It’s a week since I got back from Kenya; a week of catching up with friends and work; a week of phone calls and emails. None of which have dimmed the vibrant memories of my all-too-brief stay in the Masai Mara. Yesterday, someone asked me: “What did Africa give you?”
He wasn’t asking me to tell him what I’d got from going to Africa but what did Africa herself give me? When I’d thought about it for a while, the answer was clear. The unbroken vistas of savannah and mountains; the brilliance of the night sky; the warmth of the people and the teeming abundance of more-than-human life gave me a different sense of perspective.
I saw that I was both less important than my inflated ego generally cares to admit and more one-with-everything than my individualistic conditioning likes to acknowledge. There were moments when I felt the boundaries between me and other begin to dissolve and I glimpsed my participation in a cosmic story. In the savannah, I had the sense that, as Walt Whitman implies, we are all simply Leaves of Grass.
It was humbling in the very best sense of the word. Though I became smaller, the experience wasn’t diminishing. It would be truer to say that – for a time at least – Africa “right-sized” me.
A wonderful gift, for which I am profoundly grateful.