With excitement and gratitude I introduce to you my guest today, Ralph Sibande. Ralph is a storyteller who is a lover of wildlife and game reserves in Southern Africa .https://anelephantinmysuitcase.com/?p=17308



He felt so left alone that for a long bewildering while he thought he had forgotten his name. What was the use of having a name that no one tasted in their mouths and rolled with the tongue and called out aloud with their breath of life? All his short life he had seen and met with enlivened names flying about making the world a memorable and loving place.

Names that flew out of creased smiling faces. Names that came out of distorted exasperated faces and mouths and knitted brows. But still names that had the aura of intrigue and love wrapped around them like the postman’s envelope addressed and delivered to the waiting world at large. The world needed names to love.

Was it not your name that went out of admiring friendly mouths and travelled the wide world introducing you to other creatures – to the grass, to the trees, to the rivers, to the hills, to the warm pelting bushveld rain, and to the wide endless blue sky? And even to the short lived dervishing and dizzying bush dust whirlwind that quite frankly did not know where to go, but was wondering aimlessly around?

But today no one called his name and he was so afraid. His small, moist and shiny snout couldn’t smell out this kind of trouble. He felt the whole world did not know him. He was just a stranger lost in the middle of the silent and brooding bush. So he stopped in the middle of a daunting sandy road and took stock of his life and wondered tearfully how he got himself into this.

Every crunching footstep he took, gave a huge mocking churning sound that shook all his courage off his heart. So he stopped and listened again, perhaps somewhere somebody or something may call his name. The trees alongside the road looked at him with wooden mocking silence. They seemed to be waiting for something big to happen and he didn’t know what it was. And it felt it would be at his expense.

The winter grass was turning brown and prickly short tempered and some trees were shedding off leaves and their joy in preparation of a long dark desolate winter of discontent. Something inside him was afraid of all this but he was also strangely aware of the beauty of it all, and drawn towards it in spite of his hesitation and fear.

Today he felt confronted by the presence of his SELF. A huge and unwieldy presence that dwarfed his physical stature. His self wanted to talk to the bush but he had denied it so often the opportunities to do so. And he instinctively knew that he had always been in conversation with the entire universe but did not know how to listen and to talk with it. Perhaps he had ignored himself in hustle and bustle of the verdant summer with its extravagant concupiscent bush activities, subsuming his individuality in the process and letting others do the talking for him.

He was a teeny-weeny dwarf mongoose but with a huge heart that felt every seismic vibration around him and every floating wandering emotion in the bush. Did the sky call his name? Did the rustling leaves whisper in his ears words of endearment? Did the blades of dry grass reach out and touched him with sharp longing kindness? Did the soft gentle wind blow kisses at him? Did his heart fear losing itself in the overwhelming love so freely offered and given?

Sometimes the great things in life do not come to us packaged in glossy meaning; they come wrapped in bewildering complexity that make us feel so lost and abandoned. But they hold our attention and remind us of the friend within us we have neglected so long – our panting, frightened self in search of itself and its voice to make us pay attention, hear it and understand it. It is the self that struggles and wants to talk back to the world.

For the very first time Sokie heard himself. He knew that what he was really afraid of – was himself. And he started to trust his inner voice. And trusted his feelings and his intuitive grasp of the world sprawling before him. He wanted to join his troop of chattering, scrambling and marauding family of dwarf mongoose not as a mindless follower but as a meaningful soul conversation with the universe. Not afraid of his silence and himself.

He would now let the world speak to his heart and he would let his silent self talk back to it like a friend. He would cross the sands of desolation, not as a fugitive, but as a listening companion and let the sand story talk to him and shape his heart with its millions of grains of meaning. He would listen to its story and know that he too is part of the universe of silence and that silence also lives deep within his own heart and that he can listen to it and be comforted by it.

Sokie crossed the road to the other side, where he found his family waiting for him. They called his name with relief and excitement: where have you been? they asked him in a chorus.

I went back to fetch myself – he answered.

Oh you are so funny Sokie Dwerginstein – they said

And they all laughed and rushed together into the underbrush in search of adventure and more sumptuous morsels to sample, taste and nibble at their pleasure.

Now the bush lived in Sokie’s heart.

Copyright story Ralph Sibande and picture of a bewildered Sokie by Kobus de Beer