Monday, July 26, 2010

smoke and feathers: love on the plains

there's always something wickedly exciting about packing the car and headin' west. out of town, past the airport, past the sunflowers and seeing kilimanjaro loom ahead of you, towering and glinting in the clouds. take a left turn just past sanya, where the road becomes narrow and quiet, winding and climbing between dry maize fields and lush forests. before you know it, you're on dirt red roads, listening to a stretched cassette of michelle shocked singing memories of east texas....everyone singing (well. actually just me) "i learnt to drive on those east texas red clay back roads...". the wind hurls the dust through the open windows. brushing hair is a thing of the past and our hearts float crazily and happily outside the car.

we were on our way to woodstock in the bush. a groovy hippy wedding, out on the windswept plains of ndarakwai, a wild ranch beneath the western breech of kilimanjaro.

flags fluttered prettily around the campsite, announcing ceremony and place.

as night fell, a massive bonfire was lit to ward off tendrils of cold and night monsters. the bride's sister, from australia, danced with her "fire balls"....(like fire dancing except with balls lit up by lead lights which changed colour all the time - orange, blue, green, pink, purple, red, whirling colour dervishes which really hurt when they smack you on the mouth or the head if the swirling gets out of control, as i discovered)...under the stars. glacial winds off kili kept the fire fairies spinning up to the moon whilst i chatted to the groom's mother all the way from moscow. i also saw my first ghost. a pale faced woman. with long dark hair, a high collared white shirt and a black long jacket. she floated out from the tree line, out of the silver star speckled night, straight behind irene. the mother said, " who are you looking at?" and before i knew it, the ghost had gone. i said, "i've just seen a ghost." she said " vat huff you been smoking?" but she saw it on my face. her dark russian eyes don't miss a thing. she took another sip of her stolichnaya vodka as a cloud slipped over the moon. i know a goddess when i see one so i followed suite and drank like a russian. (must learn not to peak so early.)

the groom arrived on a black horse called storm. they cut a dashing pair, prancing across the plain, towards the circle of friends, who were being "cleaned" by shaman rani with specially concocted incense, whisked up with guinea fowl feathers. my boys were terrible. giggling and wrinkling their nose at the smells of india and whispering things like " who's that witch mama?" with deepest respect, oh best beloveds, seeing they know one already. their mother. i sternly looked my long nose at them. they shut up smartly.

last born was a flower girl of sorts. she was perfect for the part. she wandered around the circle, handing out roses, her tangled hair, knotted with bougainvillia. a flower fairy to boot.

the black horse stamped his feet and held his head high, neighing. we stared across the plain and there came the bride, side saddle on a white princess arab mare, haling from the royal stables in spain. she sat perfectly on the horse, her dust orange silk veil, blowing prettily around her, being lead by my friend and vaquero par excellence, carlos. who looked ever so handsome. and from a safe distance, a herd of eland stood eloquently etched.

as she stepped so sweetly off her steed and gathered up her silks, i sang angel from montgomery with baab strummin' an out of tune guitar. it didn't matter. the wind tangled up the music.

my neighbour, bram, acted as the priest or guru or ceremony master or nini hii. (we kept some konyagi hidden in the basket just in case he needed to settle his guru nerves). but, i must confess, he was rather good at it. he married the man to the man initially. he really is rather a lovely guru, though. i'd let him marry me if i did it all over again. the shaman had to "clean" him, or probably bless him, with her smoke and feathers.

i sort of sniggered and thought golly, she'll have to do a lot of cleaning there. don't get me wrong. i'm mad about bram. completely. anyway. the exchanging of vows was beautiful. moving. and made me believe all over again in love, baby, love. the best kind. bram made us all do more oms. my boys embarrassed me again, snorting with giggles when everyone was supposed to be omming. it does tickle the lips though, i find. louise was excellent at it. at one point i thought he'd holler," and one for holland!" (he loves his football).

horses. love. spikey stars. a full moon of magic. smudgy sunsets. smoky fires. guitars. feathers. ghosts. music. mountain winds. russian vodka. fire dancers. what more could a cowgal ask for, eh?

you tell me.

toodely toot, oh bestests, bisous X.X.X. blazing red hot poker off the saddle ones. x j


Angela said...

I can`t believe the stories you write, Janelli, and the pictures you show us, of horses and riders and songs you sing and omms you make your lips vibrate with, and not to forget the Russian vodka. Here we also just have Russian visitors who invited us to a datcha bordering to a lake in Kirgistan. There are wondrous ülaces to visit and sights to see, that`s for sure. I am always filled with yours, and my lips vibrate. Wish you could tell us more about the ghost.

Angela said...

Not ülaces but places. Sdraztvuici!

What Possessed Me said...

That has to be the most amazing wedding on the interwebs. I got chills. xox

Linda Sue said...

Woohoo what a gig! Beautiful ceremony - I would be with your boys I am afraid, I become incredibly immature in the face of seriousness and pomp.Thanks for taking us along- I feel as though you live on an entirely different and more beautiful planet than we.

Reya Mellicker said...

Ah fabulous. Ghosts love weddings because weddings mean sex and sex MIGHT mean the ghosts can be reincarnated. All they can remember are the joys - the pleasures. They forget all about the pain.

Lovely wedding. Congrats to the newlyweds. xx Shalom.

Amanda said...

yeah those mountain winds talk for sure.

love everything about this - fire, russians, vodka, full moon and ghosts.... including sniggering kids (god i remember mine at that age they laugh at everything)

your stories prove there is magic in the world.


Mud in the City said...

Now THAT's a wedding. Sod the colour of the napkins, the matching button holes and the fancy favours. Love, friends, positivity and warmth of all concerned. Yes please.

Although I love the children's sniggering. Keeping it real!

Mama Shujaa said...

What a fantastic post! Movie script next? Yaani umeandika vizuri sana!! And the photographs are wonderful. Such romance. What did the newly weds do for a honeymoon, then?

Janelle said...

hey geli. she was very tall. pale. she glided out the dark from the trees, past my friends and when we looked again she was gone. she had a high white collar with a long black coat on...oh and she had long wavy dark hair framing her face. think that's all i could see. she went by quite swiftly. x j

p! along with your completely beautiful NYC one...LOVED it...! x j

agree linda sue..i couldn;t actually look at the boys for fear of laughing myself. x j

oh reya! yes! that makes so much sense! indeed! thanks for that. x j

thanks amanda! i'm glad i can make my kinda magic. actually, must do a post on other stuff..the not so magic stuff. i think i try and see it because there's a lot of shit around too...but the more you look for magic the more you find it. x j

hey mud! yeah. it really was dream like. stunning and full of love and good feelings. the full moon helped of course. x j

mama shujaa, nashukuru sana! actually i just saw them in arusha having lunch with all the extended family...i wonder? lovely to hear from you! xxx j

JoeinVegas said...

We attended friend's wedding under a big tree down in San Diego. Not as magical as yours though.

Spiny Marshmallow said...

Whey hey - the coolest thing. Love your ghost too. Just great descriptions and pics -= lovely

nuttycow said...

Wow - what great fun that wedding looks. There's nothing like a wedding in the middle of nowhere surrounded by people who love each other.

Dumdad said...

Another great, magical blogpost!

Janelle said...

thanks for visiting joe! x j

hey pamu..yeah it was a very cool two days kabisa! x j

i tell you nutty true..lurve, baby, lurve! x j

thanks DD - one of my long time blogging buddy! x j

Karen said...

Oh, how romantic and beautiful!

Will said...

Janelle, once again you've painted a terrific word painting.

Janelle said...

thanks karen and will! hmmmmm..think i need to do a blog on the drive ain't too pretty most of the time...but its real....but for now, off riding in maasailand..the rest can j

elizabeth said...

Oh dear, your exotic posts leave the rest of us feeling
both wild and uplifted and terribly terribly
and cloddish

what a magical wedding
and such a charming flower girl

you write so wonderfully wonderfully

hope the riding is splendid