Monday, 24 June 2013

Summer living | Vive l'été

I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills. The Equator runs across these highlands, a hundred miles to the north, and the farm lay at an altitude of over six thousand feet. In the day-time you felt that you had got high up, near to the sun, but the early mornings and evenings were limpid and restful, and the nights were cold.
These are the first sentences in the book Out of Africa by Karen Blixen (1885-1962), which I read many years ago, too young to really understand this incredible woman and her experiences in Africa. I intend to read it again this summer.

During the weekend I was Africa obsessed - there is no other way to describe this feeling that sometimes takes a hold of me. Blame Karen Blixen, scenes from the film Out of Africa (1985), and friends of mine who have travelled all over East Africa on many occasions. I found myself starting to collect photos on the desktop and it wasn't until later that I realised that most of them where from the Masai Mara National Reserve in the south-west part of Kenya. Even the Vogue editorial, featuring actress Keira Knightley, was shot there, in the Cottar's 1920s Safari Camp and its surroundings. In her journal for the magazine she wrote: "Cottar's 1920s Safari Camp is like something out of a fairy tale. Totally in the wild. White tents, huge four-poster beds with draped white mosquito nets. All the furniture is like something from Out of Africa."

There it was again: Out of Africa. I thought to myself, why not make a different SUMMER LIVING | VIVE L'ÉTÉ where the theme is Africa, or the Masai Mara, safari style and, of course, Blixen?

And that's what I did.

How beautiful were the evenings of the Masai Reserve when after sunset we arrived at the river or the water-hole where we were to outspan, travelling in a long file. The plains with the thorn-trees on them were already quite dark, but the air was filled with clarity - and over our heads, to the west, a single star which was to grow big and radiant in the course of the night was now just visible, like a silver point in the sky of citrine topaz. The air was cold to the lungs, the long grass dripping wet, and the herbs on it gave out their spiced astringent scent. In a little while on all sides the cicadas would begin to sing. The grass was me, and the air, the distant invisible mountains were me, the tired oxen were me. I breathed with the slight night-wind in the thorn-trees.
from the chapter 'A War-Time Safari' in Karen Blixen's Out of Africa

photo credit:
01 + 03 + 05: Sigrun Thorsteinsdottir / 02: Eric Lafforgue / 04 + 06 + 09: Arthur Elgort for Vogue US, June 2007 | actress Keira Knightley styled by Grace Coddington / 07 + 10: Travel+Style Magazine (Cottar's 1920s Safari Camp) / 08: Singita/Pinterest

9 comments:

  1. I am dreaming again....and it's all your fault :)

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    1. fault is good ... dreaming of Africa is goooooood ;-)

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  2. I think I could write about the safari style and Africa the way I imagine it from everything I've read about it every single week. Such a romantic post!

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    1. I'm a hopeless romantic when it comes to Sub Saharan Africa ;-)

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  3. I seriously was so obsessed after I read Out of Africa. Just this feeling of romantic nostalgia for the land, the era...I'd love to go someday.

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  4. I've never been to Africa before but after your post I feel ready for safari!!!

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  5. This post has the perfect feeling for a hot summer afternoon like today.. Thanks Lisa for this visual travel! xoxo

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  6. Dear Lisa, when I read the first words, I heard the voice of Meryl in my ears, I saw Out of Africa too many times lately, but never get enough of it. I did not read the book, but what a wonderful idea! You always post beautiful things, Lisa and even if I have not a special attraction towards Africa, now a thought has come into my mind, why not?! :*

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  7. what a brilliant idea. I've read the book when I was way too young too. I think it's time to read it again. not that there is any sign of summer. or maybe because there is no sign of summer here...

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