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Dicks and the Oxpecker

I know the title sounds like an excerpt from Fifty Shades of Gray, but this is a story about intuition.

We hired a local guide in Botswana to teach us tribal customs and legends and to show us around his neighborhood (which happens to be thousands of miles of nothing but nature).

The guys name is Dicks and he’s a member of the Bugakhwe tribe.  The Bugakhwe are hunter/gatherers, bushman who differentiate themselves from the Kalahari bushman by their association with water.  The River-San.

When Dicks was little, members of his tribe would move through the Okavanga Delta looking for lions.  Sounds crazy but it gets worse.  When they found the lions, they would steal their freshly killed prey!  An innovative way to get hold of a meal.

Anyway, Dicks was telling us that he had been recently hired by a group of photographers.  This group really wanted pictures of a lion.  But expert tracker Dicks just couldn’t fine one.  After searching all day with the group, he gave up.  On the way home an oxpecker (a little bird that hangs out on Cape Buffalo) flew over his shoulder.  Bugakhwe legend says that an oxpecker signals a lion.  Dicks explained to us that he knows this is the modern world. But when the Oxpecker flew by again, Dicks spun the vehicle around and followed it.  In moments they came upon a pride of lions.

The whole episode got me thinking about intuition.  Now I don’t doubt that there is a connection between oxpeckers and lions. And I’ve spent enough time with different tribes to believe in magic.  But what I really suspect is that what Dicks experienced was intuition.  Isn’t it wonderful that he listened?

We’re midway through a remodel of our house (yes, the same remodel that’s been going on for a decade).  We hired a fabulous architect to do a fabulous plan for the exterior of our home.  It knocked our socks off.  But something about it nagged me in the middle of the night.  It was a beautiful design!  But some part of me just couldn’t get comfortable with it.  In the end, my husband and I agreed – if we drove by the house in the design we would LOVE it.  But it really wasn’t us – wasn’t OUR house.  We’re on to plan b and maybe even c.  The remodeling is fun again.

In this, our orderly world, we make sound decisions based on logic.  But intuition is a strong force and shouldn’t be ignored.  Next time a proverbial  oxpecker flies by – pay attention.