A is For Antelope

From the time I could walk until I left Zambia at 22, my dad was always pointing out the different kinds of antelope on our yearly trips down through Zimbabwe to South Africa to visit the relatives, or on our journeys to the Congo, Malawi, Tanganyika or Kenya. There are over 91 species of the animal, from the eland, to the gerenuk, impala, kudo, roan, sable and springbok. I often mistook one for the other, well, except for the springbok, symbol of South African rugby, but I never mistook the dik-dik, my favorite. These graceful dwarf antelopes are about the size of a fox terrier, with almost no tail and a small tuft of hair on the head. At maturity they weigh up to 12 pounds and are 14 inches tall at the shoulder. And wow, can they zig-zag and bounce when chased by a larger animal.


All Creatures, Great and Small

I’ve always had this thing about animals, all of them, including birds.  Actually, even insects, yeah, spiders too.  But that’s another post for another day.  Pisses me off when I hear someone call a chicken stupid, or a crow malevolent, etc. Henry Beston–1888-1968–says it best.

“We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”