A Christmas Wish to You
Holidays at Home.
My Wish to You, my Friends:
It’s a rare statement used by me for all holidays this time of the year. “Home for the Holidays” usually never happens collectively, especially since the late 1990’s. Traveling has always taken the forefront of my days off versus spending time on the farm for all the holidays. My logic naturally behind it is, I can go to the farm any weekend I want, I can only travel the world when we have multiple days offs. I certainly think a fair logic to have and I am such a firm believer in experiences in which we can have one experience multiple times over, or as a one time experience. I tend to lean towards the latter in preference.
With that being said, I am brought back to an experience I like to share this time each year that I had a few December’s back traveling across East Africa.
It was Christmas Eve and we were crossing the Serengeti in Tanzania and to our surprise we were given an early Christmas gift, witnessing the end of the great migration.
By this time of the year, the animals were certainly due to be deeper into the escarpment and not anywhere near local or park roads. As our overlanding truck rolled down the bumpy dirt road of the only thru road in the park, we would have to often stop for the single file lines of wildbeasts crossing the narrow dirt road. Their line would stretch from horizon to horizon it seemed, with so may dots of other animals, zebras, antelopes and baboons, that it seemed to be more animal life than grass across the landscape.
It was a chilly, misty morning, so the fog hung low over the savannah. The gentle nay’s of life muffled itself through the windows of our truck and the look of amazement filled the faces of everyone onboard. What we were seeing was not what we were suppose to be witnessing; the end of the great migration. It should have passed by weeks ago, not crossing in front of us right now as we traveled through the Serengeti. Our disbelief and luck all merged into one as we just rode for hours and for miles just mesmerized by what we were witnessing.
As the miles slowly passed, we neared the edge of the Serengeti and as each inch of road we rolled over, came more and more of a struggle for our truck to keep rolling, the gears not shifting, the engine stripping as gears would not change, we would soon be standing still and rolling no more.
We made it to the corridors of the Reserve and Park entrances and it was here we would disembark from our truck “legally” for our crew to attempt repairs. We came down the steps of our big truck and walked around in excitement of where we were standing, we were on terra firma in the Serengeti. Then as we looked up, we realized we were doing more than standing on the ground in the Serengeti, we were standing in the middle of the Great Migration as the wild animals strolled by.
Picture time! But please no rushing herds. Be bwery bwery quiet, don’t upset the antelopes or wildebeasts or really anything with horns, hooves, or spears is what we laughed about thinking we would only be out here for 20 or 30 minutes.
We stood for hours outside, one on one, in the masses of the great migration, as the distant low hanging clouds spoke of impending storms on the distant horizon that was dotted by wildlife and on the other side of us the rainbows filled the sky. The Maasai Warriors walked as silohouttes in the distance with the most obvious tool of their trade, the spear in hand and cloaked in their bright red cloth.
As the afternoon rolled into evening, hours after stepping off the truck, we finally got back on the road. A bumpy, puddle filled road that would lead us to the foot of the Ngorongoro Crater. As our overlanding truck’s driver slowly grinded the gear’s as they were shifted to take us up the climb, up the steep road that would take us to the crater rim and into Simba Camp.
We watched the vast brown Savannah turn to a lush and pristine landscape filled with vibrant green grasses and burnt orange colors of the evening’s glow in the sky as the sun began to set across the escarpment and over the crater rim.
Life immediately went from dry and brown, from predator and prey; to lush and vibrant, to perfect harmony and into a complete and incomprehensible silence. Rainbows filled the sky and our world for that hour was filled in perfect harmony and peace.
A chill would go down your spine, equally as peace filled the atmosphere. I snapped pictures trying so hard to capture the moment, the photojournalist in me said, “I must share this, I must always remember this moment through photography”. But as we traveled, the feeling of peace, the feeling of complete connection to everyone and everything around you surpassed anything I could have ever imagined. I set the camera down and just became lost in the experience, in that moment in time.
The skies glistened orange, rainbows shined horizontally through the sky just out of hands reach, the young animals frolicked in the lush green grasses of the crater, the Masai tribe went about their day in their Boma and through all this….there were no sounds.
Just complete “Peace on Earth”.
It was as if, “God said, ” Tonight, I will show you Peace on Earth” and tonight, it is Christmas Eve.
I remember this night as if it were just hours ago. I reflect on it often, knowing there is such greatness in our world and such kindness that does exist. I took pictures that night with professional photography gear, and no image exist today that shows the rainbows or any photograph that comes close to capturing this experience. It was a time warp undoubtedly meant to be experienced, not to be captured.
It was a day that became legend, not a photograph frozen time.
Take this Holiday Season, take this day, this Day known as Christmas Eve and be blessed by being surrounded by friends and family both near and afar.
Tonight is the night for Peace on Earth.
No matter your belief, I wish to you, that all your wishes come true and may each of you have a very Merry Christmas to you my dear friends and to your families.