Chinua Achebe: Vultures
In the greyness and drizzle of one despondent
dawn unstirred by harbingers of sunbreak a vulture
perching high on broken bone of a dead tree nestled close to his mate his smooth bashed-in head, a pebble on a stem rooted in
a dump of gross feathers, inclined affectionately to hers. Yesterday they picked the eyes of a swollen corpse in a water-logged trench and ate the things in its bowel. Full gorged they chose their roost
keeping the hollowed remnant in easy range of cold telescopic eyes …
It had been a stormy afternoon in the Big Bend, with little sun showers covered with thunder. At dusk the sun appeared on the horizon and a magnificent display of color showered in place of rain. I was caught totally off-guard. I was not ready and I learned a long time ago to not try and chase the light, it moves faster than my old body. Work with what you are given.
I had seen these vultures roosting the night before on the bones of a near-bye tree. I mounted some long glass and headed to frame the tree. I walked through all the tourists pointing their camera phones to the sky, mouths filled with oh’s and ah’s. Chasing the light they were. I went to my dead tree and made my photo and thought of Chinua Achebe’s poem that in reality has little to do with vultures.
Flow with the color on your journey††††nada te turbe††††jim