Footsteps in Time

So there I was, standing firmly on rugged ground, watching a world move around me, one familiar and exotic, both alien and near. Travels in Africa are born of a simple human desire to connect more deeply with the earth we inhabit. We all just want to see the Milky Way when we look up at the night’s sky, to see a natural landscape unaltered, to glimpse into the lives of a people unfettered by ideals of a material world. We want to connect with our earth mother, sing to our sky father, in a land that still speaks the language of the heart and knows the song of the wind. This yearning, too, has brought me to these shores many times…

This particular journey, to the Engare Sero mudflats by Lake Natron, Tanzania, was something very special to me. After meeting the villagers and selecting a guide, we were taken on foot, passed a beautiful landscape with zebra and giraffes roaming freely around us, to see some petrified footprints that had recently been discovered. They were created by a clan of homosapiens in this area up to 19,000 years ago; some claim older dates. Imagine, if you will, the pitter patter of footprints slapping into wet volcanic mud as a family moves, barefoot, along the shores of the lake, maybe hunting, perhaps migrating, perhaps fleeing from the erupting volcano ‘Ol Doinyo Lengai’ which still looms over the site, and remains one of the most sacred places of the Maasai Tribe today.

It found it very moving when I placed my foot on a particular imprint and found it to be precisely the same size and shape. It was as if I could feel the passing of the family who made the prints echoing through my own soul; my blood alive with the memory of ancestors. This seemingly-endless cycle of ‘mundane’ life blows my mind sometimes. These footprints remain exposed to the elements and are slowly eroding away, like many things… but life, always, finds its way… and their dust becomes the soil of the future…

These footprints may be small, but their impact on me has been huge. This wild and wonderful cycle of life and death is enough to leave any discerning traveller in awe. What does it all mean, anyway? Is there really any space or time between the lives of these lost ancient people and us? Or, is the separation we experience between things just an illusion? Fabulous and enchanting maybe, but an illusion just the same. Is all life really happening at once, ultimately. Does the earth hold the memory of all times and all powers, near and far, past and future…

Is it all just out there, waiting for us to tap into it… and bring it back to life?


I’m very grateful to share my little thoughts and stories with people from many corners of the world.
I wish you peace and blessings wherever you happen to be reading from…

All my love… a starry-eyed, ever thankful, James x

16 Comments

  1. Great description. The girafee and mountain are stunning. I especially like your last paragraph about all times and life at once.

  2. I love the photos of the giraffes among such beautiful scenery! Texas has a ranch that can be rented and be among the giraffes but it can never be as free and lovely as seeing them in the wild where they thrive just begin as they are! Lovely.

    1. They really are such wonderful creatures, aren’t they? I would take any chance to see them up close providing they are well looked after. I once walked with a group of rehabilitated giraffes in Senegal. They were just as magestic as the many that I saw in Tanzania… a graceful quiet power.

      1. I agree, to see them up close would be a treasure. I am considering very seriously staying at the ranch so I can experience that! They are protected and have space to run etc. I’m sure it would be an experience I would never forget!

    1. My pleasure. Yes, it feels that way, doesn’t it? God speaks to us through many things, often things of such subtlety and peculiarity that it’s impossible to share these experiences with others. And then there are moments like this, which speak to all, and translate universally… such wonders! Jx

    1. Hello my friend!

      That is wonderful and bizarre about the footprints… what are the odds indeed?! I’ve been planning to post this for quite a while and this morning the inspiration just came, as it does… so, surely, divinely timed for you and for me 🙂

      I’ll take a look at the linked article. Thank you much.
      God bless you. Jx

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