June 20 – Heading home

Homeward bound

Homeward bound

I’m sitting at the gate with the Delta flight parked on the runway in front of me and wishing SO much that my trip was about to begin rather than to end. I wish the gorgeous sunset I’m watching through the airport window were my first and not my last here in Africa. Don’t get me wrong: I would not trade being an American and living in the US for all the leopards in Africa. But these three weeks have simply been magical. I have paid no attention to the clock or the calendar; getting out to begin a game drive seemed so much more important than a shower or clean clothes; I have seen things I really never expected to see and enjoyed myself so much more than I even hoped I might… I have wanted to do this and be here since I was five years old. And it was everything I could have hoped for, and more.

Thank you, Gina, Evan and Dana, for sharing with me the chance to spend that first week in South Africa. Thank you, Fred, for sharing the wonder of the next leg of the trip in Botswana and at the Victoria Falls. And thank you, Grant Craig, for making sure that we left Africa so much richer in experience than when we arrived.

It will be a very very long time before I will be able to close my eyes and NOT replay, in my mind’s eye (and ear and nose!), scenes of lions and elephants and wild dogs. Of hyenas screaming through the campsite. Of the roar of a lion behind the tent. Of the smell of wild sage and elephant dung. Of the delicate colors of the lilac-breasted roller. Of the joy and the wonder of it all.

And I would love, someday, maybe, just maybe, to come back…

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