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LosAngelesgobackfeeingthequietdesperationotiremartsanddaytimeTVdrawnbysomemythicremembranceostrengthandsunlightoreshmorningswhenwewalkedwiththebeastswovengraceullyintotheirworld.Theacilitieswereoutstandingtheconnectionswerefawlessandthepersonalattentiontodetailwasunprecedented.OnereturnsromAricawithindelibleimageseighty-veelephantsbathingintheriverinthelateaternoonlightastonesthrowromourlaunchaprideolionsattheedgeoalakedevouringtheirkillinthesunsetagiraepoisedinameadowontheendoarainbowortheearth-sinkingthunderoVictoriaFallsplungingatthreemilliongallonsasecondasthoughsomecosmicabysshadopenedtoswallowallthewatersotheworld.TheexperienceoAricaromtheregalliontherarerhinocerosandthecantankerouscapebualototheill-temperedhippotheelusiveleopardorthefightoathousandfamingoesisessentialtoanysojournonthisplanet.YetthereismorethantheanimalstothelureoArica.Inthecrispchillopredawnasouropenvehiclecrawledoverruttedroadstowardstherstglowoadayatimelessauralayoverthelandstretchingawaytoahorizondottedwithumbrellatreesbarelimbedunderbrush-strokeoliageleaningandreachinginthedawnlight.IimaginedthesamereshmorningourmillionyearsbeorewhentheOlduvaimanstoodinallhispristinevitalityontheshoreohisancientlakeandthehillsrosebehindhimrollingdarkandhulkinglikeaherdogreatbeasts.AricaThewordalonerecallssomeprimalSourcesomepulsatingcenterdeepintheracialmemorythemysteryooriginstheMotheroman.LiketheseaitselthisvastoceanolandwithitsdarkjunglesandmajesticmountainsistheprimordialHomethemythicEdenromwhichmenspreadovertheplanetliketerrestrialastronautssurvivingevermoreharshandarticialenvironments.Wearedrawnback.EuropeansgobackAmericansgobackpeopleromWereturntoAricatoreencountertheourmillionyearsohistorythatamereourmillenniacouldnevereace.LiketheheroinHeartoDarknesswearedrawntotheDarkContinentoourinnerselvesthedarkorestothesoulwherethemodernegoencampsinatinyclearing.Andweprojectourhal-rememberedwholenessontothatsun-drenchedlandomajorchordsandprimarycolorsosmilingprimitivesandbeautiullypaintedcreatures.WearetheShadowPeopleallenromgracecastromtheinnerEdentoawildernessoexternals.WereturntotheDarkContinentandlieawakeinourtentsprojectingourmonstersintotheAricannightstartledromsleepbythesloshingoelephantsalongthelakeshoreorthehollowbraysohipposafoatsomewheredownthedarkriver.Butthesearethebogiesobadmoviesthemisplacedspectersoasurrealcivilization.TheinnocentcreaturesthemselveswhoonceroamedthecontinentatwillnowwandertheSerengetilikeartiactsoevolutionthelastremnantsoanunragmentedworld.Oneeelsthatthisisthelastreugeoinnocencethatthelastlionsmaysoonlieinthatsunsetbythewatersedge.AlongthebanksotheChobeRivertheelephantsgatherinthedusktheirgreatdarkshapesendureasmonumentsothevastoceanoliethatoncecoveredthiscontinent.Andthegiraewhoseheadsoaredabovetherainbowintothegraymistwatchinguswithlong-lashedliquideyesspokethesadhopeoallsurvivingspecies.OnlytheringingoinsectsundertheredskyseemseternallikesomeresidualtraceothelosttribalrhythmsthemelodiouschantsoZuluandMaasaithatonceroseuplikevoicesromtheearthechoingothearhillsintheheatothedaytoadeoverthelonggrassleavingthelandindesolatesilence.Notonlyareinnumerablespeciesincludingourownthreatenedwithecologicalextinctionbutmanyarealsoatimmediateriskromhuntersandpoachers.Thereisacertainironythereoreinsayingthatweareortunatetobelivingatthistimeorourchildrenschildrenmayneverseearhinoagorillaorcountlessotherendangeredcreatures.AnditisdoublyortuitoustohaveanorganizationlikeBushtrackswiththeexpertisetoeaseusthroughwhatcanotenseemapoliticalandeconomicwilderness.OurnalthanksthentoDavidandCarolynTettorputtingtogethertheperecttrip.RitaWynWachhorstGraphicDesignerTeacherAuthorWEWOuLDLIKETOcOMMENDcAROLyNANDDAVIDTETTFORARRANGINGThEMOSTFAScINATINGTRIPOFOuRLIVES.1.800.995.8689WWW.BUShTRACKS.CoM23