The Elephant and the Tree (1977).
I was leaving my belov-ed Africa completing five years of teaching.
From Lesotho (Le su tu) I flew for a last stop in Malawi.
I had the choice of a hotel and walking the town,
Or rent a car in which I would sleep and see some sights!
Hard to guess which I chose--------.
With the car, I needed food for my travels.
Coming upon an outdoor market, I purchased a huge hand of plantains
With several bags of tangerines--both easy to peel.
Then I was off down the dusty road to where?
Gave someone a lift for a while and chatted country politics.
(Banda had killed perhaps one person in every Milawan family!--so he said.)
Then went on and found a national game park.
Signed in and settled into my cabin.
Explored out in the bush for a time, with wondrous fascination.
(I kept my white flannel shirt on, covered in red African dust.)
Ate a bite from my stash of plantains and tangerines,
Then wandered out again near dusk for good wildlife viewing.
Walked along a lake's shore to my right, probably full of crocs and hippos.
Passed further on to discover a huge bull elephant now in sight.
I watched him feeding on branches for several minutes.
It was becoming darker.
Suddenly I heard a trumpet and saw the ears out and the trunk up!
Wind shifted. I knew I needed to leave--fast.
Crocs now to the left and a long open slope to the right.
One lone tree far ahead--my only hope.
I ran as I had never run before--my high school records were all shattered.
MADE IT, with a huge pachyderm just behind.
The tree's root mass, from past flooding, was wide, like a giant bonsai.
The elephant rounded to the right,
I rounded back to the left.
Then the other way for both of us in our opposed motions.
Two or more semi rotations and then a pause.
I had my foot uplifted on the tree root
And it trembled beneath my body in exhaustion and exhilarated fear.
Suddenly nothing--no sound--and I wondered where we were.
Slowly creeping around to see if the huge animal was there.
Not a thing------.
Then the sudden crack of a branch and I realized it had silently left to feed.
I slowly and carefully slunk out and back to my cabin,
Still so full of adrenalin, but quieter,
I lay down on my cot and left the world in excited slumber.
Frank Maurer 14 January 2023 1800 Hours.
About QRWC Activities
QRWC News You
Can Help! Gift
Businesses QRWC Video/DVD
with subject line Attention Frank QRWC