August 18, 2005

A trip to the Lake

They set out South at first light, leaving the outskirts of the city before the sky in the East lightened past bright oranges and pinks, while the streets were still empty of vehicles except for a few buses and minivans with early commuters. The Vauxhall was packed with Henry and the three teenagers and all their stuff, light on clothes but heavy on consumables
When they stopped, there was no river or other surface water anywhere closer than perhaps twenty miles away, so the bush was quiet and still under the sun, only cicadas and doves sang in the dusty thorn scrub along the road, and shade was rare and sparse. Henry pulled up under a tree just off the road that was covered with pods like three foot grey sausages and thick dark foliage, that gave an impression of shelter from the sun if not the heat.
They sat and ate a sandwich each, drank Fanta out of plastic cups and Rich got out his camera and took shots of everyone else in the car with the doors open, and of the sausage tree and its fruit, carefully fiddling with his settings and writing the figures down so he could look at them when the films got developed .
They were about to set off again when something moved over beside a great bare baobab tree a couple of hundred yards away. There stood an elephant, ----

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