Not A ‘Dry’ Morning

Optimism hadn’t paid often. And I say if optimism doesn’t pay, try persistence. If persistence doesn’t pay, try change. And if change doesn’t work, just listen to your heart, which you should have done in the first place!

So we listened to our hearts and with a sense of guarded enthusiasm, boarded the safari vehicle early that morning.

Transient tourists were still emptying their bladders dry by the wayside, late coves were snoozing their alarms and our driver seemed like he had had more than one screwdriver – so groggy and languid he seemed. His night certainly hadn’t been dry and whatever he had watered his throat with had instead now left his words as dry as the path on which we drove.

Any information on recent sightings, therefore, he wouldn’t give, and soon my questions went dry as we passed one waterhole after another in silence, along the way photographing a chital fawn tapping its mother’s milk-kiosk, its morning decidedly not dry.

But the forest was dry – dry and brown – and when thusly we were coasting along the dry, brown forest when a dry, brown animal added itself to the scenery. This awoke the driver just in time and he braked the brake-fluid dry.

The leopard didn’t. He kept his course towards us, pausing only briefly to spray-mark a tree en route –  he certainly wasn’t having a dry morning, what with all that urine squirting out.

And then he passed by merely feet away, just as well having a poor sense of smell, for all of us sported apiece a mouth ajar, dry and unkempt!

He was an old male who had evidently witnessed some rough days, the multiple scars on his stolid visage revealing his eventful past like a cursory motion picture. 

After passing us, he marketed his brand of perfume some more with free roadside sample deposits, as though to wet the dry earth sapped of its very spirit.

Then he walked away, away and away, into the great thicket that sheltered his secrets.

And as we moved from one waterhole to quite another, we hadn’t had a dry morning either.

All images were shot with a Nikon D600 and a 300mm f/2.8G AF-S VR lens with a Nikon TC14E II (1.4x) teleconverter.

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