In this pic I’m not quite into the deep bush yet, but it’s at least a day’s drive from the nearest human presence, along a track that is rarely used. If you had to walk back it would take several days, but that would be irrelevant – you wouldn’t survive on the water you’d be able to carry with you. The inevitable outcome would be being devoured by predators, either as prey or as carrion.
But, it is at a point where the expedition starts to become really fulfilling to me. Being here and alone is to be exposed to impressions that totally consume the senses; and to forces that, should they be unleashed, would be immensely more powerful than I could hope to survive.
If something goes wrong – the vehicle is damaged or breaks down and I can’t fix it, or I get stuck and can’t get out, or I get lost, or any of many possible mishaps happen, the consequences could be fatal. All that stands between me and calamity are my senses and my wits and my ability to humbly apply them; first, to survive, and second, to complete the expedition.
I took this pic with the vehicle in the foreground on purpose – it, and the track, represent the only tangible connections to what is popularly regarded as civilisation. The vastness of earth and sky just seems overwhelming. Africa bared consumes one. It is like this metaphor of its vast spaces. It bears taking in, nay, gulping in, being overwhelmed, by its beauty and its majesty and its many, many dimensions of cruelty and kindness. But it remains like this infinite stretch of earth and sky – impersonal, brutal, powerful and unpredictable.
Here Africa just rolls on in its ancient rhythms of day flowing seamlessly into night, as seasons flow from one to the other and life into death, oblivious of what we call Time. Here one understands that Time means nothing. It is a mere human construct. Reality is an endless and repetitive ebb and flow in which we and our silly shenanigans are absolutely meaningless…