A poem: The journey of a safari guide student
Gary Ray left the corporate world in Joburg to embark on a dramatic change to his life - to train as a professional safari guide then to live and work in Africa's bushveld. He was so impacted on by nature while training with EcoTraining, that he wrote this poem during his one year course.
I am an old buck, to a new found friend
I come from afar, a beginning and not to an end.
I see a burning ball sinking over the edge
It leaves the fading sky, a purple orange wedge.
I look to the night and see the fabric of space
With pinpricks of light scattered all over the place
In times to come, these will be as a sign,
The Southern Cross, Scorpio and Orion
All will wonder from where we did come
There will be stories and calculus and more to sum
Waxing and waning, gibbous and crescent
Inyanga in all her glory, shines iridescent.
Our planet, victim of fire balls, meteorites and ancient star dust,
Minerals and deposits which bubbled and formed an unsteady crust.
The sky lights up with thunder and rain
It delivers the oceans, which all look the same
From deep within, flows molten rock
Settling and cooling to the universal clock
Igneous and Metamorphic to weathered sandstone
Aeons of erosion uncovering secrets in bone
Nitrogen, oxygen and carbon molecules abound
A spark of life, is fired underground
It starts up the ladder, an evolutionary march
From simple carbohydrate to more complex starch
From plant photosynthesis and gaseous exchange,
All forms of life are about to change
I am an old buck to a new found friend,
This beginning has many a branch and many a bend
A genetic river where many will start
With the flutter of life and the beat of a heart
Many will pass and never be known,
Archeopteryx Lithographica – “ancient wing inscribed in stone”
From bat to gull, feather to wing,
The new morning chorus do many a bird sing
From amphibian to reptile, frog to snake
The winding code, what bend will it take?
From herbivore to carnivore, from zebra to lion
Suddenly, the code jumps, Homo Rectus gives the first sign
Our paths diverge, they criss and they cross
I watch, I know, one day, man will be boss
We are all so different, between you and me
Phylum and class, part of Taxonomy
You, of family Homininae, I am family Bovinae
I walk on hoofed feet and you tread Plantigrade
Some eat meat, grass, and some insecta
Some interspecific, others, a territorial sector
Some dig and dung creating palatable lawn
Others paste and spray, fragrance of popcorn
Fungi and termites, they decompose
In tunnels and towers, all forms of cellulose
My senses are acute, I smell with the air
I have seen your brother and am very aware
I am an old buck, to a new friend found
I see you out walking with a firestick of sound
The city, your past, you have moved from your home
Over the street, the field, into my biome
Savanna, grass underneath and woody shade above
This is the food and the trees that I love
I hear the wind blowing, is that the bush talking
Is that you and your guests, all out walking?
Hush brother hush, my home is of silence
The only echoes made, from predator violence.
After listening and learning and now
a field guide I feel our bond, with you by my side.
No more will I hear the boom of a gun
You and I, in harmony, under the same sun.
I now see you, not foe from the past
But as a trustworthy friend is all that I ask.
Sometimes we rest in quiet solitude
But this passing moment we must now conclude
For we are old bucks who have travelled a long way
Through the ages of time to this brand new day
Take time to stop, listen, smell and look up
See the burning ball sinking over the edge
Watch the fading sky, the purple orange wedge
And know, that we are here, for each other, and for all
To wait, for tomorrow, for a new burning ball.