The Kalahari and the Termite Mound (1975).
We were immersed in the Kalahari Desert of Botswana, which surrounded us.
From our Lesotho base south of us,
Many miles had passed to reach this"idyllic" place.
Among us from the University, were an English retired District Governor, John.
His wife, a German intellectual, Shirley,
A Dutch demographer, Gerhard Schmitz,
And the wonderfully naive Librarian (I forget his name)
From New England, who wished to tag along.
I was resident biologist, there to observe and collect.
So many events unfolded during this expedition.
Perhaps after some time, I might be able to relate a few.
On this particular morning, the Librarian and I set out on foot to view large game;
There was a lion kill we must visit to check the consumption from that past night.
The day was bright and full of all that Africa could offer.
As we moved through the beautiful tall, lush grasses,
Farther and farther from our parked Land Rover,
We saw aways away a bull elephant, slowly grazing quietly in our direction.
I scrutinized the area just to have a good 'lay of the land'.
Near the grassy opening, amongst the trees
Were a large number of giant termite mounds.
(Termites, of course, were the impetus during our human evolution,
Offering, once discovered as a food source, that pulse of protein,
Which allowed the extra energy source to feed our ever-increasing brains!)
I grabbed the Librarian's arm and commanded him to run with me
Towards the waiting pillars of insect- constructed soil.
As we ran, I directed, when by the mound,
To jump straight to the right, behind it.
I followed, also abruptly shifting to the right, out of sight.
The huge pachyderm thundered past us,
Not detecting our quick moves, because of poor eyesight!
Saved from destruction by a beast with poor eyesight.
We watched as it plunged onward into the bush
And we, much relieved, turned back towards our vehicle,
With yet another adventurous episode under our fragile belts.
Frank Maurer 15 January 2023
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