My arms are not big enough to wrap around this one. To have the splash of water from the pool cascade, air at night warm enough to sit out in a light wrap after daylight lingering until seven is enough paradise. Then Kenya adds more.
Her people are gracious and fun, serious and thoughtful, friendly and professional. Benjamin, my park guide, was delighted to share his knowledge of the birds when I mentioned I was interested. He acknowledged few visitors were interested in anything but the big animals. When I mentioned butterflies, he shared that Kenya’s have gone largely undocumented beyond the spectacular emeralds. These I would love to have seen. I would have been content to spend days photographing them, making myself a complete oddball when everyone else was after the one photo of the lion eating the zebra. Or these days, a selfie with that scene in the background.
The rightness of creatures in their own land lent a grace to the warthogs kneeling to graze and to the splay-legged giraffe slurping from a puddle. The little Hyrax draped with cat-like boneless relaxation over a boulder was simply taking a break from the hard work of eating. There was the Superb Starling, a name giving license to be the thief of lunches, the Bond of Birds as it were. The other birds will take some time and research to identify, except for the Obvious Ostrich and the bird butt of jokes the Bustard.
Returning daily to the park, one could never tire of it. Although, one might cease taking photos of Impalas, that outnumber even the most vigorous Chevy plant.
Since that Sunday trip the week seems to have flown by even though it’s only Tuesday. S, the driver took me for a drive around the city after work. At a look out point over the city park, we stopped for a photo. As I was taking a shot of the city, I noticed a guy taking a picture of me with his cell phone. I waved and we laughed when he realized I saw him.
It has been raining every day since Sunday, and is supposed to keep on. It’s good I visited the Park first thing. Time permitting, the National Museum awaits and perhaps the Masai Market. The warm nights have made me content to be content.
February 10, 2016
Sitting pool side this morning in my business suit and waiting, I’m made less odd by the business people on break from their meetings. Today’s schedule is at the mercy of upper management’s schedule and so I must be able to leave on a moment’s notice. Since my mindset is work, I’m oddly at peace with that.
Arms still too small, I tried instead to absorb through pores of my skin. Like the galleries themselves, the experience was an inconstant lover falling from ecstasy to grief. The joy was in the room of human origins. It was there that Kenya connected to the story of how we came to be. Kenya yielded proto hominids; it is the place we may have started, the garden. The agony lived in the old part of the museum, the specimen room, preserved as it had been nearly eighty years ago. The hulls of what had been birds filled display after display. As sour as it was to accept that hope, a thing with feathers, was killed in the name of science, I wanted that room to stay. I want it to be there so that we see clearly what we did and who we were. I want the birds to stay and testify as much as I want the story of slavery from African eyes to speak.
Both should stay exactly where they are, next room over from the Zebra Warriors. These eight warriors choose to defend the Greavy’s Zebra. These warriors hunt poachers, educate local people about peaceful coexistence by sharing the grass and water and keep the door to development open through natural and sustainable tourism. Killers and defenders are side by side. If only you could see the beauty of these men and the loving wisdom in their words and in their photos.
It is too much right now to describe the other room of hope, the project that asked Kenyans to depict themselves and to say what it means to them to be Kenyan. That room, that room breathed honesty and openness.
After the emotion of the museum proper, the sign in the herpetology exhibit was funnier than it might otherwise have been. “Trespassers Will Be Poisoned” was indeed fair warning given the number of venomous snakes. The tortoises on the other hand, although quite active, seemed benign. Living creatures and the botanical gardens were soothing. Just outside the park was a rushing stream adding the comfort of running water. A meander around was just the thing and it revealed my favorite work of art ever. The picture will do it justice.