“What’s your favourite colour?” asks my daughter. “What’s your favourite film?” asks a friend. The experts no doubt will discover in the near future that there’s a part of the brain where ‘favourite things’ are logged and that mine has been damaged. My brain refuses to settle on just one favourite thing. Instead the windmills of my mind go into overdrive. So what’s my favourite location? My bed, a hot bath, Church, the Indian Ocean, the top of the Drakensberg, any room with a spectacular view or my mother’s veranda. “But which is my favourite?” I enquire of my whirring brain. Part of the problem is I’m so spoilt for choice. Raised in South Africa with it’s incredible diverse beauty, living in remote rural villages in Mozambique with their unique ‘other-worldliness’ and then living in a 17th Century Farmhouse in France for a year. Also do I choose where I feel safest and sanest or rather where I’m inspired to ‘trip the light fantastic’. “Choose!” I yell and the windmills stop at ‘Waterfall in Gurue’ .
Gurue is a remote rural village in the Zambezia province of Mozambique where I lived with my new husband for just over two years. From our veranda there we could see the distant dazzle of the waterfall as it nestled in the midst of a mountain range. To get to the waterfall we would drive past the ruins of an old Tea Plantation Factory and then nearly disembowel ourselves and our 4X4 as we bumped our way over the rocky track that runs past the waterfall. It was better to walk and leave the car by the factory. The spectacular view from the waterfall reward enough for the effort required to get there.
I would sit on the pinkie grey dry rocks right at the edge of the sheer drop over which the water plunged and drink in the view stretching out to the distant horizon with its layers of mountains, hinting of other worlds. Here I felt truly myself, all neurosis wiped away. On hot days I would brave the refreshing plunge into the dark pools of water above the waterfall and take refuge in the shade provided by the green, leafy tropical trees scattered all about. On colder days the sun struck against the exposed rock providing comforting warmth. I liked to leap across the pathway of water as it made its way over the rocks before plunging down. I loved feeling so footloose and fancy free. A feeling shared by Godot, our dog.
Yes it’s hard to say which was my favourite aspect of my favourite location. It was great having access to water on those hot, hot dry October days. It didn’t feel quite so hot and humid up there either, the air felt fresher . It was also usually a fairly private place to have a picnic though occasionally we became a ‘reality TV show, for a group of children looking like they belonged in an Oliver Twist movie rather than real life. Perhaps my most favourite part was the magical ambiance, the feeling of being in a sacred place which is why I still go there in my mind when I want to be still and know that there is God.