While on safari I slept at night on rock ledges that were usually inhabited by baboons.
I lay, feeling so supported, while gazing up at the sky full of stars.
Occasionally I saw a shooting star.
I had the direct experience of being one with this huge glorious Universe.
As I walked the 2000-year-old rhino trails, I encountered dung… elephant dung that was like big round brillo pads and antelope poop that seemed so polite after the big plop piles of buffalo poo.
I encountered bones… the jaw of an antelope, the horns of a water buffalo along with the scattered remains of its skeleton, vertebrae of large animals that I didn’t recognize.
There was a vividness of life in the green grasses with the white and black of the zebra stripes and the tall bobbing head of the giraffe and the primal call of the hyena to its tribe at night.
And there was the silence… my silence…
Silence that I kept for the first 4 days of the safari.
The silence both emptied me and gave me everything.
The inner clutter cleared out. There was a thinner membrane between the me that I knew of me inside this skin sack and the larger space of infinite existence that spread out all around me.
On day 3 or 4, as I sat feeling both alone in my own space and not fooled, knowing I was also communing with the space and creatures all around me, words were birthed out of me, from the silence and received by the silence…
“It’s okay that my mom has died.”
The words both surprised me, as there was no premeditated thought about saying them, and at the same time they were the most natural thing to say. There was a shift in everything in that moment that was both simple and profound; a coming home to myself again more fully as a daughter of a mother who has died. And yet there I was and here I am, the daughter of the planet, the daughter of the cosmos; a woman on her path, a woman in the wild, a woman of the wild. A wild woman at home with life and death and grief and rebirth.
I didn’t share this experience with anyone else for many days, not till the closing circle with the women I was on safari with. It was mine to be with but there was no longer any need to hold onto it. It was spoken. It was true.
And now life is carrying me forward in its ever unfurling current.
It’s okay that my mom has died.
I am still here.
There is still life.
There is the echo of life that once moved through here, on these paths and in my heart.
That echo will always be here.
And that truth is creating space for more living.
Photo Credit: Dr. Saida Desilets. Picture taken while on the Wild Women In The Wilderness Retreat in South Africa.