Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Shouting from the Mountain Top, Echoes in the Valley

If you have never had the chance to descend through the clouds, I highly suggest you find yourself a plane to catch.  If you have never had the chance to descend through the clouds via a car, then I would advise you to make your way to the highlands of Tanzania.  Today, as we made our way to the base of the highlands and into the lowlands, we found ourselves faced with a towering wall of cloud-mass.  Before you feel inclined to correct me, no, this was not fog.  What we saw can only be described as a cloud, because the matter was thick, fluffy, and awe-inspiring.  It was also what we would be driving through to reach the top of the descending road. 
   Unfortunately, I was unable to capture this temporary natural fortification with a camera, but the memory of anticipating the entry into the white interim is unforgettable.  To me, it was like moving through a negative-space, where only our vehicle, the passengers, and a small portion of the road was available to us.  I opened my window to the chilly morning air to feel the clouds: they felt saturated, cold, and so unbelievably vast.  Empty.  As if the trees, the mountains, the countryside, and Tanzania were lost to us.
   Upon reaching the bottom of the mountains we found Tanzania once more.  Our journey down the mountain and through the clouds was behind us.  Beneath the wall there were patches of clouds lower still, clinging to trees, but spiraling upward, as if grasping desperately to take hold of the greater cloud above them. 
   When writing this post, it occurred to me something I find very peculiar.  Before entering into the cloud partition, we were laughing and considering the activities of coming day.  But once inside we were quiet, our breathing softened, as if to leave the air as undisturbed as possible.  No one person said a single word for the 15 minute drive down the mountain.  Once on the other side, we began to converse once more, like nothing had happened.  It was if we had begun our journey shouting from the mountain top, only to hear the echoes once in the valley.

And, as per request:

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