About a month ago, I was in sunny Durban; a trip that happened to coincide with the opening of a new Krispy Kreme store at Gateway Mall.
If you know me, you know my love for Krispy Kreme goes way back. I’ve done some extreme things to get my hands on these doughnuts over the years. So when I saw the very very long queue snaking out of Krispy Kreme in Durban, I had to make a choice. Do I stand in line for upwards of three hours with no guaranteed doughnut at the end? After all, while I only planned to buy six (enough to satisfy my needs and get me through to supper), people ahead of me were coming out with double dozens. What if they ALL bought double dozens? I saw no doughnut machine. They don’t make them on site. What if they run out? What if I spend all this time in line when I could have been eating sushi instead and I get to the front and the doughnuts are gone? What if I do get one and it doesn’t live up to the first one I ever had? What if I take the chance and wait for hours and at some point a staff member comes out with free doughnuts and passes them out along the queue? This happened to me at Krispy Kreme in Harrods. 2003. In the end, I chose to watch the line and analyze its movement from the burger place next door. In an hour, a burger, a flying fish beer and an Oreo pie later, I witnessed the queue not move AT ALL. I decided not to go. I’ll taste those doughnuts again. But not on this day.
What I’m trying to ask you, is how long would YOU wait?
Nature doesn’t always have a delicious burger bar next door when you’re hungry, and yesterday while watching a leopard wait for a warthog to emerge from its hole, I just kept thinking, ‘hey, that’s like that queue in Durban a few weeks back…’
The leopard had no guarantees. Early that morning he’d watched a warthog run down into its converted termite home (all the rage around here) and not being able to squeeze in himself, he chose to wait. Safari trucks came and left, but he remained. Waiting.
By that afternoon I had a local school on a photographic expedition, and sure enough, the leopard was still waiting. We sat with him for nearly an hour during which he only moved his head slightly a few times.
What were his odds? There’s a terrified warthog down a hole. It’s been there all day but eventually it’s actually going to need to eat and drink. It’s going to come out. Maybe not today, but it will come out. That’s guaranteed. I would have got a doughnut in Durban too. If I’d have been patient.
Nature is just one big energy balancing act.
“If it takes me and the rest of my lion homies a whole day to stalk this buffalo, then a ton of energy chasing it, then all that adrenaline bringing it down, and then even if we do, the buffalos might just chase us away in the end, is it really worth it?”
That’s what animals have to ask themselves every day. If they get it wrong, they waste the precious time and energy that defines every aspect of their existence. Wrong decision = dead.
As the sun went down on our leopard, we were long gone but still following the drama on the radio and learned that the leopard had finally given up and walked away. Twelve hours of consciousness, concentration and respiration down the drain.
But that’s nature. Nature is indifferent. It’s splendid. It’s not all free doughnuts and warthogs. And above all it’s WILD. Love.
Hoofnote: International Doughnut Day is June 2. Seriously.