I saw a photo of a herd of Impalas today. And it reminded me of a lot of things. Of course, the first memory was our family car — the Impala. I can’t recall if we had a Chevy Impala or a Buick Impala, and I certainly don’t know the year. But as a kid, I made no association with the animal which roams the savannas of Africa. I am not even sure I knew they existed. There were a lot of things I didn’t know as a kid.
Like just this very early morning. A large grasshopper entered our kitchen. As a child, I might have called it a cricket, or a grasshopper, a praying mantis, or a big green bug. I was a city kid. Bugs were bugs, birds were birds. We didn’t have house plants, and we barely had any landscaping, save for a few scrawny shrubs. I knew what a cow and a horse were, but I did not know there were different breeds, like Holstein, and Angus, and Pinto, and Haflinger.
I really, really didn’t know there were different types of chickens. But I sure was glad for the kind that laid eggs. Every morning, my Mom would fry a huge skillet of eggs for Dad and us kids. All Sunny-Side-Up. She rarely broke one. Most of the time, they were perfect dipping egg yolks, with the edges of the whites just a little frazzled to crispy. A stack of toast stood alongside, most of the time white, but occasionally, rye. We’d pass around the salt and pepper, and our magic breakfast would ensue. I loved that first meal of the day, all of us sitting around our kitchen table, not really speaking, just eating.
We had an Impala in the driveway. At some point. Yes. Impalas. That’s where I started with all of this. I like them because they remind me of Deer. And I love our herds and herds of deer, here at the house. The Impalas, though, are an interesting bunch. They have a hard gig, surviving there on the grasslands of Africa. What with all the Lions, and Leopards, and Cheetahs, and such.
The Impala hangs out with the Zebras, and the Wildebeest. A savanna crew. And, they all run between 40 and 50 mph. Which is speedy. Unfortunately, the Cheetah clocks in at 70 mph. Not much of a race when it comes to dinner time.
Here is something about the life on those plains, though. The Zebras, the Wildebeest, and the Impalas, can all understand each other, in language, when they give out their warning cries. So if any one of them sees a lion, and gives the big “Holy-Crap-There’s-A-Lion-Alert” — all three species understand this. And they scatter. They watch each other’s backs. As well as they can.
And, once again, so it is, with the way of the world. There are more analogies here than chickens have feathers.
But perhaps the best one is the reminder of the diversity on this planet. How we are all so very different, and here we are, sharing the big blue ball beneath our feet. The human family. And if we see something, that might be of harm to all of us, we can try our best to let the others know.
We can watch out for one another. If we choose.
Or. Perhaps. Another thought. There are things in this world to remind us, quite convincingly, that life can be full of splendor. You see. There is nothing quite as good as the perfect dipping egg with rye toast. And nothing quite as amazing as the grasslands of Africa. So much to be thankful for. Right at our fingertips, and across the globe.
“The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but the thankful heart will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings.”
― Henry Ward Beecher
“Blessings sometimes show up in unrecognizable disguises. ”
― Janette Oke
“Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.”
― Guillaume Apollinaire