I’m homesick. That’s weird … because I am home. Canada is my home now. So why am I homesick and for where? I was born in England ……. nah…… not homesick for England.
I grew up in South Africa – and that’s the problem. I have this sudden longing for the bush. They say you can take the girl out of the bush but you can’t take the bush out of the girl.
There’s something healing about being out in the African bush – and yet it can be a harsh place. Nature rules and there are the hunters and the hunted, the victors and the victims. To see a lioness stalking her prey is thrilling and yet some part of you always wants the poor antelope or zebra to get away. Run! Run! You feel like shouting as the poor buck zig zags across the veldt in panic. The lioness is clever, fast and strong and the antelope seldom wins.
On my last trip to the bush in Sabi Sands Game Reserve we came across a huge pride of lion after the kill. The huge black-maned male could barely move he was so full. He lay with his belly distended, his paws flopping in the air, right in the middle of the track, dozing in the midday sun.
His pride lay around him licking and cleaning and grooming and you could still see the traces of blood on their whiskers and chins. It was a hot day and our ranger knew that they would not move for hours but they would be thirsty later on. We would return after sunset.
Sure enough once the sun had gone down and that strangely fast coldness had descended on the bush we found the pride again – this time stirring from their slumber. As if in answer to an unspoken signal they slowly made their way to their feet and one by one ambled off down the track. Our ranger told us there was a water hole some way in the distance and we followed in the landrover with the large floodlight on the front. The light did not seem to bother them. From time to time one of them would stop and turn back, gazing at us, eyes lighting up in the headlamps of the vehicle. More curious than threatening.
Finally they reached the water-hole. All the females lined up – like a Radio City chorus line – along the edge of the waterhole. With beautiful symmetry they hunched down on their powerful forequarters and daintily lapped up gallons and gallons of water.
We sat in the landrover – speaking in whispers – thrilled and awed by Nature’s beauty.
Oh yes – I AM homesick for the bush.