On our Earth there is a balance. This balance is seemingly simple but extremely complicated to behold. This balance encompasses animals and humans and plants. There are times when the system gets changed dramatically. Humans can’t interfere to make animal life better if something goes wrong. It is up to Mother Nature to change. At these times species have to change and adapt.
We are now in St. Lucia, a beautiful place on the eastern side of South Africa. This place is home to both animals and humans. Both live in a way of cooperation. The humans are focused on their life but trying as little as possible to interfere with the animals’ life. This gives both their own space. The problem is that the humans try to fix nature’s problems. These problems could seem severe when if put in God’s hands, he will fix it. Nature always finds a solution to a problem. For Example:
One afternoon we went on a Hippopautaumus and Crocodile Cruise up the St. Lucia Estuary. This is not an estuary for this used to be an estuary. An estuary is a body of water that is fed by tributary rivers. The estuary carries that water from the rivers and delivers it to the ocean. This is not an estuary because of a problem. This problem is created from drought. Drought causes the mouth of the river in the ocean to dry up and form a land area, closing off the area to the ocean. Twenty years it carried on as a lagoon (but still called an estuary). In twenty years’ time from the time of the drying up, something happened. Nature fixed itself by brewing hurricanes bigger than Hurricane Katrina. This brought gigantic amounts of rain thus flooding the lagoon once more. Now this created a link to Lake St. Lucia. It still did not connect to the ocean. This is still a problem for the natural life of the lagoon. An estuary is a mix of salt water and fresh water. The plant species relies upon that prominent mix of waters. Unfortunately all of the salt resides at the northern part of the estuary and all of the freshwater at the southern part. The middle has the suspension between fresh and salt waters. Thus, at the southern, fresh part has freshwater, marsh like plants springing up. Humans have tried to change this but this cannot be changed unless the estuary is opened up. Nature will have to come. I do believe it will.
This constant changing and mixing of resources has to have a change in the species in the immediate area. If the resources change, they will have to adapt to the different resources. They will have to change. This is not always easy. Animals will die of starvation if the food changes too drastically. This is one of the major consequences of the changes of the world.
My life has been changed in the past few days. We have had very close contact with God’s creation in the last days. It has been a real connection with our Earth. Our day in Pietermaritzburg was very special in many different ways. Alistair described them beautifully. I would like to talk about two particular encounters with God.
On this perfectly clear, crystal sky day we decided to take two hikes. The African landscape is vastly changing and very sharp. It is full of savannah and peaks and lush rivers and rolling land. It is magnificent to behold. This was most wonderful to hike on. Our first hike began in the morning. We set off down a lane that was rugged. We saw tracks of different animals. At first I thought they were of a horse because we were hiking on a horse farm. But no, these were the tracks of Impala.
We hiked for about half of an hour and then we saw in front of us, a herd of Impala.
At first I thought they might be deer but their markings gave them a different look.
We were quite literally only two or three feet in front of them and they seemed perfectly calm quite unlike the deer we have in the United States. These Impala continued quite lazily to feed upon grass under the short but seemingly familiar Acacia trees. We watched them for a good amount of time. They were quite amazing. They were graceful yet stiff as if waiting to see what we would do.
This did not surprise me but did really feel amazing to be just simply feet from an Impala.
We continued up the trail a number of paces until we came upon five zebras on the trail. This time we were a number of paces away but I could still feel their heavy breathing in my bones. They stared at us but also unusually seemed uncannily relaxed as if they saw us every day. They finally continued on their journey as we did ours.
I was amazed at this point seeing such animals that you only hear about and see in the zoo. They were so much more amazing. The way they seemed quite at peace with the world. This was because their home was protected. There were no natural predators in the area. We continued up to the top of the mountain only to see an amazing view of Pietermaritzburg. This was magnificent. It reminded me of the mountains of North Carolina. We had come at about half past 8 in the morning so there was still fog in the valleys and a sense of excitement in the forest of a new day. For every living creature, alas, this is a celebration of life.
Our second amazing trip was longer and very life changing. This time we drove for the best of half and hour down a dirt road into a lull that we were in a valley. Distracted by the thought of the beautiful scenery of tall, rounded mountains surrounding us, we conveniently forgot to read the elevation sign. The sky was still crystal clear blue and the sun was crossing the sky into the west. We drove into the park and came to the picnic area. It was packed but not in the slightest with humans. This picnic area was packed with animals, zebras and impala alike. They were clearly having a cause for quite a celebration. An area across from the picnic area had had a controlled burn and the animals were feasting off of it. They continued in their queues while we stopped the car and Alistair even got out and neared them to get good photos. They were quite relaxed and continued their life. Most didn’t even spare him a thought. We all got out and were on the same ground, quite unprotected or behind glass, as the animals. It was truly amazing. They looked at us deep within the eye for some fleeting moments and then continued. It was an amazing time to connect with these free creatures. We stayed there for what seemed like months but then finally continued.
We got out of the car at the trailhead and bounded towards the waterfall that the sign pointed to. We sauntered to it to find a cascade of water coming down in sheets hitting the lagoon promptly. We then realized just HOW high we were. We saw plants and vegetation growing and we saw snakes and lizards sunning themselves on the banks below, quite at peace with Mother Africa.
We continued through the savannah and made sure to stay on the path. We walked on for many minutes when we came to a valley. This valley was huge. It was massive and deep, lined with green trees that spread leaves for meters in different directions. For many moments it did not occur to me to look to the opposite side. I looked onto the mountains and felt immediately like the animals, at peace and reflection with the natural world, the amazing world, the ever changing world.
I focussed upon the mountain and saw a piece of artwork. There was a silhouette of a giraffe staring directly at us. Literally right at my eyes, deep within my eyes. I heard the words come to my ears,”Be still and know that I am God”. Over and over. The wind subsided and grass became still and it seemed the whole world was listening. The whole world was silent. The whole world was peaceful. The moment seemed to last for ten-thousand years when it could have been a fleeting second. I saw that there was also another giraffe that was eating from the top of the tree. The moment was beautiful.
Sometime the same day we ventured over to see the giraffes and we did and they looked at us with very large eyes and they continued eating from the trees.
Experiences like this are quite once in a lifetime. They are visions, Godsends. Visions of hopes and dreams for the world. Hopes of harmony, peace, and reconciliation.