Air Date: Week of June 13, 2003
[MUSIC: Kronos Quartet “Tilliboyo” Pieces of Africa Elektra (1992)]
CURWOOD: It probably has to do with that improbable scene in the Disney animated feature, “Fantasia.” But when I go to the zoo, I can’t help smiling to myself when I see a hippopotamus. I picture a graceful company of the huge animals pirouetting in tutus, and in the upturned corners of their mouths, a smirk of amusement. I mean, if the hippo is about to laugh, why can’t I chuckle?
But in the wilds of Africa, a hippo is no laughing matter. “Don’t ever get between one and the water,” my guide warned as we approached one of their popular swimming holes. “It’s an easy way to get killed.”
And as we watched from a distance, a hippopotamus settled its enormous bulk into the pond, submerging until only its eyes were floating on the surface of the water.
It was then the magnificence of this animal struck me, bringing a different sort of smile. This huge creature is cheerful in the mud, and satisfied by the sun, the water and some plants to munch on, simple things in life. Perhaps, for those of us caught up in the complexity of civilization, the joke is on us.
You, too, can experience the sublime wilds of Africa if you are a lucky winner of the Living on Earth ultimate safari. Thanks to heritageafrica.com, you and a companion could be our guests on a safari to some of Africa’s most exciting habitats, such as Kruger and the Serengeti. Just go to livingonearth.org to get the details on how you can win this trip. But do it quickly, as the drawing is coming up soon. That’s livingonearth.org for a chance at the trip of a lifetime.
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