Beauty in these wild places of Africa comes in two guises. There’s the filigree of a camelthorn tree against the dawn. Or in the rainforest the old-growth trees holding up in reverence a canopy that suffuses the underlay in green light. The only sounds: the rapping of rain from a shower striking the giant leaves … More Manhandled By Africa’s Beauty: The Smoke That Thunders*
It’s the baobabs that will follow you home. Mysterious, massive, silent, on gnarled pillars they dominate the Kalahari thorn scrub, and the imagination. Ancient beyond telling, they are the grand elders of Africa’s arid hinterland, sentinels of the passing millennia. Now they’re dying. And no one knows why. news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/06/oldest-tress-africa-baobabs-dead-climate-science/ The San say that the creator … More Royalty of the Thirstland: Is It End Game For The Baobabs?
In the winter of 1984, a Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, India malfunctioned in the morning darkness. Poor maintenance and disabled safety systems took a savage toll as a cloud of toxic gas blanketed a sleeping city. More than 2,000 nearby slum-dwellers never woke up in their shacks. And a further 510,000 who survived, … More Lamps in the Night
Master bard, T. S. Eliot, once confessed that his poetic sensibilities he owed to life on the banks of great rivers. His cadence, images and rhythms were borrowed, it seems, from the Mississippi and his adopted Thames. A meander up the dramatic mountain course of northeast India’s Lohit River begs for powerful poetry, too. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lohit_River … More Lohit River Poetry
Vexing religious issues, sometimes triggering savage cruelty, now figure weekly in world headlines. Indonesia (home to Bali’s refined culture and world-class beaches, the astonishing Borobudur temple complex, Java’s version of Angkor Wat, and a thousand natural wonders) has suffered its share of turmoil. One winter, my wife, Mary Kay and I flew to visit our … More Christmas Counterpoint on the Far Side of the World
Beyond a sea of springtime desert flowers on a bluff overlooking South Africa’s Saldanha Bay, there stands an inn. Its entryway is a colossal wooden door whose carving and rough iron bolts whisper tales of Tuareg caravans plodding the Sahara. You cannot help but wonder what travelers once found shelter from marauder or harmattan (West … More Doorway By the Sea
Intrigued by Daniels’ narrative, and by what if any after-story might await discovery, I set out to learn more. On a winter afternoon, 38 years after the events in the story, I boarded the afternoon train in Kandy bound for Gampola and Nawalapitiya. As I sat awaiting departure on a jewel-like day, I could imagine the figures … More Once Upon a Train (part 2)