A last walk
Was it my imagination of were the mountains more beautiful? The evening light more syrupy? The birds more vociferous? I don’t think so. It’s months and months since Kilimanjaro was as clear; it had tossed aside its habitual cloak of cloud so that it was adorned with only wisps, like tulle. It wore a crown of snow, heavier, far heavier than in recent weeks and its every valley, every nuance of its shape, drawn out by shade and sun. Even Mawenzi, the little peak, had bravely stepped forward where it normally hides in its big brother’s shadow. Meru, not to be outdone, stood tall against a blue, blue sky (one that for most of the day had been heavy with mist and rain). About its circumference was a perfectly level frill of cloud, like a tutu. Even the distant Masai Steppe, to the south, was clear. The sun, spilt low through bottom branches and ignited the tops of the star grass so that it looked like so many blushing heads.
I don’t remember such a heartbreakingly beautiful evening. I like to think the mountains were out to say goodbye. And the birds – the pigeons called, the Hadada ibis sounded uncharacteristically mournful and even the guinea fowl’s giggle was subdued. Will they miss me? No. Of course not. But they may miss teasing the dogs.
And will I miss this? Yes. I can already feel the ache of sadness at goodbye.
But another part of Africa will be home now, different vistas will imprint upon my mind so that memories move over as new affections take hold. The dogs will appreciate new smells. I will walk them to the evensong of different birds.
I will be still be beneath the same enormous African sky. The evening light will be unchanged.
And my beer will always be as cold.