Sunday, March 29, 2009
Somewhere on the mighty Niger River is a floating ethereal world of dreams
The river is a kind of khaki green while an angle of the waves catches the bright blue and light of the sky resulting in a pleasing mix of colours and light.
The view as I lie on sacks of grain and gaze out is bizarre , all water and sky with a thin strip of land floating dramatically in space. This water level perspective, a ducks eye view if you will is not one I'm used to.
Small details take on significance, a tree or a goat become singled out against the enormity of sky and water. In this space the humble goat is dramatised, given dignity his life made epic. Cows swishing their tails and rocking there heads back and forth languidly look striking against a big blue sky. The smiling faces and waving hands of friendly villagers and excited kids shouting Toubab! Toubaboo! ( Toubab being the local phrase for foreigner ) Are like actors on a big blue stage, the bank, trees and huts like props to their lives which shine from this the strangest of perspectives.
The landscape is shining, ethereal and full of the exotic and timeless. Everything slides by like watching memories, as if time itself has been covered in treacle so as to slow things down and take the edge of reality. The movement so slow, the sights so unfamiliar I am convinced I am dreaming. If I saw a unicorn standing proud on the bank I wouldn't be surprised.
This cant possibly be real, floating past hippos and nomad villages is surely the stuff of dreams. I'll wake soon to a dreary wet day and go to dreary wet work to pay for a dreary wet life. But the dream goes on and on, time stretching out like the river, long winding and endless. I shake my head in disbelief at how lucky I am, how big the world is and how beautiful.