The last two weeks were rough. See the post below for details, but the short of the story is that our shamba flooded. Coping with our loss, I was in need of some self-centering time away from Magoma so I took a hike.
The village of Magoma sits in the bottom of a valley surrounded by the Usambara Mountains and, let me tell you: They. Are. Beautiful.
I set out in the late one morning with my sights set on the summit behind our house. I climbed, reflected, climbed some more, rested on rocks, reflected, and climbed some more. The recent rains had carved some nice paths in the slope, exposing rocks for solid footholds, paving the way to the summit.
I was so absorbed in my thoughts that when I finally reached the top I was taken aback. It was as if it it happened all of a sudden; I no longer heard the loud calls of free-ranging donkeys, cows, goats, roosters, or children. I no longer heard the beeping of buses and the revving of their engines as they zoom through town. It was...
Looking northeast up the valley from the summit
Sound is the only sense that you don’t have to experience in broken fragments and I relished it. I stopped at an open clearing and closed my eyes to listen to the birds calling in the trees. I listened the insects hum. I listened to the wind brush past my face and stir the leaves in the trees.
I was free to release my frustrations, bottled up energy, and love of climbing all at once. It felt extraordinary, wild, and isolating to be up on that summit alone. I perched on rocks, pranced along the ridge, and photographed, of course, all the cool flora, insects, and vistas I was finding.
And then it started to hit me; "I’m in Africa," I thought. "And there are scary things in Africa." Like this centipede:
And spiders. And centipedes. And snakes. And more centipedes. And this thing:
I found myself paying more attention to what I was hearing. Every rustle in the bushes attracted my attention and I located the origin of every humming or hissing sound that was in eyeshot. I took my eyes off the horizon and placed them in front of me, dodging thorn bushes and spiderwebs. And every time I put a foot down or stopped to take a photograph, I examined the ground in front, behind, and beside me, to make sure I wasn’t stepping on somebody’s home by accident.
It was exhilarating. But after my twentieth centipede spotting on the rock that I had previously been perching on, I decided to head back home. Keeping an eye on the rain creeping up the valley I safely made my way back down the mountain with a clear mind, tired legs, and dusty “little feet.”