Have you ever imagined how many times you could wrap yourself around a gigantic tree, perhaps a baobab tree? No other tree seems to be as prominently installed in the mythical imagination of the western mind. What is bigger? What can compare?
Your entire back pressed against its side. Warmth emanates through your body breathing life into trails of traveling blood. Flip yourself like a coin. Tummy and chest hug smooth bark. Repeat, over and over again. How many times would it take?
For me this mythology was real. I remember what baobab bark felt like and yet this tree still feels like the stuff of fairytales. Part of the reason for this is because it is implanted into my childhood. From my current North American perspective much of that childhood seems like a mythology. There were giant trees, unending desert, unusual grasses and swimming in Okavango tributaries. Yes there was also a small town, where we lived with all amenities available but the memories that pop out are the ones from camping expeditions.
I am leaning against a baobab, my foot resting on its sprawling root. Above me branches reach out in every direction. A tire swing hangs from a lower branch, gently swaying. To my left sits our little blue buckie (truck). For miles ahead of me the bleached Makgadikgadi Pans stretch out; buckles and cracks texture its surface.
After scouring the ground I have returned to rest under this large embracive tree. In my hand, fingers press against little red stones called garnets. In front of me friends are still collecting these small red treasures. That moment ends there. Memory trails off and enters other days filled of other happenings that I almost can’t believe were my own. Memories are very much like dreams, a conglomerate of truth and what you have convinced yourself to be real.