We are crouched low to the ground, hovering like flies. Caesar rolls onto his back, exposing his belly as he scratches his brow. At this distance, I can see the individual lashes, so like ours, surrounding his coffee-colored eyes. For a while, he watches us; poses for us; seems to want to communicate with us.
A goat has gone missing, the fifth in a month's time. A farmer locates its half-eaten carcass several days later and blames the wild cheetah he's seen darting across his property during early sun-drenched mornings.
For the first time in three weeks I am alone, driving from Windhoek toward the Namib Desert beneath a ubiquitous blue sky, its presence above the savannah creating the illusion of a flat, wide Earth. Traffic quiets as the landscape shifts, from dramatic rock piles that converge incongruously to the Naukluft Mountains, a sort of highway toward the dunes.
It was pitch-black as I walked to my cabin after my first day of volunteering at a big cat sanctuary in Namibia. Reflecting on my day as I navigated the contours of the dirt path, I recalled grueling work in the bush.