Dreaming of a Wild Christmas
At the end of each year, when December comes around to embrace us in all its festive glory, it always seems to bring with it a sense of peace and a touch of magic to calm our fast-paced and often selfish world. Although this time is extremely special and welcomed by all who celebrate it, this gift of amity and wonder is one which the African wilderness is capable of bestowing each and every time it is visited or explored…
With my own end-of-year memories surrounding Christmas, the holidays and the new year at hand, combined with how lucky and blessed I am to have been given the chance to explore Africa and her beauty extensively, I can’t help but find a great number of spectacular similarities between these two past times.
I remember my Christmas mornings as a child vividly: innocent enthusiasm wrapped all around me like an extra blanket, waiting impatiently to see what surprises lay ahead. In the same way, a morning on safari brings about the same innocent anticipation, the same butterflies, and the same curiosity as to what delights will be waiting for you. In both places, as you wake up in the early hours, there is no regret or longing for more sleep, but untainted joy as you get out of bed and hurriedly get yourself ready.
I remember walking down into the living room and seeing our Christmas tree, gleaming with ornaments and soft light, my eyes growing wider and wider as I approached. The beauty that stood before me and the spirit it ignited within me was totally pure and captivating. Alike, when you drive out into the crisp morning air on safari and come around a corner, only to drive straight on into a landscape bursting with honey-coloured light, crystal dew drops in the trees and birdsong in the surrounds, you react much like seeing a Christmas tree for the first, second or even 50th time! The whimsy of the room, the grandeur of the wilderness, the twinkle of the ornaments, the sunrays on the water, Christmas carols playing softly in the background, a Fish eagle taking flight; all create a scene of other-worldliness, transcendence and enchantment.
The gifts we see under the tree entice us, while the gifts we find out in the wild inspire us. The gift of traversing alongside Africa’s most regal animals, the gift of being able to move through an ancient land full of history, the gift of a lifechanging experience never to be repeated in the exact same way, the gift of self-connection, the gift of memory, the gift of lessons learnt: these are the most priceless and worthy of gifts.
Perhaps the most significant connection between the festive season and the wild is the message they both wish to speak: Love above all. Love for one another, love for the earth, love for its inhabitants, love for all mankind, love for togetherness, love for peace and love for unity. Remember that feeling of childlike elation, of enthusiasm, and harness that same energy into respecting, cherishing and loving our earth.
The earth is our home, the animals our neighbours and Africa their land. This season let us not forget the importance of all the life around us. Let us be thankful that we are able to live amongst such noble life and are still able to explore and experience such spiritual places.
And finally, when we make our resolutions, let’s think bigger, bolder and beyond just ourselves. Let us resolute to be more kind, more aware, more mindful and more educated about the marvels of our world.
A happy festive season to all!
Jeannette and the Safari Architects team.