BEHIND THE SCENE: On my first African safari, I opted for the Hemmingway variety, sleeping in pitched tents throughout Tanzania. Sometime during the adventure, our guide told us about a couple who had been on a similar safari many years previously and had forgotten to zip up their tent at night. During the early morning hours, a couple of lion cubs wandered in and started quarreling. Soon thereafter, the mother entered the tent to see what the commotion was about and ultimately killed the travelers. With this scenario reverberating in my head, on the 2nd to last evening of the safari, I zipped up my tent and turned in for the night. Sometime after midnight, I heard an animal knock over the wooden chair in front of my tent. He then proceeded to circle the tent, poking at the canvas at various points, presumably looking for an easy way to enter. Over and over again he relentlessly circled my tent. At one point, it seemed like he was attempting to dig a trench beneath my tent and somehow lifted up the canvas floor, barely grazing the underside of my cot. While I’m not the religious sort, I promised God if I survived this ordeal in the Serengeti, I would give up medicine and become a rabbi. After 3 or 4 hours, the sun finally came up, the animal wandered away and while I never became a rabbi, I’ve never felt closer to God than I did that evening. This sunrise captured over the Serengeti campsite was shot the morning after this once in a lifetime encounter. And for those of you who are curious, it was a hyena who spent the evening stalking my tent.
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