I need to go back to Africa someday. Not just for all the right reasons, but also — and mainly — because I took this crappy picture (click to quadruplify):


If you looked at it and thought “What? It’s really not sooooo bad,” I appreciate that, but make no mistake: it is. It’s crappy because the subject is that three-point range waaaay off in the hazy distance poking up out of the trees in the center of the frame. It’s crappy because from the moment I first saw that geological feature during our several-day stay in the Serengeti I kept on telling myself I wanted to take the time to get a really nice, composed photograph of it because at far better vantage points and angles and light then this one it looked distinctly and marvelously like the knuckles of something very large that had grabbed a big old heavenly handful of the planet and was holding on tight.

The Knuckles Of God, I called them. And I could imagine the other hand holding on tight all the way around on the other side of the world.

But with our limited time spent zipping all around Tanzania’s vast national park (point of order: it’s pronounced tan-ZAH-nee-ah, not TAN-zah-NEE-ah; think about how you pronounce Romania — RO-mah-NEE-ah…? Don’t think so — and act accordingly) and seeing all the animal life we could it was too easy to push back The Knuckles Of God for later. Until finally in the post-sunset light of our last afternoon there, while trying to outrun a tse-tse fly swarm on our way back to our tented camp along a bumpy and dippy dirt road, I popped my camera out the side window for this last-chance snap.

I suppose I should be happy that at least I got something — and in fact I am. But this image taken a few days shy of 25 months ago does its resonating subject so little justice that almost immediately upon leaving the Serengeti the next morning for Oldupai Gorge and then the Ngorongoro Crater I knew I had an excuse to return someday.

As if I need one.