Close encounters

Xmas day 2021 and of course thoughts turn to family, loved ones and those who’ll spend it alone (#joinin on twitter) – peace and kindness to all.

I’ve wondered what to write about today, but yesterday’s chance encounter with an elephant moved me to say more about Sri Lanka’s extraordinary flora and fauna. The rich, deep, soil, tropical climate and abundant rainfall that collects in the forests and lakes, set the stage for life to flourish. After visiting Kandy’s botanical and spice garden earlier in the week, the fauna has been introducing itself.

Yesterday evening I jumped at a frog perched peacefully on my bathroom sink, a scout no doubt for the multitude that preach to the paddy fields at sunset. By morning it had gone as mysteriously as it had arrived. Then there’s the ice cream van that announces its round by playing Greensleeves through a hoarse little Tannoy which seems to excite a flock of wild peacocks as they join in from their roost up in the trees. More exotic sounds come from toucans with their loud baritone hoots and flying foxes that chatter noisily before swooping off into the night.

Once it’s dark, fireflies dance in the garden and yesterday at dusk a huge swarm of flying ants disgorged itself from the nest that runs the length of the little restaurant block here. Thousands of the critters left the safety of their underground nursery to take their chance with the birds and bats that soon gathered to enjoy the annual, self delivering takeaway.

Monkeys abound, and yes they’re cheeky, roaming rooftops, scavenging food through open windows, patrolling along phone lines, and waiting around tourist spots for opportunity to knock.

This cheeky monkey found a nice perch to eat his cake and leave a mess, he even barred his teeth when I went to move him on.

On the way back from visiting the huge palace complex of King Nissankamalla (who lent his name to a popular 70’s car ;), a two metre Komodo dragon held up traffic by standing in the road, taking in the view, and the stares of the traffic he held up. Though we beeped our horns, I noticed no one got out to press the matter.

And then there was this fella, whom I came across as we both ambled down the same road. Though wild, he looked pretty relaxed, but when he took exception to me being close, and I looked into his deep, dark eyes, it was clear who needed to give way. Though we like to think we do, we don’t really have dominion over nature .

But one creature I haven’t seen, though it’s that time of year, is a little donkey…

hold on.

Plants and wildlife are next level here, though life’s not always easy. Mootu hangs out where I’m staying and Ranjith the owner remarked how he’s old like us (cheers mate). I’m thankful to be better fed than Mootu and to have a more comfortable bed. Though he was suspicious to begin with, I think I’m earning his trust through food and soft words; he now sleeps on the mat outside my door. I guess you don’t have to be great with child to appreciate kindness, a bed and something to eat.

Namaste, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

2 thoughts on “Close encounters

  1. A belting report, that one. What a place to be. Can’t remember when I last saw a wild Toucan, flying fox or comodo in Essex.
    Happy Christmas, ol’ boy! Come back safe.

  2. Wonderful. Here’s to you having yet more inspiring close encounters and adventures.
    Beautifully crafted words! Thanks for sharing these experiences.
    What a place to be in nature right now…. Enjoy!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s