor jackal with a big bite out of its back. Reminded me of a "junkyard dog", just trying to survive from day to day.
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Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 4:49 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger

Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 2:25 pm
Posts: 927
Location: USA
Pikasso: I would really love to make them bigger, but I don't know how to do it and stay within the forum rules. If I can accomplish this @ Tinypics, please someone send me a DETAILED, step by step instruction. Any info. would be most appreciated. I'm just not savvy enough ...OLD DOGS, NEW TRICKS SYNDROME. Thanks for any suggestions from anyone.

During the midday "downtime", we went out to see what we could see around camp. Ed had spotted some bee eaters while jogging (do I have him TRAINED, or WHAT!??!), so he led me to them....guess what they were doing?...(drum roll..) EATING BEES
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The squirrels were dust bathing...
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and the usual cast of birds were performing, but they're still beautiful, none-the-less...
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Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 3:40 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 2:25 pm
Posts: 927
Location: USA
Will start the report, but am afraid to post the photos 'til the "page turns" as I don't want to exceed the limit per page....hint, hint....

On our last afternoon drive out of Nossob before moving on to Urikaruus, we noticed an obviously lactating lioness trudging down the road towards camp. We turned around and followed her for about 45 minutes, then went into the hide to watch from there. She walked past a herd of springbok at the waterhole and drank, and drank, ...and drank for what seemed like forever! She then laid down a few minutes, got back up, and went over and drank some more. What a long trip just for a drink of water ( at least 1 1/2 hours round trip, and we didn't know where she actually started from.) She really seemed very tired, as it was a hot day. By sundown she was sitting on the dune but had not started the trek back yet.

Resuming our drive, we saw more lions at the first waterhole (2 males and 1 female). Not much else happening, until the following morning when we met up with the thirsty mommie, ON MOVING DAY!! Pics to follow....


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Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 4:47 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 927
Location: USA
A Happy Valentine's Day wish and a kiss for your help! Thanks.

First, the trek to the waterhole pics:
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The Nature Photographer Gods smiled on me shortly after leaving Nossob. While pics of lions were plentiful this trip, I found myself, for only the second time in my life, in the company of a lioness with tiny cubs on "moving day"! I believe her to be the same one from last evening (?). She was in her den very well hidden by tree trunks, branches, twigs, bushes, etc. All you could see was a little movement now and then. There was another female and 2 males sitting just outside the den as well.

Suddenly, mom appears out the back with a tiny little bundle in her mouth! I was delighted, as the morning light was good, and knowing she had three cubs to move, she'd be back for them. We situated ourselves assuming she would take the same route each time, and she didn't disappoint!

She carried the first one across the road and laid it under a distant bush. There were a number of cars by now and what an incredible start to a day! She would stop, place the cub on the ground, reposition it, try to get a better grip, then proceed. The cubs would squeal and protest, to no avail. After the first two were moved, they were having tiny temper tantrums, or so it sounded, so mom stayed and must have nursed them to quieten them again...(maybe she just put them on "TIME OUTS") The other lioness also moved to the new den and stayed with the cubs while mom moved the last one. Every park guest there had huge grins on their faces, which I suspect stayed there until late into the day.
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We stopped at the picnic sight to cook hotdogs, but strangely enough, did not need to use the restroom...


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Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 12:27 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 2:25 pm
Posts: 927
Location: USA
On to Urikarus which has been my favorite camp ever since we first stayed there, though Grootkolk is gaining ground rapidly. I like the layout with the bedroom separate upstairs as I tend to stay up much later than Ed.

One night while I was up late, I began hearing a loud splashing commotion in the waterhole. It went on and on, and sounded like a pool full of kids, but turned out to be but a single hyena. He was cavorting by himself, reveling in his own personal spa tub. He finally got out and suddenly began running round and round the waterhole, doing lap after lap. It seemed to be sheer exuberance, but perhaps a strategy to dry off quicker? The cool night air really seemed to invigorate him! Surreptitiously sharing his apparent joy did the same for me.

One night after dinner Ed was doing dishes while I was upstairs. He called for me to come quick, so I went down to find him standing on the OUTSIDE of the kitchen, door closed, looking IN.
"WHAT'S THAT!?"
It was the gorgeous genet that comes calling after dinner at this camp. It had just been sitting peacefully watching Ed do his wifely duties when he first saw it. I went inside and it allowed me to approach within about 5 feet before climbing back down the slanted support post to the ground.
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Observing how the genet had climbed up the post that runs from the ground to our second floor, got us to thinking about leopards and their climbing abilities...
"Goodnight Ed, sleep well!"

We had to move to KTC for one night, due to unavailability at Urikarus. Our tent post was being used as a landing site by a LBR. At one point it flew off and landed on a faraway tree where another one was perched. They began mating, so I tried to get some pics, but it was very far, so they aren't very good. The real reason I'm posting them is that the female had a bug in her mouth the entire tryst, and never dropped it! Now THAT'S multitasking!
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We FINALLY spotted some meerkats and stayed with them for awhile.
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("Let's play a dirty trick on michele nel and hide everytime we see her car!")
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("Look, here she comes...let's go!")
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("She's gone, we can come out and play now!")
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Kickin' back in the 'ol LA-Z BOY, watchin' for michele


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Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 5:23 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 927
Location: USA
We will be moving back to Urikarus after one night at KTC, so the sunset will end this chapter of our stay here...I'm nostalgic already.
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The following morning found the animals warming in the first rays of sunlight.
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A lioness emerges and echoes the rising sun.
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Creatures of all descriptions are looking for that first meal of the day.
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Our drive to Urikarus was tranquil, as was the rest of the day spent enjoying the activity at the waterhole while glancing over our books.
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Idle time gives one the luxury of contemplation...deep issues, such as why don't crackers EVER go stale in the Kalahari, but bread IMMEDIATELY does even after 20 minutes??? Well, I've figured this out (along with the dynamics of Clingwrap)...the answer is...another DRUM ROLL... crackers are stale when they GAIN moisture, while bread is stale when it LOSES moisture. TA-DAH...(If any of you forumites have other mysteries of the Universe you need answers to, just post here, and I'll give it equally deep thought next time I'm on vacation.)


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Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 4:42 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 2:25 pm
Posts: 927
Location: USA
While Urikarus is a great camp for leisurely days spent watching the parade at the waterhole, all is not so tranquil in other parts, as it seems someone is always ready to pick a fight.
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HEY PIKASSO....yoohoo....I DID IT! They're bigger now, thanks to your constant whining. Seriously, thanks for egging me on. I have to go now, so I can resize( BIGGER), and finish this entry. Will try to enter larger views of the past pics when I get the time.


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Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 5:37 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 2:25 pm
Posts: 927
Location: USA
I'm Ba-a-a-ck...Picking up where I left off, it seems there is always a squabble going on somewhere, so here are a few we were privy to (some not worthy of LARGER VIEWS, but it's all I have, as we all know too well)
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Two ostriches in a fluff over something..(one probably called the other an egghead or a birdbrain!)


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Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 4:32 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 2:25 pm
Posts: 927
Location: USA
(Thanks!)

Our next morning drive produced a number of lion sightings, jackals passing secrets, or perhaps just gossiping, an ostrich performing the gravity defying fete of drinking water, and an eagle landing in a distant tree.

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Our afternoon drive was highlighted by a springbok trackmeet, which was a pure delight to behold. An entire herd had gathered and spontaneously began putting on a show of their running, jumping, pronking abilities. So delightful!! We "OOH-ed" and "AH-H-ed" as if we were at a fireworks display. Again, like the hyena at the waterhole spa and then running willy nilly, it seemed to have a component of sheer exuberance. You cannot witness such a display and go away without a huge ear to ear grin and audible "WOWs" the whole way home. They were very spread out, so the photos do not do justice to the sheer numbers of antics taking place simultaneously, but the entire herd seemed inspired to outdo one another, feeding off the collective energy.
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We reluctantly left and returned to camp with an extra spring in our step as well.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 12:37 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 2:25 pm
Posts: 927
Location: USA
Actually, the thanks go to all of YOU for sharing my memories as I relive our trip. I appreciate everyone's comments and hope your trips are fun filled and action packed! I shall eagerly await each trip report...they're addictive, aren't they? It's a wonderful way to have mini-visits throughout the times you cannot be there in person.

Well, the price of gas in SA was more than we budgeted for, and not knowing the gas stations, even at TR, would not take credit cards, we had a dilemma. We were almost out of Rands, and needed to change dollars so we could continue. We decided to game drive to TR to change $ and get gas....well, after spending all that gas to get there AND BACK to Urikarus, the person who authorizes money exchange wasn't there! We decided to change our reservations to TR after tonight (had to go back and get our stuff), so we would be there when the master of the money till was on duty. But the trip there and back provided some nice sightings, so we were happy nonetheless.
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We came across these springboks who were obviously best friends..
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We came across a few different lions, mostly single, and not really doing anything except walking or sitting, but I still couldn't resist taking their photos.
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The afternoon and evening drive back was bitter sweet, as we knew this would be our last in the wilderness camps for a long time.
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As the evening merged into night, the animals, too, faded to black. Oh, to have night vision! But if I did, I would surely NEVER sleep.
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Our final braai at Urikarus was something called "beesosaties" we had bought while at TR...is that Afrikaans for "recycled flat tires"? What else are ya'll gonna do with all those flats way out in the middle of nowhere, except cut them into chunks, repackage, and sell them to unsuspecting foreign tourists!? The gift shop cashiers must find it hard to keep a straight face everytime they have to ring one of these up. We chewed and chewed and chewed until our jaws ached, them spit the wads out. With all the scavengers around, I thought they'd be scarffed up, pronto, but Ed says even scavengers have standards! They'll devour maggot invested rotting carrion, but he thinks when we wake up in the morning, not a single blob will be missing.

He was right.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 5:21 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 927
Location: USA
Am going to try and take the lazy way out to post updated larger pics of the lioness moving her cubs from pg. 9. The URL goes to the bottom of the post instead of by the photo if you "edit", so I will simply post URLs here corresponding to the smaller version on that page. Clear as mud, huh? Bottom line, if you have dial-up, skip these pics. Let's see if this works...
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larger So far so good....now for the cubs on moving day...

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Whew! Hope this works for those of you who want larger images. Will not provide other larger views unless there is a particular one some wants. Sorry for the inconvenience to all others. Yours truly...ahem...Elaine


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Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 4:52 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: USA
Moved to TR and got settled in and sorted out $ issues. Our trip from Urikarus was pleasant, spotting the usual suspects, as well as more bee eaters sitting in a thorn wreath, a meerkat reconnoitering for Michele's car, an eland posing in the golden grasses, and a pretty bird of some sort (sorry birders, my criterion is rather shallow, PRETTY or NOT PRETTY.)
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Our drive next morning started with a stakeout of the first waterhole, hoping for a glimpse of the infamous leopard and cub, but no such luck. The sunrise was so beautiful shining on the dunes in the background, and a herd of wildebeests moved toward the waterhole, providing such a wonderful palette of monochromatic colors.
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We took the Kieliekrankie dune road back across, as we had never driven it before. There are some sand patterns on this stretch which, to me, were "classic" against the oh-so-blue sky. These photos still give me a sand-in-my-shoes, can't-wait-to-get-back tingle.
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As we passed through the dunes headed back to TR, we saw a lioness who appeared very focused on something.
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She began descending the dune and looking around, we saw some jackals in the distance with a portion of a kill of some sort. As she closed in, they abandoned the carcass, and she reclaimed it for her own.
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Our evening drive was uneventful except for a huge eland that had died due to no obvious reason, and there was a lone jackal in attendance. It seemed unable to pierce the tough hide, so approached from the only natural opening in its rear side. It stuck it's head deep inside, and I shall only post one photo as it's not a pretty sight, but does have a slightly comical side as well...("Can you hear me NOW!!??" Part II)
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We rushed back to camp, barely making curfew, as our last days are so precious, every minute is cherished. We were greeted by an owl at the entry gate, and later scolded for cutting it so close by another self-appointed curfew-police.
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Upon entering the bathroom, I noticed a lecherous 'ol peeping gecko in the window. For a brief moment, I thought I was back in France once again...but that's ANOTHER trip report in ANOTHER forum somewhere...
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Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 11:19 pm 
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Senior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Cambridge, MA (and home from home in Darling, WC)
Such an entertaining report, Africat! And your "pretty bird" is, I believe, a greater kestrel. They are indeed wonderful golden birds and your photo of it is superb! 8)

You do take great bird pix, so perhaps you'll get drawn more into birding, it can be lots of fun as well as a challenge. I spend ages after I return home, going through pix of "mystery birds" and working out what they might be — and then ask about the ones that defeat me on the forum. Your bee eaters are swallowtailed bee eaters, I think, but I'm not sure about your wonderful scolding owl — possibly a spotted eagle owl? Perhaps someone more knowledgable than I will also weigh in?

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Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2008 7:16 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: USA
I find myself wondering what wildebeests muddle about in their all-too-BIG-for-their-body heads. They certainly have ample free time to fill that huge cavity with deep thought. Perhaps they're just wondering what I'm muddling about in my all-too-SMALL-for my body head.
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Actually, not much. I'm just absorbing the incredibly invigorating outdoors. ("I think I could go and live among the animals..." [Walt Whitman] ). Being in the wild eliminates all SELF consciousness, as is unfortunately such a focus in our lives, and refocuses our attention completely on OTHER, that which is outside ourselves. Amazingly, it brings me to a more comfortable place, an ultimate HOME, a place of belonging, a mere thread in the web. A human's spirit can be dampened, even extinguished, by too much "thinking", and not enough time spent reinvolving one's self in who and what we really come from, and therefore, really ARE.

So I guess I'm not focusing, after all, on something completely OUTSIDE myself, but reconnecting with everything that is completely INSIDE myself.

Now that the sermon is over, AMEN, I'll get back to my trip report...and our next VERY close encounter...TURN, page, TURN...


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