Monday, May 31, 2010

Friday, May 28, 2010

Farewell, Bill

My brother Bill was found dead in his home this morning. He was 63 years old, had struggled with addiction for most of his life, and it was actually a miracle that he lived as long as he did. He was a smart, talented, guy who had a tough go of it. He is now at peace and the struggle is over.

Across the sea,
a pale moon rises.
The ships have come,
to carry you home.

And all will turn,
to silver glass.
A light on the water.
Grey ships pass
Into the West.

(That is from Into the West, the last song in The Lord of the Rings. Here is a link to a performance by Annie Lennox.

Godspeed, Bill. My love and prayers go with you.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Emerging Warthogs

We were very fortunate to see a family of warthogs greeting the morning as they came out of their underground den. It was kind of like an eruption of warthogs---as soon as one would come out, another would follow, as if the earth were spitting them up. There must have been seven or more and took only a few minutes, but it seemed like it went on for a very long time. When the whole family was out, they trotted off, probably to dig up a little breakfast. They are so odd looking but pretty cute in their own way. And their energy is great---very determined and focused little guys, going about their business with resolve and determination.

Friday, May 21, 2010

A study in contrasts

We saw this little Blacksmith plover several times during our rides. She had laid her eggs right in the middle of the road, and stood there protecting them, looking at us warily, as we drove by. Our guides, Bebe and Gordon, seen above, were very aware of her and careful to not disturb or damage her very vulnerable nest. We kept our fingers crossed that her little family would hatch and survive, and that she would find a more suitable spot next time.

Africa is indeed a study in contrasts. In the course of an hour we spent time with this tiny bird of a few ounces, and were chased by an elephant that weighed thousands of pounds.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

New Friends

On the afternoon ride, we came across this herd of elephants crossing the stream. The matriarch who was leading them decided that there was something about us that she didn't like, or perhaps she was just in a bad mood. Whatever it was, she was intent on letting us know that it was time to leave. Her trumpets and splashing didn't seem that threatening, so we continued to watch and take photos. This seemed to annoy her even more, so she ran out of the water towards us. This definitely got our attention and our guide Bebe made a fast getaway. It must have been a sight to see the Land Rover zooming down the dirt road, dust flying, with a very angry elephant in hot pursuit. As you can see , I continued to take photographs, perhaps as a possible documentation of our last moments alive. Unfortunately I didn't get Kenneth and Michael who were behind us in the back seat in the photos as their expressions were priceless. When she finally gave up her pursuit of these annoying voyeurs, she trumpeted loudly, looked a little disgusted and sauntered off to rejoin the herd. It was a great experience.

Monday, May 17, 2010

More Chitabe

We had the great pleasure of meeting Michael and Kenneth on the short flight to this camp, and were really happy to share the next day and adventure with them. They live in Nova Scotia, which gets your attention right off the bat. Michael has an uncanny ability to spot animals, especially elephants, so he was a real asset. There's one! he would exclaim, and we would grab our binoculars and say, where? where? and sure enough, there would be an elephant or zebra beautifully camouflaged to all except him. The guides loved it, and so did we.

Kenneth is seen above wearing a very practical hat, something that I wish I'd had for my feet in the previous camp. Michael and I are are shown at sundowners, that very civilized bush tradition of cocktails and conversation as the sun sets. Here we are toasting 60th birthdays, which the three of us celebrate this year within a few months of one another. Looks to be a very good decade for all of us--it's off to a great start.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


This is the reason that I had to take a week off from posting. As is evident from this photo, my studio was torn apart so that a new floor could be installed (this was taken a day before the work actually started). It prompted me to empty bookcases, clean out all of the storage and was a good excuse to get rid of books and art supplies that no longer are useful. I also cleaned about everything I ran across in the process so it feels really good in here now. If you look closely, you can see my cat Zoe sitting on her table (left of photo, pink table cloth) waiting for dinner. She has lived in the studio for a couple of years now, but has been upgraded to the recently vacated goat shed. Drawing and watercolors were on hold as well, and it is so good to get back to the real work at hand.