Thursday, February 23, 2012

I'm back.

The sensation is so raw that it makes my blood sting the hollows of my veins.

I'm watching my face reflected in the enormous panel of glass that separates this living room from the coastal forest spread out below. The early-morning sea throws handfuls of foam at the shore. My paraglider is waiting expectantly for the day to begin.

The last time I was on this continent, I never budged from overdrive. Everything was new; everything was at once terrifying and bones-on-fire sweet. I found a new life here without even looking for it, and every moment burned another bridge to the life I'd had before.

It's different now.

It's better.

I knew it would be; there was no replicating that first few months in the bower of southern Africa. That moment was pinned to the change it engendered, and that change was so complete and universal that it seems now to be someone else's story.

This time, I still take enormous pleasure in sitting silently in a restaurant, reveling in the earthy sensuousness of Afrikaans' earthy rasps and trilling r's. I still check the gas gauge before driving through townships. I still find myself marveling at the salty practicality of the wheat-haired descendants of the first pioneers, their offhand economy of expression a Rubik's cube in my hands. And I will never, never tire of the expanse of mama Africa under my feet, always tempting me onward with the promise of another heartstring plucked.

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