“Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements and impossibilities: it is this that in all things, distinguishes the strong from the weak”. – Thomas Carlyle
Two Orange Flamingo Birds by Harun Asrori
Pillars by Renan Javier
March of the Flamingos
written & edited by Kendall F. Person
At once beautiful and thriving, Lake Makgadikgadi has been undone by the brutality of the Kalahari, which engulfed the waters several thousand years ago, leaving unforgivable terrain, known today as The Makgadikgadi Salt Pans. Most years, the lake attempts a comeback, with the rains falling up to 20 inches in some places, offering the allusion of paradise. Perhaps it is this allusion or maybe the Greater Flamingo, one of nature’s most beautiful and majestic creatures, has forged its own course in survival of its species. Dry, salty, dusty and unfathomably hot, this salt pan, one of the largest in the world, delivers the cruelest of ironies (or perhaps it is the jungle version of not judging a book by its cover). The flamingo may play the role of a diva – beautiful and majestic – but there are few creatures alive that brave such a harsh and demanding test — at birth.
When the eggs in the colony hatch – up to 50,000 – the water has dried up and the mirage has been replaced with a grim reality. Vultures circle high above, knowing that the march of the flamingos means a certain banquet for them all. There is water and there is food, but it is more than 100 miles away. The hatchlings, at such a tender age not yet able to fly, and so they march. In the searing, scorching, baking heat. Over sharpened salt crystals that often slice through their webbed feet. The adults have already flown ahead. Some fly back bringing food to the survivors, while others circle above delivering condolences to those breathing their last breath. Days turn into weeks and the ruthless sun unrelents. Many have already died, while others fight, carrying the weight of dried mud around their feet. But they persevere nonetheless.
In the distance, the hatchlings see their colony and an energy that should have long been exhausted, drives through them onward, as they wobble toward the lake, into the waiting embrace of their families and of paradise, at last.
So the next time you feel like giving up and throwing up both hands, and falling victim to the madness of man, think of the flamingo….. and march straight ahead.
this is… The Neighborhood
You Are Not Alone by Mavis Staples