It was 5:00 a.m. when I climbed to the flat top of a rock kopji (outcropping) behind my tent. There, shadowed in the rising sunlight, was a wooden tray, a tea pot and two porcelain cups waiting to be warmed by a drink of morning tea. Sitting cross legged on the rock was Frank, my safari guide, reaching for the steaming pot. "Wasn't sure if you would show up this early," he said with a grin while he handed me a cup.

We sat silently, sipping our tea, listening to the world awaken with a gentle choir of birdsong. Suddenly the brilliant orange sun lifted herself out of the earth, rose over the top of a distant acacia tree and bathed another day with light. Nature stretched, yawned, and everything around us became alive with new energy.


I was riding in an open-top jeep through dusty bush roads trying to reach camp before darkness blanketed the land. The night's chill had already set in and I should have been huddled inside the jeep, out of the cold and dust...but I never could resist the call of an African sunset.

I stood on the seat, with my head through the safari roof, and soaked in the colors of the coming night. A huge round ball of deep, deep orange reflected blushing shades of sunset across the tall grasses, backlighting the beauty of the landscape. Sun seemed to be calling, "Come this way...follow me," as she stayed in front of us at every turn. It was like the golden end to an enormous tunnel that wanted to swallow me up and keep me forever in a hypnotic state. I watched as her roundness became halved...and quartered...and soon only a sliver waved as she lowered herself into the earth for the night. I thanked her for her brilliant performance and unforgettable gift on this day, my birthday.

Photojournalist Connie Bickman has won regional and international awards for her photography. With over ten years of newspaper experience, she is also an active freelance photographer and writer. Connie's interests include documenting environmental and humanitarian issues throughout the world and sharing her travel experiences with others.

Connie has been published in newspapers, several school textbooks, The Rainforests, Earthtreks Magazine, Turkish Mountain Climbers Magazine, children's books, and Who's Who in Photography. She has several books in progress, one relating to women's issues and another on the spiritual aspect of her journeys.

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© Copyright 1997 - Connie Bickman. All rights reserved.