A place shunned by humans; it gets better all the time…

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…

2 Comments

  1. Thank you Ada for a thoughtful and stimulating comment.
    Off the cuff: Life (in the ‘civilized’ world) consists of a whole collection of constructs. I guess in a way we need them (maybe not all of them) to maintain order and make sense of the world we live in. It provides the fabric on which we can proceed with things like the rat race, which in turn seems to me to be a collection of perceptions and beliefs that drive our actions, inevitably more or less within the framework of our constructs. And it seems like the total reality to us.
    All of it is fine, I think, as long as we understand what we’re engaged in. I, of course, am also a citizen of this “constructs world” when I have to function in it. And, like the rest of us I get so busy merely “functioning” in it that I do not have the time or inclination for the mental effort to think of it in the abstract. It is when I disengage from it and stand in a different reality that I am able to (more easily) put it into perspective.

  2. ‘Living’ (in the ‘civilized’ world), like time, has become a human construct as well….what is regarded as ‘living’, I mean. ‘Living’ (in the ‘civilized’ world) can be equated to mere ‘existing’…a rat race….chasing after wind, never to find what you are looking for…or what you are not looking for, bacause, I think, the purpose of life, and living, is what is lost to many to a great extent. You are therefore infinitely blessed to be able to experience real life… where you can be part of the pulse of Africa…the pure, raw, unspoilt… (Don’t mind me.) When one reads about your journeys one can actually get a glimpse into what you experience if one reads with one’s heart. However, it can be a saddening experience too, because one can become too acutely aware of the shackles of civilization…Fascinating, nevertheless! Will definity buy your books once I’m ready.

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