Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Soft Kiss Goodbye to Africa

I don't want to go.

Sheree has been asking me what's bugging me today, since I am not my ordinarily sunshiny self. (You just shush.) It's because I know I am leaving Africa.

Tonight we fly to London which, under ordinary circumstances would be a good thing. But it means leaving South Africa and I don't know when I will be back...only that I WILL be back. Some day.


This shot was taken one perfect summer morning when some school children sang for us. It was hot and sweat was pouring off me. When we left, a little boy with impossible eyes asked for our water bottle. Sheree gave it to him and he scampered away and had it immediately taken away by bigger boys and bigger boys took it away from them...and so it went.

How do you say goodbye to nights so dark that the stars glitter in the sky with other-worldly brightness and it feels like you could reach out and thrust a handful of them into your pocket?

I stood and watched sheet lightning show that went all night. Not a whisper of thunder...but such brilliant light!

Cape Town is a place where the wind gets so strong that you actually need to hang onto something...as you walk by beaches so perfect that they make your heart hurt.

There's something so exotic here, something that dances in the air like a capricious sprite you can only catch a glimpse of at the best of times...and then only when you're REALLY looking for it.

There's danger, of course...and the constant sense you are an outsider longing to join in..but there's magic here too.

I stood on top of a mountain and felt cool cloud against my skin. I have felt the hot sun on my face and I have been mere feet from majestic elephants.

Africa is magical. Wildly exotic. Wonderful...so very lovely. Dark and dangerous...but perfect in its way.

It is as wild as a Mardi Gras and as stealthy as a stalking lion. It is as distant as a glittering star and as lovely as a child's smile.

I just never imagined I would like it this much...after all: I have sore muscles, a few bug bites (though no where near as many as poor Sheree)...and a thousand perfectly preserved memories.

Does it make sense to fly away from this? Does it ever make sense to leave a place that has touched your heart?

I am shrugging...but I didn't quite know how to convey how it all feels right now. As I was trying to pick a shot to go with this text, this one felt right.

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