Friday, April 9, 2010
Magic in the Mist
"When you realize the value of all life, you dwell less on what is past and concentrate on the preservation of the future."
That sentence was the last entry of Dian Fossey's journal - found in the cabin where she was murdered in the Virunga Volcanoes of Rwanda - where she lived with, studied and protected the mountain gorillas for twenty years.
I think the quote is appropriate for this country, on this week of mourning the Genocide, and for Fossey, who provided in life and legacy for the preservation of the gorillas she loved so dearly.
It was a great privilege to hike up into the Virunga Volcanoes this week to witness the grace and grandeur of those massive, magical creatures. For one hour, I stood face to face - often just two feet away - from the gorillas: mothers nursing their babies, adolescents play fighting, twin babies picking the bugs off one another, Silverback leaders feeding and surveying their families. As I was granted a tiny glimpse into their lives, I started to see what it means when scientists say that 98% of their DNA is identical to ours.
We were with the Susa Group - the same family of about thirty gorillas with whom Fossey lived, and descendants of the same. The same group you may have seen in the movie Gorillas In The Mist. They looked straight into your eyes. And they were as gentle as they were giant.
There are just 700 of these majestic creatures left on our planet.