Greetings, dear nature enthusiasts, wanderers, and casual page-stumblers! It is I, Gage Neal, your prophet of the great wilds, back once again with fresh tales from the elemental theatre of Mother Nature. This week, I embarked on a journey to observe a creature of supreme grace and speed. Please, allow me to introduce…Bolanle, the Thomson's Gazelle.
Now, locating Bolanle was an adventure in itself, even if you might argue that spotting a Thomson's Gazelle in Africa is as easy as tweeting in this modern age. But Bolanle, she was special, a prima ballerina hidden in the throng of the dancing corps. When my eyes finally caught sight of her, it was as though someone had replaced the sun in the sky for a high-watt bulb. Her delicate yet sturdy form stood out like an oasis in the desert.
Over the course of the next few days, I made my business to remain unseen and undisturbed, right in the heart of Bolanle's wild savannah, armed with a camera and an eager spirit. My first day began with the sunrise, bathing the plain in shades of orange and pink. Bolanle was gazing up at the sky, as if conversing with the sun. "Is it time to get up already?" she seemed to bleat, her soft eyes blinking against the coming day.
Soon, she was joined by a swaggering Olive Baboon, whom, in my peculiar and absolutely logical wisdom, I named Flash, for the lightning bolt-shaped spots on his flank. Their wordless exchange was like an opera of subtle gestures and sideway glances, half buried in the mysteries of their mutual environment. Flash seemed to ask, "Fancy a race, Bolanle?" With a playful twitch of her nose and a skip, Bolanle shot across the vast expanse, giving Flash a clear answer.
As the midday sun warmed the landscape, Bolanle, ever the good hostess, showcased the savannah with its wide range of gastronomy. A soft green carpet of fresh grass was the main course, spruced with occasional herbs. The pair looked like tourists dining at a foreign trattoria— Flash flipping beetles into his mouth, while Bolanle nibbled with refined grace.
As night fell, Bolanle entertained a visit from an African Elephant, aptly named Rough-n-Tough for his wrinkled skin and solemn demeanor. Simultaneously maintaining a safe distance and communicating respect, Bolanle seemed to ask, “How was your day, Rough-n-Tough?” His deep hum in response was a soliloquy of his adventures, or so I chose to interpret.
Second day into this theater of roving spectacle, Bolanle introduced Flash and Rough-n-Tough to her kickboxing classes— a their survival-oriented dance routine with Flash playing the faux predator. The audience comprised zebras and warthogs, who with their broad smiles and loud cheers were named Cheerleader Z and Woo-the-Warthog respectively.
During the course of the week, I had the profound experience of witnessing friendships, trials, moments of fear and courage, and survival instincts, each eloquently expressed without the human orchestra of words. They demonstrated, in their non-human way, the art of living and co-existing, sending hazy notions of superiority into oblivion.
As I leave, I carry with me a promise of return, a curious heart, and countless stories of Bolanle and her friends. Stay tuned for my next wild adventure, dear readers, as I traipse around the globe, peeking into the animated world of the untamed and writing terribly conjectured conversations between fascinating beasts. Farewell, until then!