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Waiting for the Cheetah to pass

Sometimes, there is no obvious answer. After the Cape Buffalo run, about a week later at dawn, a Tanzanian guide came running to my tent. He motioned to me “come quickly.” I ran after him to the main lodge. In back of the building was a long porch. Behind the porch was a stretch of mowed lawn. At the edge of the lawn was a sign “Danger Wild Animals.” Beyond the lawn was high grass. It was safe to walk on the lawn but not the high grass.

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The guide said “go to the back of the building and look at the cheetah.” I ran to the back. I looked. I saw a cheetah in the high grass. I ran toward it but stayed on my side of the sign. All of a sudden the cheetah stopped. It moved onto the mowed grass. I realized that the cheetah could not read signs in English but only in Swahili. It turned around and looked at me. I didn’t know what to do. There was no obvious answer. I felt like a mouse. If I ran toward the cheetah it would run toward me. If I ran away again I feared it would run toward me. I felt like I was going to be converted into meat. It was a most unpleasant sensation. I froze. After an eternity, it moved on. No one was around. The guide had disappeared. The tour group had not gotten up. I felt very lucky to be alive. I learned that if there is no obvious answer, wait. An answer will emerge.