Pool with a View August 29, 2015

Each moment of each day at Plains Tented Camp is a marvel. Here I lie in a swimming pool overlooking the Timbitene Plains. It is a hot, dry day and the pool water is wonderfully cool. A zeal of zebra approach, and we sink low in the water such that all they might see are two pairs of eyes at water level. However they are not fooled and inch closer, looking directly at us, a line of more than 30, all facing our way, ears pricked, more with curiosity than fear. It may have something to do with my large purple hat which rises like a homing beacon above my head. We try saying a friendly hello, but the zebra don’t like this, and snort in disapproval and stamp their feet.

 

Pool with a view of zebra roaming free and wild on the Timbitene Plains of Kruger National Park

Pool with a view of zebra roaming free and wild on the Timbitene Plains of Kruger National Park

The young zebra are the most forgiving and the first to relax. The smallest, barely a teenager, starts a game of ‘Follow the Leader’ and they spend a good 20 minutes doing wide circles and zig-zag turns across the plains in a long, youthful line of energy and enthusiasm for the simple act of running across the plains, one after the other.

A young zebra starts trotting to introduce a game of "follow my leader"

A young zebra starts trotting to introduce a game of “follow my leader”

I remember the days when the mere act of running brought a simple and uncomplicated joy, just as now that I am older, the privilege of swimming in a pool overlooking the Timbitene Plains brings a similar surge of energy and joy. I sigh in gratitude for this experience and I am reminded of the words of poet Mary Oliver[1]: “Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?”

 

Zebra Stripes

 

[1]In her poem ‘Have you Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches’ in West Wind, 1997

 

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