To see a world in a grain of sand, a heaven in a wildflower and to hold infinity in the palm of your hand. That’s how it feels when the world before you is a spectacle and an eternity fits into an hour. William Blake puts it just right.
My frequent trips to Kenya’s North have afforded me sights that are so spectacular you could touch. You are invited to the North by the. dazzling Ol Donyo Sabachi Mountain. The tarmac snakes its way at its heap, revealing rich vegetation ribs of the rock-capped mountain.
Just last week, we walked up to a river regurgitating from the cracks of rocky Ndoto mountains in Ngurnit, a small hamlet etched at the border of Marsabit and Samburu County.
The brook chuckling, bubbling and burbling have the most pacifying feeling. The river, slightly spiked with green, and guided downstream by silver-white smooth rocks wound its merry way diving through a natural pool. At its backdrop, the river is guarded by a broad massive knoll with a flat rocky top, whose one side of the escapement falls sharply. The huge rocks on one side form a formidable wall and gently curves over to create pools of water.
As I slide down the smooth rock crashing into the waters, the boy in me awakens. A boyish feeling dances through me as I perfect the glide down the rock. It’s a thrill that I couldn’t quite control. Nathan our local friend has mastered the glide, as he’s been doing this since he was a boy and he shows us how it’s done in a spectacular fashion.
This place awakens the child in you.
Heading down the river, we meet a couple. The lady is laughing at his jokes, probably about niceties of young love. Like love out of a storybook, they stroll arm to arm under the coolness of the acacia canopy. The trees are magnificent in the sun and are quiet as if to catch her giggles.
I remember thinking “Mmmh, some of the trees here have seen the landscape changing over hundreds of years, then there’s the couple…”
It’s the onset of the dry season here in the North and there isn’t much (wild animals) to threaten us, except, Nathan our friend tells us, rather calmly ‘for the occasional elephants or hyenas’
“During the rainy season, the elephants conquer these forest,” he says.
A drive through these landscape to South Horr, Or Korr feeds your eyes with annoying monotony. But then suddenly, it presents you with a front-row seat of a geography class. In a distant, mountains stick out like theatrical props, rising, before easing to kiss the blue skies. Some are steep, others seem to roll away, gently, undulant with thickets.
The mountains are a patchwork of faded blue that is made even more varied and dramatic by the desert mirages that rise like silver steams. As we drive across the vastness of dusty plains, we see every hue of nature: From dry parched grass to hanging boulders; from lonely acacia trees to thorny thickets; from grazing donkeys to the tired galloping camels; from defensive ostriches racing across fields to gentle gazelles stretched out to get succulent leaves at top of young trees.
Over the years, trips to Marsabit have become exciting-something I have come to look forward to. I get to meet people with some of the most beautiful hearts. I have danced in cool acacia trees to the tunes of Rendille women, and the bellows of Samburu warriors. I have galloped camel milk immediately after a topless moran milked his herd. I have killed scorpions in the dusk of the night (yes like a warrior) and I have seen plague of locust- in ungodly proportions-ravage the vegetation into nothingness.
I have also watched the stars paint a perfect picture in the night.
On this last trip, I lay on a bed outside, facing the skies. I must say, being under the sky that twinkles with stars is something else. You can almost see the speckles of stars form a blanket of the cloud, that form our milky way. For a second, a shooting star streaks and disappears. The synonymous Orion star completes the unmatched Marsabit Sky.
When I slept in the manyatta this time, I did not have wild thoughts about brick red scorpions crawling up on me at night. Or the huge spiders that hunt the scorpions at night. No. this time, it was peaceful. The mosquitoes were silent, but a dog normalized the night with a bark. There was lingering cigarette odour from an old man seated outside with his lamp and the wind that stroked the acacia trees outside.
Everything seems to be so out of tune, that it weirdly created rhythm to it.