Today, I reflect on the privilege I have had in my life, being able to spend so much time in these special places. For me, painting has created a connection to the wild I always yearned. I don’t believe we ever really see nature until we try and recreate it; the subtle changes in the light, or the many changes in colour that somehow never register until we really look. But there is more to it as well. This is my passion – a powerful urge from the core of my being to recreate the ambience of the wild but, also, to generate awareness to the plight of Africa’s wildlife as a whole.
Another recent trip to the ’Valley’ – the spiritual ambience, as always, descends upon you like some cloak warming the soul, inspiring deep thought and, above all, a journey into the present! Memories play like some continuous film roll through our minds as individual smells and sights trigger certain senses, and the silence of reality plays its music deeply within us – a time for contemplation, a time of reflection. How do you describe such beauty in the right way? Perhaps we don’t. No words can ever really make an adequate description of something so special, even a picture doesn’t do this justice. The beauty of this place we call the ‘Valley’ is reflected within us. It’s a warm feeling of knowing without a doubt that we are in the right place at the right time, a feeling of being ‘kumusha’.
I started writing this in the dark, early morning overlooking the river – the birds are starting up and in the distance the hyenas are calling excitedly, signifying the harsh realities of nature. The cool morning air reminds me of those many fires that I have sat around with companions. Many times it was just in silence, others in a frantic discussion about subjects that were of the day but they never really mattered in the end. Somewhere in the distance, the lions are calling and the feeling of just ‘being’ is so intense, so real, that I wonder where all the time has gone.
The silence of the morning is friendly, the orchestra of doves starting up in unison as the day slowly breaks to my east, and the first light shows on the horizon. Today will be a good one, another great memory for the future, another brush stroke on the oil painting that is life. The intoxicating blends of Mopane, water and elephant fill the fresh morning air, and undeniably African ambience reminds us of the present, and I have an enormous urge to try and capture the feeling of being here on canvas, the colours, the sounds and that overall feeling of reality that grabs me.It would be wise to listen carefully and you might hear the drums are beating.
©Nzira Magazine, Issue 12 http://nzira.co.zw