twin calderas mark the view
This morning I woke up from an incredible dream. I dreamt I ran away from the troubles of the world. I packed a small bag with a change of clothes and a toothbrush (and a few things besides). The bag was so small there was no room for a book - or even an extra mosquito.
Then I climbed into a metal bird, and flew high into the hazy blue sky, looking down on some of Africa's best places as we flew by. Big powerful rivers like the Limpopo and Zambezi meandered off into the distant haze; lake malawi shone with cloud reflections; mountains, plains, salt lakes, craters, all finally obscured by giant billowing clouds.
We climbed down from our metal bird in a smoky city filled with the noise of industrialisation. We pushed through some crowds of people; passed through a couple of check points and then climbed into a smaller metal bird escaping once more to look down on the world man has made.
We landed at last in a sea of yellow grasslands where the light was so bright and crisp it pinched the eyes. 360 degrees of wide open horizon brimming with possibilities and discoveries all presided over by a giant mountain capped with snow.
I rode on a white horse whose name was 'elephant' - and whose ancestors had been knights chargers in the times of the crusades. Giraffe stopped browsing to watch us pass and strange stunted thorn trees tugged at our clothing, but the singing sunwashed grasslands would not be denied and we rode out into the endless plains kicking up puffs of volcanic dust.
The Chyulu hills were our home for this dream time. By day we climbed up to the crumbling edges of ancient volcanic craters, and explored mystical caves formed by tendrills of lava flows. Here the molten lava had turned to stone forming ceramic walls moulding shapes of faces and fantastic creatures, all overgrown with creepers and lichens. The lava tube flowed downhill like a waterfall of caves sliding in and out of bright sunlight and cool damp darkness crunching dust and bones underfoot.
At night the star scapes obliterated the daytime scenes of wonder. Sunrise and the big mountain taught us humility and awe - putting us firmly back in our tiny place on the planet. A giant landscape that felt somehow strangely familiar - as if I had always known it.
All too soon the iron bird droned into view. It lifted us up and away from the kind faces and new friends, the singing grass and the purple hills. We landed home with a bump last night. Today I am picking up the pieces as reality nudges its way back in, but I am hanging onto my dream pictures and tonight i will ride away on my white horse again.