Sunday, October 7, 2007

Out of Africa; Into the Garden of Eden

Having just returned from a 2 week Safari in the Masi Mara, Kenya and Londolozi, South Africa, I am overcome with visual contrast of returning to the Pacific Northwest. The silent density of grays surround me in my return to the deep fog of Washington State. The color palette of life here is far from warm. It feels quiet, but not serene. In Africa, where colors are sharpened with saturating, inspiring light, the people and animals are stroked with such detail I feel enlightened again. Where fushia bougainvillea pour from the gates of the poorest neighbors, and the Masai people travel across the horizon weaving red trails across the golden land with their vibrant tribal dress. Black rhinos disappear in sways of tall grass and crocodiles sharp disappear before my eyes; the light allows nothing to be hidden. But the cleverness of evolution defeats the light as a giant black rhino disappears before my eyes into 10 feet of brush.... Nowhere is more evident that these animals are designed perfectly in their evolution...Africa not only pounds the heart in my chest, but enlivened my soul, blessing my eyes with the wonders of color and light, and mystery. At Dave Varty's glorious Londolozi Camp, in depth of nightfall we sat in open jeeps, 20 feet from five full maned, adult lion brothers who roared their presence to the stars. (Imagine dancing in front of a booming speaker; how it pounds through your skin; removing your brain, deep into your belly. This 'depth' of sound comes from the throat of a lion roaring. Now imagine 5 lions, in chorus to brother 6. Pavarotti would be astounded.) We witnessed leopards mating, continuously through the night. We saw seven 'crossings' of wildebeest and zebra surging through rapid river, to get to the 'grass is greener on the other side'. Crocodiles took many. Babies were brave to cross twice seeking mothers. Zebras brayed and risked their lives-leaping in dangerous waters edge- to demonstrate to families following which cliff steep path to climb safely. People who 'prayed for a kill' were very few within minutes. Water buffalo came to our tent-step, elephant bulls 'arm wrestled' clacking tusks and trumpeting challenge. One elephant stood on 'tip-toe' to reach delicious branches high above. 'Out of Africa' cannot begin to tell the story of the real place that is home to us all. The migration at Masi Mara showed me that Eden must have been there- right there- as minions of steinbok and waterbuck, warthog, elephant, kudu, topi, birds of every color, zebra, wildebeest and lions fat with feed all stood together, Peacefully, in one plain as far as my eye could see. I now believe in that epic, legendary place that was known as the Garden of Eden. Blessings, Robbi

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