Rain drops drum beat their pitter patter on the office’s corrogated iron roof. Dark clouds gloom grumpily overhead, airing their grievances against the stark stretch of steel-grey sky. The hills resonate and rumble with the booms of another a rain storm over Kampala.
The smell of rich ripe earth is in my nose, the red dirt bloody and muddy on my shoes. It is inescapable.
In a few days I will be leaving, getting on another plane, flying into colder rains. Yet I’m not sure I have quite got here yet, whether Uganda has had time to soak into my skin.
I feel sort of frustrated that I don’t feel a stronger sense of connection with all this that I am leaving behind. I expected something more than a few flashes of passion that I can turn away from with a smile, without too much thought. But when I mull on it, it’s a little unrealistic to expect to fall in love every time; not every country holds my heart.
Perhaps in a few short weeks, a glimpse, a glance, a dance under a starrry sky is more than enough.
All the same, I feel that I’ve wronged this country: used and abused it, reduced it’s complexities and colours to a backdrop for my own landscapes, my own storms. But I guess in part we always travel to find the kernel of an unknown in what we thought we knew, to know ourselves a little better. To be truly moved by a place, even if just for a moment, can be more of a tribute, a more heartfelt compliment, than any tourist’s photo.
I try to look back and mark the milestones, to chart my path before the rain’s sorrows wash away my prints.
Here I’ve laid down some of my fears. I’ve managed to get back into work without tantrums or too many tears. I’ve managed the shock of all that is new with real pleasure and no great effort. I’ve told my story when I needed to with honesty, with feeling, but without falling apart.
I’ve remembered that I laugh more than I cry, that even when my light feels dim and dingy, it still shines and occaisonally even shimmies! I still draw people to me and have something to offer, some warmth saved up to share. I have not gone cold.
I’ve stumbled upon more questions than answers but that is exciting. I am glad my view has opened up. I’ve climbed a little out of the swamps and now I see places I want to explore, the parts of myself I need to work to get to know, the roads that roll out ahead.
With the choking smoke of grief all around me, it was easy to forget that life never lets up with the challenges. In dealing with what was right in front of my nose, with what was hurting in the right now, I had little strength spare to think about the bumps and bends that might be further down the road. An hour seemed like a very very long time, a far off place to get to.
Now I can see further. The clouds have cleared and flocks soar back up into the skies like rising thoughts set free bouncing off the leaves of banana trees. The distant vistas unfold lush and green with the unknown, all that is frighteningly possible, with what might be but might not.
I’m not quite sure what to do with all the thoughts buzzing and fluttering in my head, which to swat and which to spare. I’m not sure where to go from here, but I’m telling myself I don’t need all the answers just yet.