Friday, June 19, 2009

Call of the Wild

The dogs of Maseno, domestic and wild, sometimes howl at night. We recognize the familiar sounds of our Mbwa as she joins in the nocturnal chorus. Once in awhile, though, we are awakened by a very particular pitch and intensity: the howling is eerie and prolonged. We don't hear his own rasping voice, but we wonder... Is the legendary local leopard-cat on the prowl in the nearby rocks and dense underbrush?

Stealthy, strong and shrewd, his natural territory is wide-ranging but ever-diminishing. Although he was once a solitary symbol of wisdom, neighboring farmers would now exterminate him if they could. He has an unfortunate habit of absconding with chickens and other small livestock. But the leopard is an elusive creature by instinct, and I confess that I am glad. I like to think of ours as wild and free -- while I am safely ensconced in my bed at Rotary House.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ah, makes me think of the New York versions: bobcats, owls, coyotes. We, too, have lost chickens and garden foods to local predators. But as frustrating, upsetting and costly as that can be, I'm with you on hoping we can find ways to live side-by-side. I like my world starkly beautiful, unpredictable, maybe even a little scary.