Head Space

The photograph above, this blog’s new header, was taken by my friend E several years ago.

We were walking the dogs on the farm I lived on when I began writing this blog. A farm I loved and probably shouldn’t have done – we ought to have avoided it as everybody had warned us to – because in the end we lost it.

But whilst I was there, and despite the perpetual niggling of I-ought-to-know-betters, I did love it. And I loved walking it. Which I did almost daily. Always with my dogs. Sometimes with my children (one at a time when they had something to confide, some small childish worry that had slunk into and spoiled their school day) and occassionally with a friend. Sometimes one armed with a camera; like E.

The views and the space were stupendous. I could see Kilimanjaro – and on a clear day (like this one) both its peaks, Kibo and Mawenzi. I could see Meru, right into its big-yawn crater. I could see far to the south and the Masai Steppe where the sky seemed at last to clutch hands with the horizon it had been chasing. I could see big, bold, brave Africa spilling carelessly all around me.

I miss that.  I miss it like one might miss an old boyfriend who you’d been urged not to fall for because in the end he did what everybody said he’d do: go and break your heart. Because he was a good-for-nothing rogue. Albeit a very beautiful and eminently lovable one.

My company, when I walked alone, with just the dogs, so that all I could hear was their excited barking and the subsequent indignant cackling of hadada ibis or guinea fowl as they hefted their fat bodies to the safety of tree-tops, were the words which began to clamour cheerfully for my attention. New stories knitting themselves together. Because they found their way in – the words – whilst I emptied my head of all the superfluous clutter that had collected: the worries, the small-town-suburban nitpicking, my ever-growing To Do list.

By the time I got home, with the dogs trailing now, exhausted and panting and smiling despite being laughed at by resident bird life, the moutains would be almost invisible; they’d have ducked beneath the eiderdowns of nightfall and turned on the stars as reading lamps. By the time I got home I’d have forgotten what it was I was fretting about.

Africa is so huge she can do that: reduce the small even further, so that you can hardly see it anymore.



14 Responses to “Head Space”

  1. ann Says:

    We live in different worlds and are from a different generation but our love of words to describe and capture fleeting memories and odd happenings is the same.

  2. Tom Says:

    I remember this picture from a year ago I think. I wonder if the snow and glaciers still look the same. I hope so

    Right now Saharan dust storms over the Atlantic are suppressing Tropical waves from developing into storms. I know you don’t get the credit but thanks anyway.

  3. Roberta Says:

    As always, your words entice me to want to visit your Africa.

  4. Abu Dhabi/UAE Daily Photo Says:

    What a great shot!

  5. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    a love of words… i know ann; finding precisely the right one is hugely rewarding. i told a friend that recently, admitted to sometimes spending hours sourcing exactly the right phrase; she looked at me as if i were mad (and we are from the same background and generation … yet i was suddenly aware of how different we were).

  6. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    the snow … it’s a while since i saw it Tom; i hope it looks the same too.

  7. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    come then Roberta, come.

  8. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    auhgal, i cannot take the credit. Alas

  9. Janelle Says:

    ah loooooooooved this one…so full of memories…written poignantly…great pic too! still bloody freezing here…might go into polar blanket business soon…xxxxx

  10. Potty Mummy Says:

    What a fantastic picture RM – and a lovely post.

  11. R. Sherman Says:

    I recall when you first posted that photo. I’ve always liked it.


  12. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    thanks Janelle. keep warm!

    Potty – thank you, it is a lovely picture isn’t it (can’t take credit for that though!) x

    Thank you Mr Sherman. Yup, used it in a post about a year ago, decided the sweep of mountain’s shoulder would work at the top.

  13. maggie may Says:

    I seem to have missed quite a few posts! You are so descriptive & your surroundings are lovely!

  14. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    thank you mm x

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