Lens-Artists Challenge #48 – WILD

“Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit.”

Edward Abbey

Leopard in the wild

FOCUSED

Way back in 1963, Maurice Sendak published Where The Wild Things Are to rave reviews. Since then, children everywhere have been entertained by its wonderful story and colorful pictures. For me though, “Wild Things” will forever bring to my mind our incredible African safari.

Male lion in the wild

THE KING AT REST

“Wilderness without wildlife is just scenery.”

Lois Crisler

Although we visited Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe as far back as 2006, (time DOES fly doesn’t it?!), I remember every moment as if it were yesterday.  Just last week, as often happens, I was asked which of our many adventures was my favorite. My answer never varies. I’ve loved every one of our journeys but Africa will always be at the top of my list. Happily, that conversation was my inspiration for this week’s challenge.

HIPPO IN DEEP GRASSES AND MARSH WATERS

MARSH-BOUND HIPPO

“In the wilderness is the salvation of the world.”

Henry David Thoreau

There is no way to describe the emotion of seeing Africa’s creatures in their natural environment.  It is truly life-changing.  I struggle with the concept of zoos after seeing animals roaming free, but I know many of us would never see them if not in captivity.  Still it challenges me to justify our right to confine them.  We can only hope that the zoos’ visitors learn to respect and appreciate them, and to join the many who work to save them and the environments on which they, and we, depend. 

YOUNG BULL ELEPHANT

FRIENDLY GREETING

“The wilderness is a place of an encounter with the creator.”

Laila Gifty Akita

I have no such challenge when it comes to Wild Game Trophy hunting. Many years ago I attended a party at the home of a friend of a friend. He was a hunter and had hung dozens of heads of these beautiful creatures on his walls as well as used their fur as rugs on his floor.  I’m sure there are many who feel such practices are reasonable, but I am not among them. Tremendous progress has been made in understanding the very real emotions of our four-legged brethren. Science has proven that their methods of communication, although different than ours, are every bit as effective and at times even more sophisticated. If only we could learn to speak their language we might learn how better to co-exist on our shared planet.

cheetah in hunting position

ON ALERT

“Wilderness touches the heart, mind and soul of each individual in a way known only to himself.”

Michael Frome

I recently read that Botswana, which for many years disallowed elephant hunting, has passed a law allowing it on a limited basis. Although it makes me tremendously sad, there is some justification for their decision.  Back when we visited, our guide told us Botswana was having a terrible time managing the growth of the herds. They had become so large they were destroying their own habitat more quickly than it could be replenished.  One wonders though – obviously huge herds survived in times past without human intervention.  Survival of the fittest is more than just a phrase – it is a valid description of the evolution of many species, including, one would assume, elephants.

sable in motion in the wild

SAUNTERING SABLE

“The wilderness needs your whole attention.”

Laura Ingalls Wilder

Although perhaps not as attention-getting as the big cats or elephants, many dozens of other animals in the wild are equally awe-inspiring to those of us who love nature. Take for example the sable antelope above. It was a privilege to see them on the run through the African plains. Although they are threatened by lions and other predators, they use their long horns for defense and typically emerge victorious. Prized by hunters for its beautiful coat and incredible horns, the primary threat to this species is its status as a wild game trophy.  Their numbers have also diminished due to the use of insect control chemicals. Because their grazing areas are typically conducive to farming, several conservation programs now focus on providing financial incentives to farmers who adhere to conservation criteria.

LILAC BREASTED ROLLER

LILAC BREASTED ROLLER

“There is language going on out there- the language of the wild. Roars, snorts, trumpets, squeals, whoops, and chirps all have meaning derived over eons of expression… We have yet to become fluent in the language -and music- of the wild.”

Boyd Norton

Thanks to improved post-processing software I was able to rescue the images above and below from my 2006 “rejects” bin. Together the images, along with the Norton quote, speak volumes about the beauty of the earth’s natural wilderness and its inhabitants. Perhaps we could all benefit from a better understanding of our place on the planet and the amazing creatures with whom we share it.

LEOPARD CUB IN THE WILD

LEOPARD CUB

“There are places which exist in this world beyond the reach of imagination.

Daniel J. Rice

There are many ways one might choose to interpret this week’s “wild” challenge – of course wild animals, but also wildflowers, the wild blue yonder, wild about “fill in the blank”, the wild, wild west….I could go on and on.  Instead I’ll turn it over to you to show us YOUR perspective on what wild means to you.  

Speaking of your perspectives, last week Amy challenged us to show the 5 elements as defined in ancient China and you replied with a wonderful assortment of responses…

HAVE YOU SEEN THESE ?

  • Sofia showed us the importance of considering the 5 elements together here
  • Viveka took us around the world with her elements here
  • Mike offered us a musical memory here

We look forward to seeing your responses to this week’s challenge. For information on joining the challenge click here. Remember to link your post here and to tag it Lens-Artists to help us find you in the WP Reader section. Be sure to tune in to Patti’s Pilotfish blog for next week’s challenge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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