Text Elzanne Erasmus
Text Elzanne Erasmus
I stood atop a rock overlooking the Hartmann’s Valley in Namibia ’s north-western Kaokoland Region. Breathless. Speechless. A tear quickly wiped away. Clichés, I know, but often words fall short. It wasn’t just the view, but a culmination of factors so intricate that I could scarcely explain it to myself, let alone anyone else. I didn’t take out my camera. I had previously tried to capture moments such as these elsewhere in the country: the view from a dune at Wolwedans, the sunset over the Okavango. Each time I was disappointed with the result. Sometimes the magnitude of the moment just can’t be captured. Or maybe I’m just not good enough a photographer…
The photo above was taken by my good friend Gerhard. That moment right there was mammoth. But even a photo as stunning as this can’t fully capture the enormity of the experience in digital eternity. Some things are only felt. Gerhard and his family lived just a few kilometres from that very spot for many years. It used to be part of his everyday life. It used to be his Namibia. I think I’ll ask him next time what he sees when he stands on that rock. Or what he feels. Is it still awe-inspiring to him? Or is it just Tuesday? Perhaps, if we’re continually emerged in a moment we lose its essence. Maybe we start looking past it. Disenfranchised by being constantly confronted with it to the point that we are desensitized. Maybe I should take a breath and look around me during my everyday life. Maybe there’s something I’m missing today.
I was at a live show of a travelling South African band recently. They sang a song, the lyrics of which resonated with me so strongly that I had one of those ‘moments’, a eureka instant if you will… The lyrics said: What if you wake up tomorrow morning with only the things that you’ve been thankful for today? Will you be okay?
And I started thinking… In fact, I started thinking so bloody hard that I penned this essay as I sat in the audience. People around me probably frowned at the glare from my cell phone screen, but I didn’t care. Just as the female vocalist had been inspired, and forced to write this song while stuck in rush-hour traffic in Cape Town, I had to pen my thoughts in a crowd, common courtesy be damned.
Will I be okay if I woke up tomorrow with only the things I was thankful for today? It probably depends on the day, but if it were a day like so many I’m privileged to have when touring around my spectacular country I would say yes. Yes, I would be okay with the views, the mountains, the wildlife and the absolutely magnificent moments experienced. What about all the days in between though?
So I stopped and looked around with fresh eyes at my everyday Namibia. My every day is not spent roaming around Hartmann’s Valley. I wake up most days in our country’s beautiful and enigmatic capital. What am I thankful for today? I’m thankful for the sunset and the amazing golden glow it casts on the Christuskirche in Windhoek’s city centre, a sight I witness every single day on my drive home.
I’m thankful for the mousebirds, hornbills and grey go-away birds that live in the candle-pod acacia outside my bedroom window. I’m thankful for the 5-minute drive from home to my office, and the fact that I’ll never get stuck in rush-hour traffic for hours. I’m thankful for friends and family and love and Labradors and my new old Landy. I’m thankful for rain when it comes and sunshine when it doesn’t. I’m thankful for the magnitude of each moment here. So bring on tomorrow, it’s sure to be another spectacular day in my Namibia.
This article was first published in the Travel News Namibia Spring 2017 issue.