I sit with my eyes closed and my head back, facing the warmth of the sun. The breeze is cool and gentle as it blows my hair just the right amount. My swollen feet are propped up in a chair. After two days of hectic travel, I soak in the serenity of the place.
My ears are feasting on the unfamiliar sounds, trying to identify them in some way. The birdsongs are the first of the welcoming committee. I hear something between a warbler and a crow which calls out oddly. There is no response. What my ears think must be a cousin to the whip-or-will, starts his song, but then changes it to that of a sparrow. I call him the transformer bird. There is chatter in a tree which sounds like hundreds of chipmunks. My ears thereby name them the chipmunk birds. Occasionally, my ears catch the familiar sounds of cows and goats which float over the fence from next door, however, once they tune in and recognize the sounds, they move on to more of the unidentifiable ones.
Next the lapping of the water catches their attention. The wind brings small waves to the shore of Lake Victoria. They accompany the breeze with the sounds of leaves blowing. No high pitched maples here, in fact, the tree sounds are as unknown as the bird ones to my ears. Except for the palms; they are recognizable by the hiss when the fronds rub together as they sound at any beach.
After my ears are well into the main course of the feast, they invite my eyes to the celebration. The forest green lawn on which I am sitting is freshly cut all the way to the shore. I overlook an inlet of deep green water that spans from my far right to my far left, and as far as I can see on the horizon. The shores across from me are dotted with houses but mostly trees which, from this distance, look like the hardwood forests of home.
On the water, there are local fishermen in drab brown boats only big enough for two at a time. Until a bright yellow one coming across the water catches the attention of my eyes. They follow its journey flowing with the wind, before skipping up to the sky. It is blue and filled with wispy clouds. White birds which appear to be storks fly overhead. My eyes and ears join together at this point, both to hear the birds call to one another and to see them soar.
Then they are drawn back to earth by a bird, almost as tall as I am, sauntering along the shore. His wing span is enormous, but he seems friendly. His size no doubt, influences his laid-back demeanor. Being that size, he likely has very few predators. He makes a hissing kind of noise at no one in particular. As he wanders around, the other birds give him clearance as if he is king of all the birds. He walks on stilts that remind me of flamingo legs, only they are as big around as tree branches.
Once the king has moved on, I invite my feet to the party by wading into the refreshingly cold water. They celebrate briefly, but because of the muddy rocky shore there is no dancing today. My nose, feeling left out, begins to take in smells slowly and quietly. The lake, the breeze, the cow next door, all waft in, helping my nose feel included.
As the sun dims, the mosquitos arrive for dinner. I decide not to stay for their meal. I move inside, but not before one more moment to soak in my welcoming committee…from Africa.