Me Skarabee, the bladder behaved, just
Hugh, next episode on its way.
Gemma, more coming.
I do hope that you are not expecting me to feel sorry for you, electricy out in Punda.
Wildflowergirl, the waiting is over.. for a little while.
Melph, you will be learning a lot about monkeys and their habits, starting with the Punda dawn patrol
Tent Dweller, stick around for the next installment.
Sparrow, the moment has come
Fortunately we cleared the reeds shortly after my daughter’s whisper.
It was a very short walk to our destination, a rocky koppie with a small cavern. Here Bruce stopped.
“Those who feel fit enough to climb to the cavern can get a good view of the elephants.”
He then explained that this was a recent cave painting discovery, viewed by very few people. Kruger wanted to keep it as pristine as possible, so it was going to be assessable only to those with special interest.
I usually feel fit and willing for anything, but I was still feeling shaken. I was also not completely at ease. My children climbed up to have a look. I remained at the bottom. I was still being watched.
Sakkie then explained that this was considered to be a sacred site. It was where the ancient shamans would call on God. There is a strong mystical tradition in the San people and we were standing on the holy ground of the ancestors.
I do not know what happened next. Maybe my attention deficit kicked in, but I lost what Bruce was telling us, I was completely consumed by my own thoughts.
I only came back to the moment when I looked up and saw Bruce holding back tears. It seems that he was reminded of a friend and fellow ranger who had been trampled to death by elephants. The atmosphere was sombre, touched by something intangible.
Death was with us, it seemed to be watching us.
We returned to the vehicle. I could not wait to get back. I wanted something concrete, solid, something I hold touch, hold, see. The smell of iron and petrol seemed so sweet.
To me it seemed that we all rushed to our sundowners a little too fast, opened them with too much haste. We seemed to all sit and talk too loud, too pressured.
Suddenly Vanessa spoke.
“Shhhh”, she said, “listen to the silence”.
We were not looking at a sunset, but the reflection of a sunset. It was silent, as silent as death. There were no birds, no insects. We watched the light fade, melt into the approaching night.
That is when I felt them. They were there; they came and sat among us, the ancients, the ancestors, the elders of Africa. They sat silently and we all looked in the same direction, there was awe, a wonder.
I felt the presence of Bruce’s friend, those who had loved and worked to make this miracle called Kruger happen. I felt many people, intangible, yet present.
I thought of the universal prayer for the dead, “remember those who have died, whose faith is known to you alone”.
As the darkness took over the night and the crickets started their songs of creation, I realised how death, like the darkness is only another reality. The elders, the giants of Kruger remain, always respectful, always in awe.
I never forgot this moment; I remembered the silent shadows, the giants of Kruger. I remembered how they took their place all serving the same purpose.
I was writing my Mapungubwe trip report when I heard of Bruce’s death. When I thought of the date, the same chills went down my spine. This happened 6 years, almost to the day, before Bruce’s death. His funeral was on the day, the day he took his place among the giants of Kruger.