The Intrepid Flamingo: Tuesday, August 11th

Through the heart of a South African Jungle runs a mighty river, the likes of which you and I can hardly imagine.

Two million fresh gallons of rainwater fell down from heaven and across the land, just the day before. And even if that rain didn’t fall directly into the river, it all found it’s way there eventually, by many a varied route.

And now this river has become the color of mud. It is not a river of family picnics or children’s books. It’s a murderous river, and as it rushes by, it scoops up chunks of land, even trees, even the occasional neglected fisherman’s cottage. It is a hungry river; the tips of it’s frothy waves are sharp like razor canines. It is much too old to have a name. A mysterious, furious energy carries it all the way from it’s conception in the center of the earth, to it’s inevitable death at the narrow edge of the sea.

On the middle of that river floats a raft. At least some would call it a raft, but at a closer glance, it’s merely a few logs lashed together with twigs and vines. The little raft is performing beyond all expectation, doing it’s best to stay above water, riding that river like a mosquito who clings to the windshield of an 18-wheeler lumber truck.

And on the center of that raft stands a lone flamingo. She looks so exotic, so rare and precious standing there. In a violent world of greens and browns, winds and rains, her rosy feathers are still vibrant. They look like they would be softer than the richest of velvets.

Her body is an intricately crafted survival machine. She’s been walking through lagoons for ages, and therefore she has no fear of water, even for the mightiest of rivers. Her eyes are pearls. Her neck is nimble. Her legs are stilts, and she is the earth’s politest creature, capable of wading through the muck of life without spoiling a single feather.

The raft takes a lurch and a leap. It has smashed through yet another wave and still refuses to fall apart. The flamingo places her second foot on the raft for purchase, but only for a second. As soon as the trouble is past, she bends and draws her free leg back underneath her body.

The flamingo opens and closes her beak. Up ahead she spies a waterfall. She judges that her raft will overtake the waterfall in a matter of minutes.

But she is not afraid, as a creature of a lower nature might be, she is only knowing.

The mighty river roars! It churns and breaks and roils in torment! The rains begin again. The wind grabs the trees and bends them double.

The flamingo is beset on all sides. She flexes her wings.

Any minute now she’ll go launching out over that edge. The water will drop out below her. Every wild sound will die, all mix together and fade into a low, faraway hum. The river will slow. The raindrops will fall lightly like watery ballons. And the world will grow quiet, if only for a moment.

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