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Archive for January, 2011

Studies in Contrast

We saw a leopard near the camp the other night.  Our driver, a Kenyan scout, was almost as excited as we were.  He said that he sees this leopard on occasion but it is still special.  I have been here at least bland 5 times and have finally seen the “Big Five”; elephant, rhino, cape buffalo,lion and leopard.  This leopard which would be almost impossible to get close to in the day saunters along about 15 feet from the vehicle with just a hint of irritation.  It is hunting and we pull up close to a bush to let him pass by for a picture.  There is a lightening storm not far off that adds some drama to the scene.  As I snapped my picture the entire vehicle moved as if something had hit it from the side and everyone yelped a little bit.  Thinking we were being ambushed by a second leopard I turned the camera inside the vehicle and everyone was laughing.  Evidently we had parked over a wart hog den and two of them vacated the premises causing the commotion.

In the morning our driver was anxious to see if we could find the leopard again.  If he made a kill it might be possible to see him “treed” somewhere nearby unless he made the kill near the deep forest, in which case it would be almost impossible to find him.  After looking for some time one of our party said that one particular tree, out in the middle of nowhere looked like something was hanging from a branch.  It was a gazelle.  It was about twenty feet up and jammed into the crook of the trunk.  I was amazed at the power it must have taken to get the carcass up there in the first place, as well as the skill involved cheap jerseys in forcing that dead weight into that space.  About the same time I noticed that blood was dripping from it’s nose someone said they saw the leopard.

Now I have wholesale jerseys China pretty good vision at a distance.  I can’t read the bulletin at church, but I can see pretty well far off.  It took at least a wholesale mlb jerseys minute for me to spot him and he was probably about five feet from the carcass.   As we stared at this amazing scene; two elegant creatures, one very much alive and one that only a few hours before was; we did not notice that we we being surrounded by the not so elegant creatures of the savanna.  I counted five hyenas and a jackal, who  insistently yelped  at the leopard as if to irritate him into dropping something down.

Now hyenas have a certain charm of their own and jackals are actually kind of cute, but I would not call either of them elegant, and the names have been associated with the nasty and brutish.  Hence the contrast. cheap jerseys China  So intent on the elegant and the dramatic, we failed to notice the nasty and the brutish that surrounded us.

I have Gerry taken our group to some rather lavish places.  I think some of them are privately offended by what they see as extravagance and that was the point.  Most westerners that come here fly to Niarobi and stay in a nice hotel.  The get on a plane and fly to the Mara, or Amboseli, our Samburu and stay in a beautiful safari camp and then fly back.  So intent on the elegant and the dramatic they miss the nasty and brutish reality that surrounds them.  They don’t see the realities of the existence of many children and the majority of adults in this part of the world.  Our group has seen both and I pray that this experience will be with them all their life.

Christ came and was surrounded by the nasty and the brutish.  The realities of our life cost him his.  A Christmas song is in my head today -“Welcome to Our World”.

Fragile finger sent to heal us
Tender brow prepared for thorn
Tiny heart whose blood will save us
Unto us is born

So wrap our injured flesh around You
Breathe our air and walk our sod
Rob our sin and make us holy

Perfect Son of God
Welcome to our world


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