Chennek, Simien Mountains lush rainy season slopes
just a glimpse, stay tuned for more to explore · MilesAstray unfolds in retrospect. I was living these stories full time, now I’m penning them down. Head over to the countries page for the latest places/stories.
glimpse: LIVELIHOOD | His skin was leather, witness to a noble life spent beneath the generous Ethiopian sun. He looked like 80, but was probably closer to 60 when deducting the dignifying furrows a career of arduous labor had left on his face. The wide-awake eyes gave it away. And at no point did the cruel Simien ascends seem to take a toll on him, while I paid plenty. His reticent demeanor expressed a polite indifference to my existence. And yet, somehow I felt like he would guard that existence with his if necessary. He exuded an air of loyalty to his responsibility as a scout, and at least by proxy to any wannabe adventurer in tow. All he carried with him into the mountains was a small rucksack, a quilted jacket, an umbrella, a shawl that inexplicably sufficed him as blanket throughout the relentless altitude nights, and the AK-47. Ka-lash-ni-kov, rat-tat-tat-tat – what a perfect last name to invent a rifle, I thought. The phonetics and connotation were a match made in Russia. What kind of machine gun would a “Wilson” or “Gonzales” be? But if the rifle made me feel any safer, it made me feel unsafer in at least equal measure. I disliked the tangible proximity of death the presence of the gun established, notwithstanding that this one was more livelihood than weapon – a tool of life and death that was just a tool. Some written or unwritten rule somewhere obliged him to carry it, and me to enter the park accompanied by an armed veteran. Wild animals or robbers are no real threat here, as I learned, but a family going hungry is.
glimpse: NOBODY HATES WATERFALLS | Nobody hates waterfalls. Or sunsets. Or turquoise shores. Nobody finds nature repulsive. I think that’s safe to say. And it feels intuitive. But if you think about it, it’s anything but. It’s not like we can’t perceive ugliness. We can see it in the manmade. Or even in each other. That’s why we have a word for it. And yet, to see beauty in landscapes is universal and inherent in human beings, albeit superfluous for our survival. Evolutionary psychology falls short of explaining this phenomenon; human marvel goes far beyond the Savannah landscapes that sheltered our ancestors. What’s more, other animals appear indifferent enough to nature’s face and yet here they are, doing just fine. You never catch a dog hiking up a mountain for the view, but they seem happy and surviving enough. So why, when and how did nature code this sense for aesthetics into our DNA?
sun breaking clouds
Taitu, Addis Ababa
colliding stories and times
Addis Ababa / Piano & Pickpockets
yet to be written
Gondar / A New Friend
yet to be written
Simien Mountains / Resilience Mirror
yet to be written
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