One of my mother’s favorite movies when I was growing up was, and still is, Out of Africa. A couple of weeks ago I bought myself a beautiful first edition at a used book store here in town. The story, true story, of colonial Africa made me long for adventure, love, and life in a foreign country. I suppose I should blame Denys Finch-Hatton for my love of adventurous, unpredictable men. One of my favorite scenes in the book, is when Denys starts taking Karen flying. He asks her,
“The Buffalo are out feeding in the hills,” he said, “come out and have a look at them.”
She refuses saying she has a tea party but he tells her they will be back in fifteen minutes.
This sounded to me like the propositions which people make to you in a dream.
The descriptive pages that Karen goes on to share after this are pure magic. She sees the world from a new perspective. They fly out to see the buffalo herd moving across the bush. She remarks,
We flew up and away. It was like having been taken into the heart of the Ngong Hills by a secret unknown road.
When I came back to my tea-party, the teapot on the stone table was still so hot that I burned my fingers on it. The Prophet had the same experience when he upset a jug of water, and the Archangel Gabriel took him, and flew with him through the seven heavens, and when he returned, the water had not yet run out of the jug.
The time that Karen lived in Africa has a feeling of impermanence. Was it that feeling that made them able to live each moment fully? Did living on someone else’s land, in someone else’s time make it feel as if they were given each day as a gift instead of taking it as a burden?