My husband is a man not easily impressed. For fun he climbs rugged peaks and walls of solid rock relying mainly on the strength of his fingertips to avoid the long drop of an early demise. He smokes cigars and drinks whiskey in a way that might lead some to believe they were all the fuel he needed. He once proclaimed, “I can fix anything.” And he can. Whether struggling with a busted suspension on the Bolivian altiplano or maneuvering us out of the fine silt sands of the Botswana wilderness, the strange situations we get ourselves into never seem to faze him.
Which is why I hope I never forget the one and only gasp, a sound of pure astonishment, he has ever evoked in my presence. Did we get a flat? Are we out of gas? Are we on the brink of catatsrophe? As I whipped my head around to see what could cause such an uncommon exclamation, there before us stood the most beautifully enormous creature I’d ever laid eyes on. Leaning gingerly over our truck and snacking on a tree, we sat motionless as the giraffe studied us with a mild curiosity. The silence after the gasp, the contemplative crunching of leaves above our heads, said more than any words either of us could procure.