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The Scent of Sage

Is it possible to be homesick for a place that’s never been home?

As I step out of the rattling bush plane the scent of sage and wildness triggers memories of previous visits.  We had to buzz the dirt and dust runway twice because the warthogs resting there didn’t feel any urgency to move.  I’m in Botswana – Duba plains. And it’s a place I love more than anywhere else on earth.

I find Africa delightfully simple.  It seems that here, everything is pared down to it’s most elemental.  Finding food is paramount, as is staying safe from others finding food.  Find a mate, procreate.  Power here is literal – the strongest win.  Simple.

The art is especially moving.  There’s no mandate that says a mask needs to look like a real person.  Or look like a person at all!  This diversion from realism allows fantastic and extraordinary designs.  The powers bestowed on a piece don’t suffer in the least for this lack of representation.

Everyday items look like they belong in museums.  Beautifully woven baskets, hand carved serving spoons, furniture hewn from logs.  And yet nothing is so precious that it is spared from daily use.

It’s no wonder that even when I’m home I surround myself with elements of Africa.  There’s something reassuring about a piece of furniture that retains the shape of the tree it was made from.  And a sweet innocence to beaded jewelry and trays.   There’s a message in every piece of African art that speaks to slowing down and finding joy in the most. simple. things.