Posted in Africa, Elephants, Nature, Photography

Monuments

photograph by Cheryl Merrill
photograph by Cheryl Merrill

As we make our way down the two-rut road, a mob of Helmeted guineafowl runs ahead of us.  They dart from one side of the road to the other, a bunch of silly old biddies, with shrunken featherless heads, thick bodies covered in spotted dark gray plumage and large rumps that bounce when they run.  Blue jowls on their necks flap back and forth under their beaks.  They never once consider flying to get out of our path.

The guineafowl call excitedly to each other as we flush them: Keck, keck, keck, keck, keck, keck, KECK!!!!!!!  Eventually they dash to the side of the road and disappear into the bush.

Ignoring them, the elephant in front of us steadily treads down the right rut of the road.  His pace is unhurried, measured, constant.  A shoulder lifts, a leg straightens, accepts weight, and the foot splays out.  A back leg moves forward, toenails scraping sand, straightens, accepts weight, and the foot splays out.  A creature bigger than most monuments is on the move.

photograph by Cheryl Merrill
photograph by Cheryl Merrill

Author:

Cheryl Merrill’s essays have been published in Fourth Genre, Pilgrimage, Brevity, Seems, South Loop Review, Ghoti, Alaska Quarterly Review, Adventum and Isotope. “Singing Like Yma Sumac” was selected for the Best of Brevity 2005 and Creative Nonfiction #27. It was also included in the anthology Short Takes: Model Essays for Composition, 10th Edition. Another essay, “Trunk,” was chosen for Special Mention in Pushcart 2008. She is currently working on a book about elephants: Larger than Life: Living in the Shadows of Elephants.

6 thoughts on “Monuments

  1. love your descriptions. Could totally see the guinea fowl, and feel the ellie. Going back in January leading a tour and then on my own for a week. Cant wait. Lori from SavingWild.com Happy to share book struggles and triumphs. My next book will be out in March.

    1. Hey, thanks for following! It’s an honor. Would love to hear about your “struggles and triumphs.” Looking for an agent right now. Did you go the agent route? When it gets closer to March, let me know and I’ll post about your book here. I’ve posted about EcoExist here and can dovetail Amanda & you together in a new blurb.

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