Best run of my life
Sunday, September 6th. Kili is rapped in warm sunrise light. A giraffe outside my house let me drive few yards way from her. I am going up into the Chyulu, for my weekly long run. We reach the road which runs on the western slope of the hills. We are at the edge of the cloud base. It is chilly. Parashi does not feel the cold and he rushes off with his gazelle’s sprint. Anna and I start running gently, today I am trying to run 16 or 18 miles.
Few minutes and we think we are in a Monet painting. We are not starting hallucinating, we are enraptured by the iridescent colors around us: we are in the mist of the clouds, but they end where we are running. Above us is dark, below the road golden plains underneath us are warmly colored by the early sun rays, Kili shines on the horizon. Monet keeps painting around us: a tree has a pink blanket with metallic blu spots. When we get closer the Super Starlings fly out in tens, leaving the flowering tree naked. A herd of Impala runs next to us, on the left; in the valley to the right Giraffes browse curiously looking at this silly runners.
We run few hundred yards and three Zebras run along with us, climbing into the hills.
A moment to look at the leopard and honey badger footprints (just to let me thinking I am going to be the fierce honey badger in NY, trying to finish the marathon, no matter what), and a big herd of Elands run in front of me, some jumping high.
I have been running for an hour and a half, Parashi has already passed me, on its way back to the starting point. I keep going, toward the end of the Chyulu, to the end of the chain of the hills. I reach its ending, where a breathtaking view of Tsavo let me see we do leave on a round planet: the clouds, with their typically African flat base, are disappearing BELOW the horizon. I can see for at least a hundred miles.
I turn and start running back, I feel no fatigue. The Monet brush keeps me company, the zebras over the hills look patiently over my run. I see lions footprints and I think that just 30 years ago, I could not have done this run: the many rhinos living in the Chyulu would have tossed me many times! I think of the lions, of the threats they face. Monet is gone. I think of the dying Africa.
I think of Lucrezia, my daughter who is 7, of Jacopo who is 2, of Lorenzo, not yet 4 months old: will my daughter and sons see lions where I am now running?
I do not know, but I am running and running and running, and I will keep running, to make sure I will do all I can to make them seeing lions.
Monet is back, sunbirds fly next to me, with their bright color. An Augur buzzard cheers my run. Three Eagles play in the blu sky. Monet is back.
I reach the car, I am exhausted, I have run 3 hours and 8 minutes, but I have rarely been this happy and this smiling.