Over the years I had walked many miles in the local parks in the area. The surroundings of nature and critters of the forest had awakened a new and wild sense of adventure in me of late, one I had not felt so intensely before, a desire to travel into new vistas-a time to throw caution to the wind. It was time to stop being a stay at home scary cat and the quintessential couch potato. It was time to make a dream, a reality. A time to soar with the Eagles, you might say.
So armed with my new camera and camouflage binoculars, I was on my way flying to that remote, and incredible destination of adventure!
Finally, I was out there doing what I had only dreamed of doing for many years…I, Heather Lee Willofig was on a photo safari in Africa; A safari that would hopefully capture on film the illusive for me, the wild and oddly beautiful Funfusi. The Funfusi, that awesome creature I had only read about in my nature magazine… Nation Critters.
So here I was, me, my guides Jassinesha and his twin brother Jessinipa, along with their buxom, but fleet footed sister Audry Mae. They led me through the dense jungle armed only with cameras and the nifty swiss army knife I had picked up at Wal-Mart’s, one that contained a nail clipper, toothpick and useless little scissors.
No matter, we trudged our way through a steamy growth of Yippeewet trees that hung heavy with Verdtins. Verdtins, I learned from AudryMae, is a moss like growth that resembles spinach.
Verdtins are beautiful and eatable but socially deadly …leaving ugly green globs in your teeth, making those who witness your smile turn in disgust, and walk away. usually without saying word. I was certain not to have that happen to me, as there was a big benefit dinner that night for the endangered Brincea Mushroom that grows to enormous size in the plains. The Brincia makes for a wonderful, huge omlette, but more important it is home to the very tiny Niffedi tribe, Yes, that same Niffedi tribe that won raves at the 1964 worlds fair for their melodious playing on the Griffon. Some might remember, a Griffon is a hand-carved flute, made from the Neechi tree. It is 27 feet long and played by 35 iddy-biddy members of the Niffedi tribe. (seven of which attended Juliard)…. but back to the safari. Finally, there in my sight, focused clearly in my lens stood the elegant, yet study gray and red……Funfusi; its one small ear cocked in our direction, while its crossed eyes were intensely fixed on the Baffing bush where two unaware Geapolis were vigorously mating.
What a photo op I whispered to Jasinesha… He then held his hand in front of my lens and said:
“ NO! Miss Willowfig, please, we are never allowed to photograph the Geopolis mating..”
“Why the hell not Jas” I asked politely.
“Because Missy, it brings bad luck to the village. The curse begins with a rash, then a funny itching follows and finally warts, big brown ones begin to appear on your…”
“Stop Jassinesha.. you’re making me sick “I said;
and so staying on task I adjusted my camera toward the Funfusi, who then stood straight up and offered me the best picture possible.
Today this treasured photo hangs on my wall, and the memory of this exciting safari hangs in my memory…. not unlike the Verdtins that hung so beautifully from the Yippeewet tree.