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What to remember . . . what to forget

Tuesday’s Blog:  Remembering and Forgetting

Jackson's Hartebeest   Murchison Falls National Park,  West Nile Uganda
Jackson’s Hartebeest Murchison Falls National Park, West Nile Uganda

 

 

It’s a face only a mother could love.

They usually describe Jackson’s Hartebeest as “horse-faced.”

That’s not a compliment where I come from.

But it’s the most memorable of all of the animals we saw.

On our recent game park visit, we saw thousands of animals in western Uganda’s Murchison Falls National Park.

It’s difficult to describe how it feels to watch a trotting herd of cape buffalo.

Or to stop our vehicle as a long line of elephants cross the road.

Easy decision: They've got the right away.
Easy decision: They’ve got the right away.

 

To see seven giraffe at the edge of the Nile as our guide says,  “Those group of giraffe are ‘agemates.’  They were raised together and will spend the remainder of their lives as a group.

giraffeagematesNileDSC00752

It was amazing.

 

I’ve always loved zoos but seeing large groups of animals in their open natural habitat is indescribable.

 

We saw all of the area’s animals except the big cats.

That can wait for next time.

 

However, the animal I’ve thought about the most is that horse-faced hartebeest.

 

They were always mixed in with other antelopes and our guide Henry explained why:   “Jackson’s

Hartebeest has a very short memory. It can be chased by a lion and within fifteen minutes forget

all about its brush with danger, stop, and begin munching grass contentedly.”

 

Needless to say, the end of the story is not always pretty when, and if, the lion catches up.

 

However, Henry added,  “Because of this lapse of memory, the Hartebeest will mix in with other

antelopes who don’t forget.  When an attack occurs, the hartebeest will run until the others stop.”

 

It’s not as dumb an animal as it might seem.

Just forgetful but smart enough to surround itself with wise friends.

 

Kind of like most men I know (including myself) we marry above ourselves so we have someone to keep us straight and remind us to keep running from the lions and leopards.

 

Knowing what to remember and what to forget.

It’s a life skill that we humans struggle with.

 

I’ve always loved the line in Bob Seger’s “Against the Wind”:

“I wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then.”

 

We humans forget what we should remember,

Then remember things we should let go of.

 

The first one is called foolish.  Forgetting about the lions.

Proverbs talks repeatedly about the fool.  In the grossed verse in the Bible,  wise Solomon writes,

“As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool returns to his folly.”

 

I’ve seen both do it.

Dogs . . . and Fools.

 

We should learn from our mistakes (even better: learn from the mistakes of others).  It’s not wise to keep repeating the same lessons because we didn’t learn from the previous ones.

 

The old adage,  “To repeat the same things expecting different results is insanity” applies.

 

Let’s just for today . . . and tomorrow too . . . remember what we’ve learned and not forget about

our interactions with the lions, leopards, and lessons of life.

 

Cape Buffalo

About Curt Iles

I write to have influence and impact through well-told stories of my Louisiana and African sojourn.

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