So I find myself in Zimbabwe, far far away from the blooming rhododendrons and the sweet spring nights of home. It’s fall here and the trees turn gold and they tell me that the nights are cold. Gets down to about 50 degrees Fahrenheit after the sun goes down.
Africa is a portrait of absolutes. It’s an either/or reality here, an exercise in polarity really, where the people do not smile but the birds sing. It really is haunting beautiful but you are quite aware of the ugliness of 90% unemployment that lays in wait and you wonder constantly if it is you that the ugliness will strike in the next moment.
The elephants lumber in and out of the watering hole and the monkeys sit on the fence post and groom their young. The hippos soak in the river at sunset and I envy them their sublime sanctuary; it comes to me that rivers are another one of the constants in my life. I love the river. I am going to find every great one in the world and float it like I did last night; nodding my head at the sames, shaking my head at the differences. The great Zambezi River and the great St. Joe are brothers, too, apparently.
It’s perplexing to be in the cradle of civilization—the very first man walked right here two million years ago—and not know exactly what I think. It seems like I should be thinking and feeling something profound. The sky is big, ten thousand times bigger than the Big Sky yet you can clearly see to the end of it; the people have great sorrow in their eyes alongside a genuine delight in their laugh; the bush and the animals don’t scare me but the waterfalls do; I can talk to the warthogs as they furiously attack the green grass of the lawn by the driveway and they actually answer me back with a flick of their beady eyes. I do not know what to think.
But I do know this. I know this: I have been here before.
I just can’t quite remember it all.
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe AFRICA