This morning’s hunt is starting as most have in my last 12 years, before dawn. But this morning feels different, it even looks different. Normally there is some breeze to cool the already warm East Kenya Highlands. There should be some moonlight. Has the new moon ended so soon? Two mornings ago it was so bright. I remember how the early lights danced on the mist rising off the waterhole that lies just 100 yards from the deck where I’m standing. Through that mist I could clearly see the kudu and buffalo that are normally enjoying an early drink. This morning I can’t even see the water, only the smell of stale moss and drying animal dung provide any evidence that water is nearby. If there was even a slight southern breeze, the air would instead smell of the fragrant orchids and cycads that decorate this part of the bush in late spring. Where are the sounds that greet me every morning? The frogs, the crickets, even distant animal cries. It’s 5:00 am and nothing. I find myself surrounded by silence. As warm as it is, I almost feel a chill. Strange. I can’t shake the feeling that something is watching me from the darkness. Even though the deck where I’m standing is off the second floor of the lodge, I think it might be best to finish my coffee inside.
Yes, it seems so different. It feels so very different.