I’ve always loved water.
Not bath water or rain, although I have nothing against those.
I mean the natural water bodies, that look so placid one minute and rise up angrily the next. It’s a marvel to watch water spring up from inside a rock, or from underneath the ground.
I live in the Eastern region of Nigeria, which is bounded by the River Niger. The River Niger is one of the largest rivers in Africa, and is a tributary of the Atlantic. You’d think I’d be able to go look at it any time I want. Sadly, my country overlooked natural resources and tourism prospects in favor of crude oil, with disastrous economic results.
The kitchen of my aunt’s restaurant is right on the bank of the River Niger. The first time I visited, I spent most of my time sitting on the back steps, so close to the water that I could almost fall in. A dredging company just bought the land so that they’d pump sand out of the river bed and sell it to construction companies.The closest I can get to the River Niger now is driving across the bridge that spans it.
The air around the sea is different, cleaner. I close my eyes and inhale deeply.
Two great rivers, Niger and Benue, meet at a confluence in Lokoja. The warmer Niger and the colder Benue rivers clash, creating visible turbulence. I’ve always wanted to see it. Even now, driving through Lokoja with the aid of Google Maps, I can’t find it. If I had anything to say about it, it would be a beautiful resort with giant billboards, so no one would miss it.
When I fix my eyes on that point where the water and the sky seem to meet, I’m in awe at the wonder of Nature. For a little while, I feel insignificant in the workings of the universe.
In feeling small, I feel free.