Last Saturday I was delighted to go hiking again with some really fun guys. These are people with itchy feet just like me. Last month we randomly agreed to climb Mt Kenya in April. As preparation for that, we are doing some hikes together and this was one of them.

We met at 4.30 am and headed for the Aberdare ranges to tackle the seven ponds mlima. The Aberdares ranges are the hiking capital of Kenya in my view. It seems to have the highest concentration of hills and small mountains for hiking. Or maybe it’s the fact that they are not so far from Nairobi.

We were a small group of six and we went chatting and laughing all the way. The banter was occasionally interrupted by our driver who kept missing the bumps and flying over them. Seems his feet were itchy too hehe. I’m glad I took up hiking in 2020. I have benefitted from good landscape photos and great friendships are forming.

We arrived at our starting point just before 8 am, disembarked from our flying car, and commenced our climb. We desperately need the rain. This is waru country and yet the shambas looked quite dry and dusty. But still greener than Nairobi. I guess the baridi at night somehow irrigates the crops.

Our hike began steep but it was through some forest cover. That helped keep the temperatures low. After a few kilometers and gaining some altitude, we came across open plains interspersed with some cactus-looking plants. These plants were the only green in a black landscape that had been scorched by an ongoing forest fire. The views weren’t pleasant at this point but I tried to look beyond and see further ahead. Part of my motivation for hiking is to photograph landscapes. And this scorched earth wasn’t going to stop that.

As we kept climbing, the sun was burning our resolve from above and the burnt ashes were suffocating us from below. It is hard to hike in this Kenyan summer but we kept at it. Maybe the seven ponds summit was the motivation to quench our thirst tukifika.

As I moved along I wondered why nature would be so cruel. Our guide, Steve told us that the fire was started by nature and they have been battling it for weeks. Two lives have even sadly been lost while attempting to put it out. Steve told us how these ranges are green and beautiful during the rainy season. I pictured that in my mind.

But then again beneath these black and grey ashes lies the seeds of new life that will sprout when the rains come. Since nature brings the fire every beginning of the year (according to steve) then the rains that follow must find the ground ready to receive the water. And that’s the beauty of nature and the cycle of life. It takes care of itself though we humans remain nature’s biggest threat. We better style up before we are annihilated.

In this case, the fire is necessary for new life to emerge. I guess if the old grass and plants were kept green forever they wouldn’t be as beautiful as fresh greenery. And that relates to transitions too. Old habits die hard we are told. But they have to die if we are to grow new and better ones that improve our lives. I had to burn my business ( well not literally hehe) after twenty years and I’m loving the forming landscape courtesy of the rains of new learnings and opportunities that are unfolding.

Folks, the difference between fires in our lives and those in nature is that we somehow are in control of what to burn and when to burn it. That is what gives the rains a chance to water a new life. A pending transition will show signs of dry grass that’s ready to be burnt. But we have to light the fire.  If we take too long though fire may drop from heaven and force us on to the next season of life. That may be in the form of a job loss, disease, or the end of a key relationship. Just like the burnt vegetation, something has to die for something better to be born. Death is a close relative of transitions.

Initially, it’s painful and ugly just like the fire on the Aberdare ranges. But with time and the showers of life, a beautiful scenery of new life will emerge and we will even forget how life was before the rains. Folks, what’s burning in you? some old habit or occupation you’re clinging on to? Are you going through life smelling of smoke? Maybe the clouds of your life are grey not with doom but pregnant with rain, waiting for you to burn the past engagements before it pours.

A long view helps when going through the cycle of life and transitions. We stop seeing the fire as the end of it all but more as the beginning of a new season full of possibilities. Oh and just like my positive pals, it helps when we are in this cycle of life with like-minded folks who see beyond the vumbi and scorching sun. And that’s how we got to the seven ponds and achieved our goal of the day. In fact, when we flew back to Nairobi in our Toyota, we felt so achieved that we sat down for a few drinks to reward the body. Some good froth does enhance friendships, especially on a Saturday evening hehe.

Burn up something this year folks.



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2 thoughts on “Burn Something Up.”

  1. Rose says:

    Well said. Like the eagle, discern time to come out of comfort zone or be toppled over.

  2. Mary Muteti says:

    Amazing analogy Lucas. Its been long since i hiked, Rurimeria was the last then some transition came knocking and i found myself at the coast. Thanks for the reminder that i am incarge of igniting the fire in me and burning old habits for new life. God bless.

    I look forward to joining the hike soon.

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