Scouring the tall grass, an elusive cat hides for a mid-morning nap.
Plucking large clumps of grass, elephants gorges themselves for hours.
Towering over trees, giraffes gum thorny branches gnawing upon their meals.
With the sun basking over the savanna, clouds cut rays that shine like stained glass upon the morning.
The river carves ridges through the rocks, and the water churns with life.
Regardless of where you are in the world, nature captivates your attention. Seizing your imagination, nature creates wonders that dreams fail to manufacture. Towering trees. Expansive valleys. Cavernous rifts. Creation beholds wonders of biblical proportions.
While humans can create skyscrapers, bridges, and architectural feats, a swift storm, rising waters, or shifting tectonic plates can bring it all to a halting end. With all our technological advancements, humans have yet to match the marvels of nature.
Intricately woven in a balanced web of wonders, life sustains life. From the finest grains of sands to the heaviest boulders, all of creation serves a purpose. As I sit and marvel at the preposterous nature of life, it begs the question, how did we get here? Why are we here? Of all the stars in the universe, on our little speck of dirt, life found a way. It’s a prodigious miracle that humanity sprang from the cracks of time.
While sharing stories of our experiences in the Mara, conversations evolved past the particular animals to the stories of the humans gathered around. Revealing chapters from my time in Bungoma, someone asked what I enjoyed so much about teaching that willed me to move from teaching in the US to Kenya. Responding without thought, I quickly answered the students. No matter how nerdy I can be about my particular subject, nothing is as interesting and unique as the students. Their lives affect the pages of my life more profoundly than any curriculum ever could.
Nature has found its match in human connection.
While being mere feet away from a mighty lion certainly raptures your attention, nothing grips your heart like a human connection.
As the conversation weaves onward, another asks what I miss most about being away for a few months. Jokingly they ask about the food, and I easily dismiss that saying it’s the people. You can easily find creature comforts no matter where you are in the world, but there are only a few places where you can go for a walk with a lifelong friend. Poignantly, they ask about Bungoma and what I enjoy about it. The people, I answer.
For a safari adventure, there is a lot of discussion about the human world.
Admittedly, seeing a real-life simba is cool, but the allure wains compared to human connection. The elephant is inspiring, but an elephant cannot eloquently tell you the story of its life. The jaguar may arouse attention, but it’s more comfortable alone than in a social setting.
Nature’s beauty is a stark reminder of how desperately we need one another. Separated in tribes and trivial conflicts, in prodigal misery, we squander life‘s prodigious miracle.
As the sun rises over the savannah, the first cracks of dawn reveal the diversity of life. The roaring, squawking, and howling of the night gives way to the day.