2000s Archive

Remote Control

continued (page 3 of 3)

Then, suddenly, we slid past the summit and back into the air. There was total silence. We were safe. And looking down at the landscape, I no longer saw the parched ground or the deadness. I noticed the liveliness of the grass. I noticed the acacia trees lining the banks of what will become a torrent of water during the next rainy season. I noticed the ostriches sprinting on the open plain. Underneath this bleakness lie hidden lines of life. Here, the invisible is animate.

“There is nothing in Namibia,” said Willem, after he had landed the balloon neatly on the back of a truck, sliced open a bottle of Champagne with a machete, and served a four-course breakfast, complete with fresh apricots, muesli, home-baked croissants, and zebra jerky. “No minerals. No business. This is a tourist destination, full stop. And I love it. As far as your eye can see, this is my playground.”

This is the gift of Namibia. Being in such an extreme environment forces you to look beyond the aridity to the meridians of moisture hidden underground. You cannot merely receive this place, you must pursue it. Namibia may be empty, but being here makes you feel undeniably full.

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