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There Is Another World

Coen Van Wyk

Posted on June 8, 2021 10:07

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The times when the intrigues, worries, and stress of our daily lives become overwhelming are when we need to be reminded that there are other realities. A week in nature is a sanity check.

Life-giving water seeps from the rocks, trickles down the escarpment, and pools in reed-fringed ponds where dragonflies dart and dainty antelope pause, timidly searching for threats before sipping, then looking around.

Small streams seek their way to the sea, join in bustling rivulets, roll over rocky rapids, and merge into the river as it grows and twists its way sinuously through sandbanks and islets where crocodiles wait on their prey. Pools create shelter for the hippos that line the banks, seeking sun and warmth by day and grazing by night. Their threatening grunts resound when any intruder approaches, and they slide back into the cool, dark depths to sleep, rising to breathe or to flick an ear at the probing of a bird’s beak before submerging again.

Stork perched on a sleeping hippo. Author's photo


Ponderous elephants gaze into the depths while sucking the cool drink from the river, spraying it over themselves, and filling their cavernous bellies. The river slides on through the reeds where leopards stalk nervous antelope. It brawls over rocky ledges, growing in size as the waters of other streams mingle, each with its smell of forests and cliffs and its taste of minerals and herbs.

Elephants have right of way. Author's photo


Two young antelope come to drink and graze on the abundance of grass, cautiously stepping through the shallows while looking for crocodiles and gazing at the brush to detect crouching lions.

Young Kudu bull skips through the water, avoiding crocodiles. Author's photo

Boisterous baboons rampage through the trees in a robust political power play while wading birds watch distractedly.

Here the troubles of the world are forgotten, the superpower politics are insignificant and pandemics are only a footnote in the daily drama. But, ever-growing settlements of unemployed youth, land-hungry tribes, and mineral-seeking multinationals all lay waste to this corner of paradise.

And the river finds it’s way through human borders, past polluting towns, to the ocean.

The river will flow, whether we are here or not. Author's photo
Coen Van Wyk

Posted on June 8, 2021 10:07

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Source: Nature.com

Nature, Published online: 04 February 2020; doi:10.1038/d41586-020-00302-2 Don’t cheat Chinese environment laws with quick...

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