I was packing my gear after a long day of making photographs in Kenya, near Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro. I don’t know what compelled me to turn and look behind me, perhaps it was instinct. Or maybe it was a silent call from the god who dwells in all things that this Massai warrior and his ancestors worship. The Maasai tend cattle on wide-open plains and live in communities with no chiefs, instead of following the guidance of a Laibon or spiritual leader. Although there are lions and hyenas on the plains, the nomadic Massai walk amongst the natural world with spear and spirit, tending their cattle.
The sole figure silhouetted against the sun’s glorious rays that pierced the sky filled me with gratitude. Gratitude for nature and its overwhelming beauty, magnificence, and simplicity. We bury our heads in technology, but nature offers far greater perfection in its designs. If you, like me, during the pandemic nurtured your garden; if you planted a seed, watched a tiny plant emerge and months later ate a tomato or bean or pepper you grew with water and the sun’s help, you recognize that nature is amazing.
There is intense value in spending time in nature alone. In quiet moments of solitude, it is clear that trust lies in the certainty of the sun. It will rise and set every day, regardless of a virus raging beyond the garden walls. Rather than overwhelming, nature is infinitely accessible and invites harmony. In 2021 I will hold gratitude for that infinite perfection and the spirit carried in all things.