Per la nostra serie di Quarantine Journeys, i viaggi da quarantena, riproponiamo questi spunti dal nostro viaggio in Kenya! – di Marianna Beltrami

“There is a time for everything. A time for black, which then gives space to color. Absence and essence. Which liberate the superfluous, and fill with immensity.”

I found, after careful and profound reflections, that the lions are substantially in nothing. Lazy people. They stand there in the bush, belly up, tossing and turning and tossing and turning while some curious jeep stops around to see if something happens. But, dear hopefuls, nothing happens. Those don’t get up. Just think that our jeep also almost fell into the pit in front of their bush. With us inside, among other things, but the point is that they didn’t move, the pelandroni.

Do you understand what I mean? You go to the savannah ready to see Simba on the cliff of kings, roaring and proud, with his mane in the wind, and instead he is in the bush. To sleep. And even belly up.

However, we certainly cannot complain, because, apart from the Leonine disappointment, the savannah is the most surprising space that can be found. Immense spaces, colors, but above all silence. A truly surreal thing. The jeep goes, and you can imagine the noise a ten-seater jeep makes. Then in the jeep we talk, Steve, the Bushman, talks to us about the animals, his experiences as a journalist, the complicated border between the parks of Masai Mara, where we are right now, in Kenya, and the Tanzanian Serengeti. Here, we go by jeep, admiring the spaces that surround us, well aware of not being separated from anything at all. We are part of everything, everything is part of us. Going like this, with the sound of the jeep on the small dirt roads of the park as the soundtrack, Steve stops. It always stops for a reason, and the reason is always great. A cheetah hidden in the tall grass. A herd of elephants that move imperceptibly. A very extensive prairie with thousands of animals. Steve brakes, pulls the handbrake, turns the car off. And it is silence. And there I understood one thing. That we understand nothing of silence, until we understand this, that we understand nothing of silence. Imagine. An extensive grassland with thousands of animals. There are zebras (too many), buffaloes (funny), wildebeest (ugly), warthogs, giraffes, and elephants – remember well, elephants. Here. Everything is silence. There is a bit of wind. A very silent noise of moving grass. That’s enough. Nothing else. I swear! A surreal, wonderful silence that fills you. And there I understood one thing (another). That there is no distinction, that we all act together, in a three-dimensional space, in which we do not walk in a horizontal line, but in a sphere, where everything is a back-and-forth of relationships, encounters, silences and not silences. And there is a time for everything, a biblical and millennial idea, but never more true to me than now. I breathe the silence. I breathe the essence. And with the essence, I think of absence.

Steve understands people right away. And he understands where he can take them.

Steve, the Bushman, is our guide for this week in Kenya. Steve never has a path built, the same for every guest. Steve understands people right away. And he understands where he can take them. He understood everything about us. He took us two days to the Aberdares park (we may, and I mean we may, be a little obsessed with the film My Africa. Steve may, and I say may, have figured this out, and he took us to certain places that they could, and I mean they could , having been part of the film). And then Masai Mara, on the border with Tanzania. All the places we slept in are part of projects for the community and for the protection of the environment, initiatives that are close to our hearts, and Steve knew it well! He prepared an itinerary made up of large spaces and silences, but also of small spaces and conversation. A perfect balance, and I’m not exaggerating. Difficult to explain. Anyway, we were talking about Steve. Steve has a safe and firm drive. He knows all the roads of Kenya and knows where to take us. And in the streets, mostly dirt roads, I look around and see color. I see roads of a strong, strong clay color. I see the blue sky like never before. Vibrant green bushes, lilac jaracande, and smiles. We should focus more often on the color of a smile. The smiles we receive this week are part of that whole, never more perceptible than now. We are together. Smile is essence. And I still think of absence.

My life is a path, and it is a path made of essence and absence. Chromatically speaking, the absence of color is black. And that too must be part of my path. My path has all the colors, the great spaces, the real filling of the soul that comes to me thanks to the jeep rides with Steve in Kenya. But to think back, to get back to those emotions, I have to first clear the path, make it colorless, noisy, and let transcendence fill it. There is a time for everything. A time for black, which then gives space to color. Absence and essence. Which liberate the superfluous, and fill with immensity.


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