nature permitted us a visit to her forest
not neatly manicured as were the tea farms
but a lively welcome, seemingly chaotic
though if you observed enough you would
appreciate nature’s patterns, where
a tree arcs into a rainbow
offering shade from the scorched sky
gently we tread over dried up leaves
scrambling, sliding, scrabbling
as though we never learnt to walk
yet majestic footprints showed how
delicately the mighty elephants
would have passed and
gray butterflies led the way onward
to the swish of water gurgling down
into nature’s pool to cool
to comfort our spirit
to soften our hearts
to melt our egos
however great our achievements
none can compare with or
even begin to comprehend
the patterns of nature, whereas
the tea farms shall descend
into disarray if neglected
for a moment…
the forest perpetuates, resilient
within the patterns of nature
This poem was inspired by my hiking experience (first ever!) at Kieni Forest to the Twin Waterfalls. The hike was arranged by Summit Seekers Kenya who are passionate about hiking and it was more than just a hike, we were #hikingforacause. The founder Harun Makwana is passionate about reforesting and shares awareness of his inspiring vision via Summit Seekers Kenya’s hiking and mountaineering expeditions. During 2018 they managed to plant 17,400 trees on the slopes of Mount Kenya, raising awareness and funds through hiking, climbing and other activities.
Well, it wasn’t quite as easy an experience as I had imagined it to be! Kieni Forest lies at the edge of a vast tea farm which is where we started our hike. The contrast between the tea farm and the edge of the forest was striking. Walking through the farm was more like hopping and jumping over the irrigation channels all while going downhill and that in itself was quite a feat.
As we entered the forest, we could not deny its cooling effect. It was just like entering a hidden world, fiercely independent and defiant of our “civilisation”. (My nephew RoRo thought I had been to Rivendell, from Lord of the Rings :) )
Of course it didn’t get easier once we were within the forest. There were unexpected slopes, a hilly terrain and narrow forest ledges. I found myself crawling upwards, sliding down and trying to cling onto flimsy branches….almost felt the whole forest smirk in amusement as I puffed my way towards the waterfalls.
Both waterfalls were a treat for the eyes and soul. Pure cooling water, rainbow infused dewdrops and I forgot all my struggles, worries and fears. Laughing, wading and splashing through was a wonderfully bonding experience with nature and the other hikers. (Harun informed us that these waterfalls exist only as long as the surrounding trees will exist – a scary and depressing thought!)
Going back up was much faster than I had imagined. I was exhausted, but for a moment I looked back and realised that through the hike I never thought about my life, my family, my work, my “achievements”. Nothing mattered except to keep going, without losing my balance or speed. Only that particular moment existed for me. Wow! What a powerful experience!
I express my admiration and gratitude to Harun and the entire Summit Seekers team, the guides and guards for keeping us safe and encouraging us at every step of the way. Such a pleasure to connect with other hikers. A special mention to the two young boys who literally flew through the entire hike, unafraid of anything, all that energy!…you guys are stars!
P.S. Please do support #hikingforacause in any way you can. Leave a comment here or email me firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out to them through their Facebook page Summit Seekers Kenya. Check out their events for the upcoming hikes. Sharing awareness or even a donation to their cause will greatly help future generations.
Photo Credits: Summit Seekers Kenya Family