Friday, June 25, 2010

I Dreamed Africa- random writings

I wrote this three months after my return from Africa. 

 Africa is not the only place I have been blessed to see but it did make the largest impact on my adult life.  What held on to me about the experience is how those moments in your life when your experience is making the biggest impact on your future you are not aware of the importance of what you see.  It is only as time passes that we think back and mark that occasion as one of our defining moments. 

Maybe I dreamt it all. I remember being really tired. Could it be?

If it wasn’t a dream where is the proof? My burn turned to a tan and has since faded back to white. My sun bleached hair has grown out, been cut back to the normal brown. What does that leave me with? All that I have as a token is my dream. I can’t hold it, or put it in my pocket. It doesn’t even visit every night. But on those lucky nights, I close my eyes and right in that space between wake and darkness I am there.

The warm sun is beaming against the top of my head. Kalahari wind envelope me blowing the heat from my skin. I am surrounded by wild. The one road I am on is a dusty trench melting into a muddy pit. Nature grows, free unhindered all around. Silence rages for its place among the choir of birds and gossiping animals. I stand alone, the sky swallows me.

The smell is unmistakable; it is green, like the air is filled with a spring time rain. I know they are near. Then they come. From behind the trees, through the brush belting the plain, silent they move toward me. Swoosh, crunch, swoosh, crunch, it almost sounds like the wind is tangled in the trees, but it is them. At first it is one. Then the plain around me is a mass of movement. The grey giants of the Okavango Delta, together in synchronized harmony move as one. There are mommies and babies, all are elephants, calm methodically they plod toward me soundless. As some vanish to the other side of the plain, slowly others just like them appear in a never ending stream.

Among them I notice others sprinkled in who share their peace but look very different. There are wildly colored mohawk wearing beast that mingle quietly munching on grass, and appear gentle as deer. These wildebeest, selective about their company stick to the outskirts of the plain. In the crowd sticking out above the masses grand horns that twirl and twist; crown the head of a heard of pudgy impala who gather in large bouncy communities. Click, click their hooves are heard against the sticks and stones. Together all life mingles. Feet planted to the dusty grass, I stand as the only witness to their peace.

Suddenly, there is a change. All life on the plain can feel it. Predators are near. Their presence is not announced, but the every life knows when it is in danger. The hair on the back of my neck tingles, as my eyes join the others in searching for the uninvited guest. Impala are the first to spot the intruder and cry the alert to us all. All heads spin to the where the rasping shout is heard. The king of the plain is watching. Everyone springs into action, hurrying to retreat a safe distance. Even the moseying giants perk up their floppy ears and move to protect their little ones. My eyes take it all in, but my focus is on the lion. His bushy mane is beginning to show grey. There are old scars that are reminders of a hard life. His tummy is big and full, and I know there will be no danger today. The king lays down uninterested in the sudden action his only focus is resting in the shade. The plain slowly clears. The groups of beast leave as they entered, quietly. They slip away into the surrounding brush. I know they are leaving, but hang on to the hope they will stay. It is too late their mind has been made.

Anxious to see them still, I try to force them in my dream to return. But they never do. Sometimes I am lucky, and wake to find the room has filled with the smell of green. Inside, I know they aren’t there, but I still think if I just wait they may appear around the corner. On those nights, I smile; I hug my pillow tight, because I dreamt Africa.

I still have those Africa Dreams.  They come with rare frequency these days.  When they do hit it is with incredible energy that I awake in the morning.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Valerie,
    I have traveled to India over two years ago and still cling to those ever evading dreams. It is so true how a journey can touch you in such a way, yet it seems to slip through your very being and distance itself, like a wild animal. One thing I do carry with me is the peace of a slower life. I made sure to cherish and preserve the art of slowing down and observing my surroundings. And for that the dream was well worth it.
    Val Jones