Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Illumination


The flight from Johannesburg, South Africa to Maseru, Lesotho was spectacular as the late afternoon sun illuminated the patchwork of farms and rolling hills. All available land was seemingly utilized for crop production, right up the edges of rocky cliffs. The landscape was remarkably open. I wondered where all the trees were. The few I could see hid themselves along waterways and in small patches near villages. We flew on through the tumultuous terrain of the Mountain Kingdom, sailing past numerous villages. I was envious of how close the natural splendor hugged the villages and curious to know about the cultural secrets below.

There was an air of tranquility to the place. Not much activity could be perceived from above. Few cars dotted the few roads. I gazed through the plane window in anticipation of the capital. The mass of houses and buildings that eventually presented itself appeared less bustling than I imagined. What I saw was a sleepy mountain town in the midst of canyons and rivers ablaze with light from the setting sun. A couple of taller buildings marked the downtown area. Polygon houses the color of cement flowed out from there, each with a yard and a toilet.

We landed on the airstrip, on the outskirts of town, surrounded by maizefields. We stepped off the plane and were greeted by our breath in the air.

Lesotho, how do you do?

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