This morning, only minutes after Tom stepped out onto the veranda, he called out to me, “Little is here!” We hadn’t seen him in a week.
With holidaymakers coming to Marloth Park over the past holiday weekend (Women’s Day in South Africa), the influx of humans kept many of our favorite animals away. An exception to that has been Tiny, who visits each evening within minutes of 4:30 pm, 1600 hours, regardless of what’s transpiring in the park.
As for Little, he’d last visited about a week ago. Tom is not as attached to him as I am when he considers that Little is like a “bull in a China shop.” but Tom shooed him away from eating Frank’s bird seeds, and we hadn’t seen him until today. I genuinely believe he decided to let go of feeling rebuffed and return to see me.
Little came into the living/lounge room in the Orange house last time we were there. After all, Little tore the screen to the lounge door, which has since been repaired. It was Little who languished in the cement pond on hot days. Little precipitated our post entitled, “Pig on the Porch, Pig in the Parlor, Pig in the Pond.” See here for the post.
Little brought a friend into the house to share in his bounty of pellets, as seen in this link. The laughter and amazement we experienced in 2018/2019 are now repeated in 2021 by the intelligence of this bossy and yet charming warthog who continues to bring us great moments of awe and wonder over his ability as a wild animal to communicate with us humans to this degree.
This morning, was it love he exhibited when he nestled on the ground only three feet, one meter, from me after having his fill of pellets and the forbidden birdseed, as I sat in my usual chair at the table on the veranda? He couldn’t take his eyes off of me. I couldn’t help but laugh in sheer wonder.
Some may say he was looking at me to give him more pellets. But it’s been Tom who’s tossed him the pellets when he’s better at throwing them into the garden than I am. But, even Tom is amazed by how Little responds to my voice and interacts with me. We always loved our dogs and their ability to communicate in loving ways with us. Pigs, much more intelligent than dogs, certainly can do the same. It’s not always about “the food.”
We see a tremendous amount of loving behaviors in the bush. The moms and babies of most species exhibit an enormous amount of love toward one another. We often see friendly and loving behavior among the kudus, giraffes, warthogs, zebras, bushbucks, and other species. Why would it be so unusual that a wild animal could, under certain circumstances, express caring behavior for us human animals?
As far as wild animals are concerned, most likely, we are simply another species they encounter in the wild with whom they may choose to interact or not. We often find ourselves gifted with a response that warms our hearts and fills us with great joy for those of us passionate observers who choose to interact with the wildlife in subtle ways, such as through eye contact, voice tones, and appropriate food offerings.
Yes, we know. That’s not our intent. They are wild animals, and we shouldn’t attempt to domesticate wild animals. Instead, we find ourselves in a state of awe and appreciation over the gifts of life so blissfully bestowed upon us by Mother Nature to enable all of us to live in harmony on this earth.
Yes, Little, and now also Tiny, each in their way, teaches us the importance of their existence and how to cohabitate in this unique environment. For this, we are grateful, as we spend every day living in the bush continually reveling in their very existence, let alone in an opportunity to somehow communicate with them.
Tonight, after spending five evenings celebrating life with local friends, we’re staying in. The heat and humidity continue to be outrageously uncomfortable. But, we’re managing well, especially when the air-con in the bedroom allows us to get restorative sleep at night. We sweat on the veranda during the daylight hours, occasionally taking a break to come into the bedroom to turn on the AC for a short reprieve. Knowing we can do this helps tremendously.
We’ve had several days without WiFi or power outages which have been delightful. But, as we discussed with Linda and Ken last night at the Amazing Kruger View Restaurant, after all, this is Africa. It’s a hot, dusty, humid, bug-infested continent with snakes, wild beasts, and dangers in many directions. If one cannot adapt to these conditions, visiting Africa may not be for them.
For us, with all its challenges, we feel right at home while continuing to stay on guard for any potential risks. By the way, in 30 days, we’ll be on our way to Kenya.
Photo from one year ago today, March 9, 2020:
|Sundowners on the beach at the Ideal Beach Resort located in Mahabalipuram, India. For more, please click here.|