Saturday, November 13, 2010

Africa Part 10

This weekend, I slept under Orion's belt, sword, and other belongings, twinkling in the pitch. Waking up in the middle of the night was wondrous--I had always known intellectually that the stars moved, but 3 hours later, discovering that really they had, was an awakening. If nothing else, being in South Africa has fired up a desire to camp and hike, and invite myself outdoors much more. Hiked up Blouberg Mountain today, and I must say the experience has been trying and triumphant, exhausting and exonerating. Probably obvious is the former word in each set, but freeing in the sense that I had never spent a night outside like this before, and that I helped welcome the sun with salutations at dawn. The gushes of wind atop the rock were strong enough to lift the hair off my shoulders and back-- making me feel lighter.

I can't imagine not writing in journals, blogs, on napkins and receipts. Looking for ways to aptly describe the shades of green and terra cotta on this mountain--depending on time of day-- is a mental challenge that engages me as much as hiking, and rock climbing. The latter-- almost like a dance, negotiation and placement of weight, speed.. I'll definitely do it more when I'm back. The day long hike on our 2nd day on the mountain ended with a breath-arresting sunset, but before then a view that practically went into Zimbabwe. And what else do I remember?
-butterflies like white confetti on and about the cliffs.
-the mindfulness of hiking
-seeing from the top villages where it was cloudy that day, and villages where it was not, so high up that the clouds seemed attainable. Where does the sky begin? Meaning, how high up is considered sky? I think we were there.

Sometimes during these hikes I would wonder where all the balance I garnered from tango went. I am not a fast, nor graceful hiker, but I enjoyed it. Even falling flat on my backside was strangely comforting to me, in tat I didnt care how good I was supposed to look. It was freeing even, to be able to just slip and sit on the ground, like a child.

I think really what I love about hiking and camping, is that the whole time is a big grand opportunity to take care of those around you, in different ways, or the best way you know how to. Some of us cooked, and cleaned, others made tea, and campfires. Sometimes it's really just waiting for someone on the trail, or lighting their way during a night walk. It is just so human.

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