When I visit my friends the Moiko’s in Kenya, we take a trek up the neighbouring hillside to Kona Baridi to feel the cool wind coming up from the Rift Valley and just enjoy the spectacular view. It always refreshes and invigorates me. (Baridi means cold in Kiswahili. Although it is cooler on the top of the hill than in the valley below, it is still a long way from cold by Canadian standards.)
The climb through the hills passes goats and cows and rambles over rocks and a dried up stream that, I am told, gushes with water in the rainy season.
If I look back as I walk, I can see the Moiko farm in the distance, the long laneway going up from the main road and the fields where their cows and goats (including Veronica’s offspring) graze. In the past few months there have been African Buffalo coming down from the hills at night to invade the fields. They are both dangerous and disruptive and are breaking down the fence to get into a natural salt-lick that is in the field. Stephen is not sure what to do about them. They are protected wildlife yet they are having an impact on his property.
At the top of the hill is a wonderful vista overlooking the Rift, or the start of it. If one were to progress down the hill and along the road to Magadi there would be a series of slopes downward to eventually reach the floor of the valley and Lake Magadi, a hot, dry, parched, soda lake that is only fit for a few flamingos and some very tough workers who mine soda from its floor.
I usually sit for an hour or so on the grass at the top of the ridge, opening myself to the cool wind and soaking up the surrounding silence that is broken only by the buzz of a bee or the occasional bleat of a sheep on a far-away hill.
I visit with a couple of trees whose branches lean out toward the valley – outstretched like open arms to embrace the grandeur, feel the wind and gather up the freshness. I never tire of this hike and view which has become a traditional ritual for me over the past ten years. Every time I go, I take photos of the vista and the trees – I must have taken hundreds over the years – but none come close to capturing the feeling that I get standing there.
Feel the breeze, absorb the silence, smell the clear air…
I fear that some day the hill will become cluttered with wind turbines. I worry that these two familiar trees will become victims “development”.
Although I am in no hurry, and as long as this place remains unaffected by “progress”, I think that I would like (some of) my ashes to be scattered to the wind here when the time comes. I have shared many pleasant moments with my African “family” on this ridge and they will know exactly where I want to be.
A perfectly heavenly place to spend eternity.