On our way to and from the coast, we passed through Tsavo East National Park. Canvas tents sheltered our weary bones and we dined by candlelight under a clear, starry sky. One morning, an elephant wandered into the camp, knocked over a palm tree, and feasted on its fronds. Cheeky monkeys scampered onto the breakfast table, swiped the ramekin of jam, and devoured it, pausing to shoot us ornery glances. We flew over bumpy washboard, slowing down to admire leggy giraffes and graceful dik-diks and slow-lumbering elephants, long-necked ostriches and wallowing hippos and lazy lionesses.
What a life.
I am certainly not the first to write about the ocean, and this is certainly not the first time you've read about it. But I can't help but write about it when the wildness pulls you in, whips against your skin until you lick your lips and taste salt and all you can think about is how free you feel. It does something to you, the wild does, fills you up and empties you simultaneously, and I know why artists escape to tiny seaside cottages.
Brutal as it can be, I would be lying if I said I didn't miss the dry heat of an Oklahoma summer: surviving almost entirely off bruschetta made with fresh basil and warm tomatoes off the vine and slowly roasting to death by the pool until you jump in and the lazy mornings spent creating pretty things. Also my family. Dang, I miss my family. It is not as aching and raw as it was a month ago, but I truly miss their company. Yet in being here, I am learning a lot about home, learning what defines me, learning that "home really has less to do with a piece of soil than with a piece of soul." (+) It is a fascinating journey.
Still, I was happy for a chance to return to the sea, to dip my toes into the Indian Ocean for the first time (!!!), to experience life on the coast. Kenya is beautiful and in my short explorations of it so far, I wonder how I got so lucky as to be here.
It's the 4th of July, and I'm 8,575 miles from home.
I wrote a few months ago that I wasn't sure where home was, but I think time has since answered that question. Home is not carved into a landscape, or stamped on a town, or etched in a building, but is rather built by and sustained through people. You wonder how you can have more than one home; that's how.
When I say I miss home, I mean I miss the people that make up my old life, though it constantly catches me by surprise to remember that there ever was another life.
And yet, slowly but surely, I can feel another home being built here, 8,575 miles away.