I do my weekly run on Sundays at 5 pm. The sun is cooler at that time and the walking/running paths along the roads are crowded. I have heard many stories about how refreshing running in karura is. I have even encouraged some pals to go and try it out. Once they do they move their walks and runs to karura. I think they take my word because they believe as a runner I must have run through those woods many times.
Well, confession time. I have never run in karura. It is my loss I know. I have only patronized some expensive restaurant there. it had a great atmosphere, set in nature but that’s not the memory that lingered for me. It still holds the record for the place I have eaten the most expensive ugali and Sukumawiki in my life this far. I wondered if the ugali was baked with cornflakes, the expensive Kellogs version kwanza. The price of the food was so high that it blocked the other goodies the restaurant had to offer. I guess the Kikuyu in me couldn’t help it. Next time I visit karura I carry food from home hehe.
Back to running in my neighborhood. Thankfully KURA (Kenya Urban Roads Authority) put some wide walkways when doing the roads in my area. They are made of cabro so it’s harder on the knees when running compared to Karura which is natural. The stormwater drains separate the roads from the footpaths. They are deep and seem well done. Last year on one of those Sunday runs I approached an intersection and noticed some boys chatting excitedly.
It seemed to me like they were headed somewhere and stopped at this junction to play. There was a little stream running down the stormwater drain. It was hard to ignore their excitement. As I got closer to them I’d see two disappear at the top of the deep trench then another two climbing out from the bottom end about thirty meters downstream.
These boys had invented a local version of water skiing (or is it sliding?). It reminded me of the many visits to the Splash Waterworld next to the Carnivore in Langata when I was in school. I would go there with my pals and spend the entire day on those slides. What joy growing up was. These vijanas were using the stream in the trench that smoothened the concrete drain and would slide down excitedly. They were fully engrossed in the moment and had no care in the world. Lifes challenges were suspended and all that mattered was the fun they were having. At least that’s how it seemed to me. I was so tempted to join them. Plus it was free, unlike splash where we had to pay.
I watched these boys for a minute and continued on my run. That got me thinking. Does being fully in the moment equip us better to handle what life throws at us next? Or do we struggle because we accumulate unfinished business by always preparing for the next thing instead of focusing on the present? Here I was running to calm the anxieties in my head. These boys would have asked me for money if I engaged them because I could see their pals at the traffic lights soliciting cash from motorists. To them, I was a mdosi (wealthy guy) and I have no problems whatsoever in their eyes. Yet I felt they were experiencing levels of contentment that I covet. Our state of existence was on opposite ends at that time. They were enjoying life and I was not. Maybe I would have asked for their joy in exchange for the coins they’d have asked me for. If only that was possible.
That occurrence reminds me of the hit by the Nortious B.I.G – more money more problems. Do we quickly forget our achievements once they happen and start worrying about the next one? And repeat the cycle all over again once we have bagged another goal. it’s a case of new levels new devils. Then I wanted to be at their level. Just to slide and immerse myself fully in the thrill of the moment. It was good clean fun.
Those boys made me wonder if it’s possible to seek new higher levels and keep the devils at a minimum. It became apparent that I’m the poor one compared to those boys as far as living in the moment and appreciating the journey that is life. I am in no way demeaning their challenges but I was envious of them. I need to make a mind-shift to enjoying small pleasures that come my way if this journey of life will be as meaningful as I want it to be.
Many times we drive through life with heavily tinted windows that we miss all the passing beauty outside. We focus only on seeing through the windshield ahead of us. Slow down folks, open your windows and look around as you travel through life this year. The slower we move the more we see. All of a sudden small pleasures will start appearing everywhere. And this time you will be the participant not just a mere observer of others.
PS: Manifest has started off to an encouraging start. I am having my first photo next weekend. Check out the poster on this site. More on that next week.