“If you don’t believe in miracles – perhaps you have forgotten you are one.”
I took to the African Wilderness like a fish took to water. I know only too well why this instant love affair happened: It was because I wanted to create a life of wonder. Living in Berlin for almost ten years, the big city life had me completely detached from Nature. Life was dull and predictable. Life was not what it should be. And deep down, I knew this.
As a child I had always found miracles in my life. As an adult I had lost this ability entirely.
…Why? To be honest, I think no-one is to blame but myself. I mean, maybe society – but who is that person? And what does she have to do with my life?
No, as long as I remember, I had wanted to grow up. When I was 14, I wanted to be sixteen; when I was sixteen, I wanted to be eighteen.. Older seemed to be what I needed to do to find answers in life. But one morning I woke up, older, and I realised I had lost my wonder.
It was during that time that I decided, living in the big city wasn’t for me. I started traveling, looking for an escape, learning about myself. To me, traveling is a sacred act. It allows for magic that cannot happen at home. I believe, it is for this very reason that many of the great poets and writers found inspiration on the road. (Goethe, Hemingway, Mark Twain, R.L. Stevenson, Jack Kerouac, Paulo Coelho,.. the list goes on). Travel, MOVEMENT allows thoughts to roam freely. And on the road, you can be whoever you want to be because no-one you know is watching.
Eventually, I trained as a safari guide in Africa, a move that changed everything about the way I see the world. When you spent quality time in the Wilderness and you learn to observe what’S around you – you will realise that absolutely EVERYTHING is a miracle. The way plants grow, and lions roar; the way that birds are painted in magnificent colours, and giraffes drink despite their long necks; the way the sun rises each morning in the East and sets each night in the West; the way lions roar, and cicadas chirp…I feel like we have become so accustomed and so “grown-up” that we have unlearnt to see the magic all around us.
I remember the day I finally got my wonder and my miracles back for good. It happened in the middle of this year when I was in Mana Pools, Zimbabwe at a camp called “Zambezi expeditions” – a stunning tented camp right on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River. Mana Pools is famous for three adult elephant bulls – but one in particular. His name is Boswell. He is one of the last big-tuskers left in Africa (all of the others have been wiped out due to trophy hunting and poaching:-( ). His presence is absolutely AMAZING. Boswell (…as long as he is not in “musth”) has a calmness and a strength within him that cannot be described – it can only be felt.
But the most wondrous thing about Boswell is that this 5-7 ton elephant bull has learnt to stand on his hind-legs to reach the higher branches of the Ana- and Sausage-Trees in the area. This acrobatic act is his own making and there are only the other two bulls in Mana that can do this. Boswell has become so popular amongst the other animals of the National Park that you will often find him surrounded by other elephants and followed around by antelopes and even herds of buffalo who wait patiently to feed on his leftovers.
Standing on the same ground as Boswell, when he heaved up his heavy body in slow-motion, reached up with his trunk to pull off a massive branch from an Ana-tree was an experience that will stay with me forever. Frankly, I was blown away by the whole thing. And I realised that we don’t know everything. And our busy grown-up-lives had us forgetting the most magical thing of them all: Not just all that surrounds us can be looked at as an incredible miracle – but we ourselves ARE a miracle. The fact that we are wandering this Earth is a miracle. The fact that we came out on the other side of evolution is a miracle. I don’t care and I don’t know who is responsible for us – and I don’t think it matters. But I’ve chosen to look at this Earth and especially at us as the human family as a magic miracle.
Yes, we have done and are doing some awful things to this world. I’m not blind to all the harm our species causes. But I believe it is time we start telling a new story about ourselves. And only if this story os made of magic and love and care, will it have the power to change us and the way we treat Mother Nature.
Thank you, African Bush Camps for making this encounter with Boswell possible.
*Unpaid invitation to Zambezi Expeditions by African Bush Camps.*