March of the Meerkats. (a story)
Not every photo has to be ‘restaurant quality’. But some, if not all, tell a fascinating story...
We were waiting patiently for a mob of meerkats to return to their burrow one cool afternoon. Taking their sweet time - as usual - we were trying to guess which path they’d choose to stroll back home on. It wasn’t long after this discussion, that a pair of jackals decided to wail across the kalahari. The haunting cry that even brings silence to a screaming halt!
The ever suspicious meerkats wasted no time, and began hot-pawing it back to the safety of their earthy bunker. Good ideas can surprise you quickly, but apparently not as quick as 23 meerkats burning it through the long winter grass.
I decided to pick a path, lay on my back, and began firing off shots through my feet in the hope I’d get a rare capture of panicked meerkats sprinting through a beige frame of vegetation. Well, if I’m honest, it didn’t go as planned. However, a human lying supine is apparently a curious object to sniff. And no sooner had I stopped photographing furry blurs, 23 little suricates were sniffing my ears, hair, hands, elbows - you get the idea! A meerkat’s nose is full of dirt, by the way, and so now were my ear lobes.
The moral of the story... don’t lie in a meerkats path if you have a phobia of noses. Thankfully, I made it out alive and wasn’t carried off to the Meerkat King. (how’s the little dude in the back, already planning his sniff?!)
Today we roamed the streets of Stonetown and Paje. We walked a lot, we talked a lot, there was singing and dancing, there was laughing and eating and smelling and staring and all round awe at the mystery and the kindness and the beauty. There were no newspapers and no Trump and no Harvey and no Jacob. Instead, there was Ray Charles and Amy Winehouse and Van Morrison, there was soul and heart. When the adventure is over, I hope I will remember to make space for days like this. Days like this. Mama said there'd be days like this.
What was your hardest goodbye?
Saying goodbye to Spear was definitely mine.
Part of it is because we couldn't keep in contact-he doesn't have a phone, internet access or a permanent mailing address. The Delta is also so vast that if I were to return it would be incredibly hard to reunite.
The other reason is because I've never met anyone like him.
He is the definition of kind, selfless, humble, grateful, caring and all the other adjectives that describe a genuinely good person.
It was so unexpected but in such a short time, we formed a bond over animals, travel and the beauty of Botswana.
We would talk for hours and eventually, we both said we'd never forget each other.
And I know I won't.
Sometimes I feel like I've lost someone very special and that makes my heart ache.
But, more than anything, I also feel so incredibly lucky to have shared such a unique, unspoken connection and to have met someone like Spear who inspires me to be a better person 💚
I spent much of the early hours of this morning with this little lady. She took her time allowing me in, but eventually she slinked closer and lifted her chin for me to tickle. (Yes, the island heat might be getting to me. No, I wouldn't want it any other way.)