The trees have always been the towers of Oldonyo Sabuk; that’s why I keep going back. No matter where I go or what I see – nature is always there. Here, on this mountain, nature is like a contained paradise designed with a path to the summit.
Every time I’ve been here, the scenario is always different. Sometimes it’s influenced by who my company is for the hike. But this time, it was defined by my solitude. Though it was a group hike, I found myself doing it alone. I’d like to think that was the intention, but I also think it’s because this time I felt challenged and pacified by Oldonyo Sabuk.
I remember all the times I’ve been on that mountain and each time something keeps changing. Nature here is so beautiful, and the fact that it keeps changing so magically through different seasons amazes me. Memories I make here are crisp. It’s almost like everytime I’m here I relieve the color of the trees, the texture of the terrain, the smell of the soil, the shape of the stones, and the cohesiveness of everything bared on this mountain. This time, it was different. I was different.
I am fascinated by how timelessly unchanged some of Sabuk’s fixed elements have remained through history. There is some wild beauty in every section of this mountain. More wild because most people don’t even see it. The path on this mountain is so laid out that all that matters sometimes is the journey to the summit and back. A lot like life.
It seemed like I had gone back in time. To the first time I hiked this mountain. The friendship I made but never sustained. The second time I hiked this mountain; the relationship that seemed so defined but ended up in dire pain. The friend I had but vanished from my existence almost like a ghost. The third time I hiked this mountain, the conversations I enjoyed with strangers. The fourth, the fifth, the six when all I needed was to feel alive and forget the trauma I had endured a month before then, and now on my seventh I could remember it all like it was yesterday. Not just the people but the ambience and sense of nature too during all those seasons I had been there.
It is a place, where on this seventh time, I find myself at the beginning of time, and everything seems to be untouched by an exorable march of progress. Only this time, I almost felt one with the vastness of it all. The crispiness of the air kept me well in my thoughts embracing and accepting life for what it has been, is, and will continue to be.
High up the treetops, the leaves sway. But on the ground, the rocky gravel is silent, limb and unmoving. Along the defined path, old and young trees sit hunched over. Almost like they know the secrets of the countless people who walk along that path. Like they can hear their thoughts and taste the pain from their soles when diffused into the soil every time they touch the ground.
These trees grip the hard earth with solidity of purpose that makes it difficult to determine just where the trees begin and the soil ends, so strong is the union of the bark and grainy sustenance. Many seasons have these roots known – seasons when the dry sands have shriveled the outer branches under a parched sun. Seasons when the waters have risen up, drowning those same sands in the tears of unceasing time.
Many sands has the trees known; many green neighbors have come and gone, yet these trees remain. I look at the rocks branching onto the edges of the path and I know they’ve survived a lot. The trees have funny shapes, but they keep the mountain alive.
I could sense their growth, just like I could sense my own. How I had evolved through joy, pain, happiness, misery, confusion, depression, sadness, and guilt over the years. Just like the 6 times I had been here. This time, God was here. He was in the details. In the trees. In the flowers. In the crawlies. In the ants. In the stones. In the flora and fauna. In the music shifting through my headphones to my brain and body. In the pain I felt in my muscles while going up. In the joy I felt in my body when running down this glorious mountain. In it all. Almost like I could feel the ones and twos of life. God was in the smiles and stories of those I was hiking with.
I was not aware of this previously, but now I was sure this was the moment I had been waiting for ever since I started hiking. The realization that sometimes mountains remind us what life actually is. What life entails. What life means. And what it should be to keep alive.
Life: The gift that keeps giving and in the same capacity it keeps taking. The bubble of confusion we get conceived into and when it bursts we’re not safe anymore. But when does this life bubble burst?
Is it when those labor pains kick in and she has to bring you out into the world? When the amniotic sac burst? When those two pairs of eyes stared so thankfully at your tiny little face? Or is it when you first open those virgin eyes?
Or maybe it’s when you start to gain consciousness. When you become aware that this bubble is different. This bubble is full of uncertainties. Full of joys and sorrows in equal measure. Of peace and despair. Of happiness and suffering. Of love and often broken hearts.
Then again….isn’t life the bubble? We get so busy consumed by what life throws at us we don’t give ourselves the chance to observe this life bubble. Yes! There’s much there. Most we can’t understand. But that bubble is a lot like nature. While there’s life, there’s also death. Yin Yang. Maybe all you need is to just live. Realize what life means for you and mold that. Without neglecting all parts of you. Because like the trees of Sabuk..you serve a purpose.
Climb the Mountains; hypothetically and realistically because it’s the climb that makes you feel alive. And it’s the descent that gives the realization that you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be. Maybe today I may just be a girl who ravels and unravels in words but maybe someday, if I’m lucky, I’ll be an old woman sharing tales to her generations of all the mountains she had to climb in her life, the summits she conquered, and the descents she wobbled through, but most importantly….the lessons she learnt from it all. And who knows, maybe on the mountains you seek there you shall find new friends and communities like I did this past weekend with the Trial warriors.
So before I leave you, I implore you to make this year the truest year you’ve lived yet. Be true to your feelings and emotions. True at your job and relationships. True to principles and flaws. But most importantly true to the desires of your heart. And so I’m wishing, my lovely readers, a TRUE YEAR 😘