I'm supposed to write something profound, I suppose, sitting here above the Great Rift Valley, overlooking the place where man was born, the cedar breeze carrying an ancient dignity across the cottage porch. But there are three dogs sprawled at my feet, and they impress me too much to ignore. They're way cool. They just trotted in from their morning trek, gave me a heads-up, and slumped down with a clattering of knees to overlook their domain: the yard, the cedar forests beyond, the escarpment to the west, and the majestic valley below with its fires burning and farm flowers growing and morning mist burning off the distant Longonot Crater.
The buzzing and humming and whirring of insects around us is bewildering. And the birds are like children on a playground: chasing, grouping and dispersing; twittering around; little conspiracies being built in the corner, and then destroyed with a simple deceit. I read somewhere that not so long ago, a few generations maybe, most of the world was like this---a pervasive humming of insects. But alas, not anymore.
The cedar forest is beautiful, but the rest of the escarpment has been stripped of its trees. Below, the shores of Lake Navaisha are visibly retreating every year---some say it's the commercial flower farms, other accuse the tribes up-river. But, like most everything in Africa, I'm sure it's not what it seems. Whatever it is, however, it's complicated, invoking murder, greed, corruption, poverty and desperation...
The dogs are acting extra cool this morning because they're trying to repair some damaged pride. The right side of the rotweiller's muzzle hangs in an unusual way, the ridgeback keeps licking the gash under his leg. "A warthog," the waiter told us earlier. "A fight. They followed it into a hole."
"Actually, it was probably a bush pig," the owner said when he joined us later on the cottage porch. "It happened in the woods up there. Not many warthogs." He pulled the ridgeback's leg back revealing the wound as he told the story of getting them to vet. The dogs pretended to ignore us. An occasional glance shot at their owner seemed to say Can't you just let it go? Ok, ok, so we got beat by a pig... Let it go! Then they would turn their gaze back to the great ancient valley, raise their chins, and regain once again their dignity.
(photo: cottage window at Malu)