photo 1My host smiled after he invited me to wander in the woods and enjoy everything that there was to see.  “You will be perfectly safe,” his assuring words gave me confidence.  Still, there was that lingering hesitation of what was hidden in the scrub brush, mesquite and cacti of the Texas ranch.

Armed with my cellphone camera and good hiking boots, the trappings of civilization faded behind me.  The ranch bunk house, chuck wagon, ranch house and resident cowboys could no longer be seen.  I was alone.

Yet, that aloneness was not the comfort or solitude that I was expecting.  Instead, I felt that I was the object of other eyes.  Someone or something was watching me.

I stopped walking.  It is one of those human moments when you strain all of your physical senses to assess your unshakable feelings of a breach in your personal security.  There was no room for rational thinking as my first line of defense.

Slowly, I scanned my surroundings.  I knew that I was being watched.  Finding outphoto 2 who or what was now my highest priority.

My systematic peering into the tall grass paused at a toppled tree.  Underneath the fallen branch something that was not vegetation was there, on the other side.  I cocked my head to get a better look.

Whatever it was, it was big.  No, adjust that conclusion.  It was huge!

On the one hand, my city instincts told me to escape. On the other hand, my curiosity made me want to get closer and identify my source of ill-at-ease-feeling-of-being-watched.  Curiosity won.

Our eyes were locked on to each other.  It had the advantage of spying on my first.  Certainly there was no fear in its eyes.  I did not want it to sense mine.

Slowly I stepped behind a tree.  Out of sight I rapidly made up ground between us.  It was a precaution that was unnecessary.

When I peered around my hiding tree, the creature was no longer where I had left it.  It too was closing ground between us. Curiosity won in its spirit too.

Face to face, the giant Watusi from the land of Africa stared at me while I carefully took its picture.  What an amazing creature that God has created in this breed of cattle.  Its massive headdress of horns is like none other we humans have ever seen.

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography