The Day Rainbows Filled the Sky
A few years ago I set out on an adventure to East Africa, an adventure that would allow me to accomplish one of my greatest dreams and that would be standing at Uhuru Peak on Mt. Kilimanjaro. I never anticipated the struggles, the challenges or the components of this adventure would ever take. I often thought, traveling to the East would be a fairly simple feat, that I would fly into a barren savannah filled with wild beasts and little civilization outside of the big city. I spent a week trekking 42 miles to the summit of Kilimanjaro and standing in the presence of some of God’s greatest work overlooking the Savannahs and seeing the glaciers first hand while gasping for air at nearly the 6000 meter mark in climbing. I would come down from the mountain with a fractured foot after a frozen scree ledge gave way under the morning thaw, that would give quite a tumble to a stopping point on rock and ice quite some distance below. We would encounter first hand village protests including explosions and tear gas and at times we would take cover to avoid being directly impacted by the outrage of villagers as thatch roofs burned. I remember vividly the events of this day and how at times you would look down at your feet instead of watching what we would directly witness as local law was enforced. At times, heartbreaking yet wavering as you knew your witness to these atrocities could land you in a foreign jail simply by watching the events unfold around you.
In the days following the climb of Kilimanjaro, I would take on a new adventure, one that would take me West through Kenya to the borders of Uganda and to the shores of Lake Victoria then South to Tanzania and from there back East through the Serengeti and Ngorongoro. It is the events of Ngorongoro that brings me to this post this evening.
We had been traveling for hours through the Serengeti earlier that day and our trusted overlanding truck broke down on the edge of the Serengeti plains. Our group unloaded from the truck and in an instant we went from watching the great migration of millions of animals through the truck windows to standing in the middle of the great migration as our guides worked diligently to repair the truck before darkness fell. We were in a territory that had a reputation for not being the safest and moving along would be to or best interests. Fortunately after hours of hanging out with the wildebeasts and zebras in the open plains, near dusk we were back loaded in our truck and heading to Ngorongoro. Our guides told us of stories as we road and told us that tonight “they will come” so be sure not to leave your tents once darkness falls.
As an adventurer I took the words of the guides lightly has I know most have some little trick up their sleeves for the unknowing or the unwitty, but regardless, I did heed there words. I mean, I am in the middle of East Africa, that bump in the night is not the housecat jumping off the counter.
We drove for hours it seemed as dusk fell on the day and each minute that passed the light faded as we climbed higher and higher in elevations to the crater rim. The light of the day cast amazing colors on the vivid green landscape, a far cry from the dry barren Serengeti Savannah we had left behind hours ago. It was as if, each roll forward in the climb to the rim, that the view became more and more magical. The clouds rolled over the mountains as if they were meant to hug the landscape. I stood up and leaned out the window of the overlanding truck, mesmerized by the vast change in climate and the environment around us. As I watched, I was taken by the colors of the landscape, the amount of wild beasts that were roaming the valleys and amazed at how everything was operating in perfect harmony. It was as if at the moment. “God said,” I wanted you to see this, this is peace on earth”. And without a doubt it was truly that. The world in which we were watching was unfolding in a magical setting where everything walked in harmony. The wildebeast played amongst the zebras and the young newborn animals scampered in play through the lush green grasses. The clouds hung low allowing the peaks to rise just above them as the sunset beautifully in between the peaks casting a orange-ish glow across the meadows. The sky filled with rainbows in all directions you could see. And though, I watched everything around me, everything was in complete silence, there were no sounds, only a view of a perfect and peaceful world.
I grabbed my camera, the photojournalist in me had to capture the moment, I had to share what I saw, it was that amazing. I started taking pictures of the view, the sunset, the rainbows. Taken by the complete silence of everything, I gazed around our truck and the look on everyone’s faces told the same story of being completely mesmerized by what we were witnessing. How remarkable. It would be on this day, if I were to imagine what the Garden of Eden looked like, then I knew I was looking directly at it and there would be no words to describe it. I looked down at my viewfinder on the camera to chimp on my pictures and what was more amazing is none of the pictures showed rainbows, though I was looking directly at them out the window of the truck. Still to this day, I can not explain this evening other than remarkable. On this day, we road to the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater and this day would be Christmas Eve.
We live in an amazing world. Take time to see it, take time to experience it and take the time to be amazed. I will for as long as I live, remember this day as one of the most remarkable days of existence.