Wednesday, August 12, 2009

natron thoughts...

we have recently returned from where the wild things are. well. actually, aren't. or not very many of them at any rate. we have been to wide open spaces - where dreams are richer and deeper, where you have space and time to dwell unconsciously on Random Things, ponder by accident on Important (or unimportant depending on who you are)Things, trip over surprising Heart Things, think marvelously about Any Things. and there are fresh spaces in between your thoughts, where the horizons are so wide.

where you feel very little and small in many ways.
we have been to a flat wild windy fiercely hot place called lake natron. where the wind tears at your hair and the dust crowds your eyes. (unless you were wearing a pair of superb dust goggles and a dashing scarf).

and you wish you had wings. your body feels so heavy you could leave it behind in a flash. you could do or be anything out there. anything.
lake natron is a flat soda lake, where the flamingos stain faded pink ink veins across a two tone sepia landscape. dominating the sky line is oldonyo lengai, an active volcano....with a great rugged rocky heart emblazoned on her chest. the land is flat and dusty and layered in ash and not much grass, scattered with bovine skeletons. only the dogs are fat, from feasting on dead herds. everything is shockingly stark. so close to nothing.

people. we have so much of everything.
when you stand out there, you're not sure where the earth ends and the sky begins. you're not sure where you begin or end.

we struck camp under a few fig trees next to the only river for hundreds of miles. my hatred for camping dissipated as fast as the river which tumbled startlingly with a determined fury to get to the end. we slowly picked our way up a black volcanic gorge to marvel at the water tumbling with breath stealing force down hundreds of feet, stinging our backs and heads. the wind howled around the corners, snatched hats and spat them into the river. and if you looked up to the top of the cliffs, your feet became itchy underneath and your tummy swirled giddy with vertigo. like when i used to climb the roof when i was little. when i wasn't allowed to.

everything is magnetic. it was well, perfectly dreamy. until carlos thought he had swallowed his tooth. it was definitely missing. something has to give in such a sacred place. it turns out carlos never swallowed his tooth. the water fall did. thank christ it wasn't mine.

in the late afternoons, we drove down to the lake shore, dust goggles donned, scarves flying, twisting with the dust devils spiralling around us. we drank warm melon juice and vodka after the sun had dipped and the world shone like mercury.


the lake shrouded itself in silver mirage scarves tasseled pink with flamingos. carlos flew his kite and displayed an enviable patience and tolerance in teaching everyone how to fly the bloody thing. well. he did work for Green Peace for a long time, you know.

of course, i was best. at kite flying and impressed everyone with my staying power. in that i was the only person whom we were sure the wind couldn't actually lift and carry away over the flat white shadowless soda earth to Never Never Land. which crackled and snapped under our bare feet.

in the dead white heat of day, we flaked out under the dappled purple shade of the fig trees, listening to the roar of the river, the distant bells of the maasai cattle as they stumbled over the volcanic rocks from the dusty bald ashened hills. and the kids fighting over a game of cheat or the hammock. until i smacked one on the leg. "ow. that hurt". and me immediately overcome with shame but still said, "it meant to hurt." and immediately felt like The Most Worstest Mother On The Entire Blinking Twinkling Baking Planet.

but, it must be said, the world went back to tinkling cow bells lingering on heat waves and a head full of enchanting thoughts and sleep. . . . .

Kitchen Board: Wednesday August The 12th 2009
kitchen board schmitchen board...

you don't need one when you have a kitchen like this....

all you need is love love love and bananas. red ones. they're waiting for ya....
toodely pip, y'all and bisous X.X.X. rollin' tumbleweed ones x j


ps: just in case you're thinking.... it's always delicious to be back home on the hill, in the little pink house perched on the ngorobob hill, in my own bed, with a window full of stars. . .





















9 comments:

Bill Stankus said...

Nice. i just did a blog on Mars. A different desert we will eventually walk upon and feel versions of your experience.

karen said...

Oh Janelle, this is the most amazing, beautiful post - I just had to read it all over again! To a lesser degree, the Makgadikgadi Pans in Botswana evoke the same in me.. glad to have you back :)

PS love the red bananas!!

PurestGreen said...

You have the best adventures. I love the goggles. I want to experience that feeling that I am dissolving - that a place is taking me with it even as I stand there.

family affairs said...

Welcome home, again, again, again....

Photos gorgeous - I've got SO many of the valley don't know where to begin!

Lx

Mud in the City said...

Good to remember ho wmuch we have - and also what is and what isn't important. Red bananas certainly are.

Love the goggles - very 'on trend for 2009'!
x

Dumdad said...

Enchanting post, comme d'hab.

nuttycow said...

Great pictures (as ever) and I'm with Mud - the goggles are very *now* ;)

Janelle said...

hey bill..yeah. natron is an entirely different planet. i can imagine it as a movie set for Star Wars or something...x j

thanks karen. yeah magadi is VERY similar...x j

thanks PG. yeah the heat sort of squashes you down into the earth...wild. x j

thanks lulu...i bet you have thousands of photos...well. that valley is my soul destination. i had many many wild and beautiful years living there...phew. x j

hey mud and nutty...really really? goggles trendy? i tell you what though, they work a treat with the dust! awesome! thanks for comments. and red bananas are DELISH. truly. x j

merci beaucoup DD! bis, comme d'hab X j

Val said...

beautiful beautiful story! we passed thru this place once long ago. Strange and other-worldly indeed. Red bananas are testament to that. All those volcanoes, claderas, dust and big big landscape with tiny red humans passing thru. and flamingoes.. the splashes of colour always a suprise. I LOVE the goggles - splendid idea xx