crouch, touch, pause… ENGAGE!

24 05 2012

 

One of SA’s most beloved sports is rugby.  At the beginning of a ruck the referee will call out the string of words “crouch, touch, pause, engage!” I think it is meant to keep the individuals from really hurting each other, but I have come to think that the words indicate getting ready to really get into some tough action, face the challenges and live with a bit of pain. 

I could just about hear these words in my mind as we boarded the aeroplane for Tanzania on Tuesday.  We had just met up with Deon’s new boss and the discussion had left us both a little concerned as things did not seem very certain.  We are presently somewhere between the “pause” and “engage!” commands, ready to go into a new phase of life’s game.  We have a focus of getting ahead, making it through and hopefully not losing too much blood in the process!

We are in Dar es Salaam at the moment, sorting out some things and then head out to Mwanza sometime on the weekend.

We have had to leave our own wildlife behind for a bit, and are hoping to catch new fascinations to admire for a while.  But I could not help but get all caught up in some of nature’s own ‘rugby’ over the last while.  It is rutting season for the impalas. 

Although these buck are common in the bushveld I just never tire of their beauty.  The shiny coats and grace with which they carry themselves is continuously beautiful.  Impalas have a rather tight social system and the patterns play themselves out over and over. 

A male fights for his harem of anywhere between 4 or 5 or several dozen females.  This is now the time of the fighting and they take it very seriously. 

Males will sum each other up, perhaps scrape their hooves a bit and then get stuck into each other… crouch, touch, pause… ENGAGE!

The rams are on high alert, being very protective over their females at this time.  When we have been anywhere near impalas the males would grunt and snort in warning over the last while.  We have heard grunts between hippo and impala too… there is not much awareness of ‘own size’ picking here! 

We have also seen evidence of impalas not having great intellectual ability.  They are not quite the Nobel Science prize winners of the bush! 

These two males were engaging over from opposite sides of a barbed wire fence.  Apparently the feeling of the horns helps them both to think they are winning! 

Another engaging sight was of these Processionary worms, of the family Thaumetopoeidae. On our last evening at the Farm we saw what looked like a rope lying across the road. We stopped to investigate:

The string was about 20 metres long : here I was at the tail end and Deon stood at the first caterpillar.

IT took a great deal of time for them to cross the road, and we did not want to disturb them (there is evidence of the train following each other by scent.  We also felt awful to leave a few of these exceptional creatures dead by driving over them, so we took another route and came back a while later.)

 

We discovered that the first catterpillar leaves a silk-like thread for the others to follow.  We only saw this thread on the road and not in the grassy area.

 

What an amazing texture!  It is truly silky and smooth and is exceptionally strong: look at the number of stones clinging to the thread!

Once again we are left in awe at how small things are totally fascinating and are amazingly created.  The synergy of getting somewhere together, safely, just amazes me.

As we put our heads down, pausing and engaging for the next part of our story, we hope to leave silk threads of God’s love wherever we go and that we can share with others how totally UNBORING a life with God is! 

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