It startles me to feel the days skimming by now. When I am deep in my work, the hours pass quickly. I enjoy it. I have a good routine now and even when I wake early, I look forward to 7a when I can go in to the kitchen, say to Tuma “What news of the morning?”, ask Maksi “How did you wake?” and make myself a hot cup of instant coffee – that’s always the official start of my day.
I start to wonder how much culture shock I will have on my return to America. I’ll probably be delighted by all the new Top 40 songs. I’ll have 3 months of webcomics to catch up on, not to mention photographs and YouTube videos. I’ll be able to see my family again, and won’t be afraid of walking tomy tent in the dark. But last night, I watched the sun setting in a wash of baby pinks and blues, the violent rug-rumpled clouds tinting gold around the edges, like fresh butter melting, and listened to the dog-toy “wah!” of the go-away bird. “Of all the birds, that’s the one I’ll miss the most,” I said to myself. And I realized that I have come to love this place. Not for its newness, or its strangeness, but for the constant variations that it presents from day to day. Isn’t that what real love is, anyway? I think the definition fits for the love of people and for the love of places – this is an eternal appreciation. I wonder what this place is like in every season and every time of day, what it would be like to watch the light change from winter to summer, from rainy season to dry, to watch the passing of the wildlife in and out of Tarangire. I won’t be here for those things. I’ve only a month left, after all, and so many dreams to continue pursuing. And yet, Noloholo has lodged itself in my heart as surely as any cupid’s arrow. I’m grateful for the weeks that are still left, time to bask in this landscape’s vagaries, to be free and happy.
At dusk, I again watch the light fade and push my body through an hour of pilates. Dinner is warming on the stove. I built the bulk of two financial models today; I enjoy the way finance pulls at my brain. Sometimes when I’m calculating the NPV of a project, I wonder if I completely missed my professional calling. No arrow-shooting today either; Dennis took the Hadza with him to clear the roads for tracking tomorrow, and Andrew is still in the village with Kelly. So, I settle in with Michener and the first Dutch settlement in South Africa, and feel at peace.