The veins of earth are much like our own. They pulse with life. Some flow faster and harder whilst others are more slow and hold less pressure. From above one can see the these veins; veins as roads for cars, veins as railway lines and here at Londolozi, veins as animal paths through forest and grasslands. All of them have one thing in common; when overloaded they begin to break down. The essence of that is also true of the veins of our bodies.
On one of my first game drives at Londolozi something stuck out for me, something so simple yet so beautiful. Almost all the animals – no matter the species – followed the same game paths through the bush. Much like veins, these pathways weave and zig-zag around obstructions like trees and are worn down by frequent pressure. These paths, where grass has been worn away, also make their way under thickets and down along dry river beds. It was never a question of “whose pathway is this”, but rather “how many different animal tracks can you spot along it? ”
Giraffe, zebra, impala, leopard, and – if the path appeared wide enough – hippo tracks could all be seen. Many use these trails to make their way through the wild, almost like a map. The animals flow peacefully from one waterhole to another. These paths never appear loaded; no traffic jams or impatient queues. Even the steep banks that have been favoured and turned into wide, freshly churned slopes where large and small stumble down into river beds, are free of congestion.
In our bodies there are two large arteries and veins close to our hearts where nutrients and water flows, made to hold more pressure and greater mass. The same way that roads are made wider for more traffic and efficient traveling.
But too much pressure on trails or highways and they will begin to crack. It’s only a matter of time before destruction big or small will occur. In our bodies pressure can come from many sources, the busyness of city life, ill health, family needs and the underestimated effect of stress. Our health seems to be there and then when it suddenly isn’t, we wonder why those veins and maps of nerves are tired and beginning to feel worn out.
Animals have their own preventative methods for avoiding too much strain and to ensure they stay healthy. A rhino wards off sunburn and biting insects by visiting a mud wallow to roll about in, and keeps its skin clear of parasites by rubbing up against big old trees whist being visited by oxpeckers who get into all those hard to reach places. This is much like a good day of bush pampering; at Londolozi we believe you should experience it too. A massage is our way of relieving you of life’s pressures, getting the blood moving with fresh oxygen and nutrients, that can finally reach all those hungry cells.
Massaging the surface of our bodies reaches down to the unseen capillaries where the intricate system of circulation begins, those beautiful woven passageways linking everything together. Nature has a way of showing us how we balance; we are after all from the earth. We share so much with the wildlife at Londolozi: the need for watering holes, the need for social gatherings, and the desperation in the anticipation for the rain to bring lush grass; and yet not one animal takes the same journey as another.
Our bodies are full of their very own game-paths, winding and weaving their way to keep us going. We need to remind ourselves to nurture them, cherish them and make sure they never fray.