We were privileged to spend a couple of days in a game reserve as the guests of friends. In the cool of the evening we sat together, watching the sun sink into the plains that stretched out below us. We knew there were animals there, but were too high to see them without binoculars; and at the end of this hot day we were content to let them lead their own lives unobserved as we relaxed and chatted lazily with one another.
So it was that we met the Family. May you enjoy this little interlude of grace as much as we did and may it fill you anew with wonder at the beauty of creation that surrounds us.
And God said, ‘Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds; livestock, creatures that move along the ground and wild animals, each according to its kind.; And it was so. Genesis 2:24
As we sat, enjoying the cooler part of the day with friends, there was a lull in the conversation; and in the silence, stepping daintily on tip toe a family of steenbok meandered into the open space before us. The male, no larger than a medium size dog, wore spikey little horns, springing upright from the top of his head. The baby was last season’s fawn, slightly smaller than its parents, and still seizing the occasional opportunity to suckle from its mother. But she would have none of it and pushed him away with a sideways step and a not always so gentle nudge. Each one had huge eyes and lazy beautiful eyelashes.
We froze as they came near us, but they were quite relaxed – this was, after all, their territory and we the intruders. The young one jumped onto a rock not two metres from us and posed prettily for a photo. Gracefully he stepped down and followed his mother to the edge of the space, overlooking the plain below. Something caught their attention and they stood motionless in almost parallel symmetry, gazing at the potential threat.
The male, in the meantime, daintily nibbled some succulent new shoots on a small bush. He sauntered across the space, an arm’s distance from us and leapt onto the rocks that held a small pool of water. Reassured that whatever they had sensed was not a threat, his mate and offspring joined him at the water’s edge. Not pausing, this time, to drink they sauntered off into the bushes and we breathed a sigh of contentment and delight.
What a gift we had experienced as we were privileged to watch this family in perfect harmony explore their world this evening.