During the past couple of days I was lucky enough to have close encounters with nature . Yes really – I had more than one confrontation with wild animals. For someone who grew up among the Big Five in Kenya, wildlife sightings are the cherries in the cake of any activity.
Frankfurt is surrounded by woodland. To the north the Taunus Forest, towards the east the Spessart and to the south the Stadtwald. This adventure took place along the Berta trail in the Spessart. Dwarfed by towering trees we wandered through endless ranges of fairy-tale forests. Beech and pine casting deep shadows, dappled with bright summer sunlight. Absolute silence. And then: deer watching you watching them. First one then two and then another two… A magical meeting.
As if that was not enough I had another brush with nature in the Palmengarten two nights ago. We were enjoying a cool evening under the trees at dusk when there was a loud rustling in the gloom to the rear. It sounded like something huge, probably with large teeth. In the dark it was difficult to locate and identify. My hair was just preparing to stand on end when all of a sudden everything became silent and a relatively massive shadow ran across the road. A shadow with the unmistakable gait of a hedgehog. Oh, the endless wonders of the Palmengarten.
And just to remind you that sometimes these close encounters can become very intimate indeed: Early this summer I came across a nest of baby squirrels in the brush along the Wöhrder Lake in Nürnberg. Taking close-up pictures of a bunch of them with my zoom lens, I suddenly felt something climbing up my leg at a determined pace. One of the impertinent squirrels either mistook me for a tree or hated to have its photograph taken. Believe you me I yelled out loud and jumped up and down out of utter shock – I don’t think the squirrel will do human spotting up close any time soon.