The mountains were covered in smoke from the wild fires. Realizing this, my friends were somewhat disappointed that this would distort my view of Stanley's breathtaking mountain peaks. Somehow, I was able to look past the smoke and almost did not understand what they were saying because I was in awe at how perfectly the trees were aligned with the mountains and how softly the warm breeze whisked through the leaves, like I could have sworn they were whispering something. I suddenly went silent and almost shed a tear of happiness from the beauty created by the waves on the lake. It came to my attention that perhaps "selective hearing" is indeed a real concept when I ignored the roaring sound of jet skis and rather concentrated on the melodic sound the birds were making, as if orchestrated in perfection. I had that, "I wish my life was being filmed" feeling because that was definitely a moment I never wish to forget for the rest of my life.
I was fascinated by how everyone we passed as we walked down to the beach at Redfish greeted us with a bright smile like they could feel the joy I was feeling being surrounded by such beauty. I felt like a little child again, tempted to simply drop my bags on the ground and run to the sand and build a castle, but I refrained. In as much as I wanted to swim on our first day there, I couldn't because the sun had sort of hidden behind the clouds and really, I was not complaining because I decided to rather sit on the dock and embrace that moment of sheer peace. I had never seen anything like that.
We camped out and took a stroll at night by the beach where I got a little scared from talks about a bear appearing from the bushes and tearing us all apart. Nonetheless, ghost stories around the camp fire while roasting marshmallows highy fascinated me. It drizzled on our first night and in our favour cleared some smoke from the air. We were thus able to see the blue sky and the mountains peaks properly on our second day there. I also got to swim and lie down under the scorching heat of the sun for the first time in a few months.
The weekend in Stanley has definitely relaxed me and has me ready to go into the new academic year with a positive attitude, because there is no way I could have seen such beauty and not be ready to do good for myself and for others. Nature simply inspired me. I fell in love with the beloved Stanley and am looking forward to a good 3 year relationship before I graduate.
Keneuoe Mphutlane is a sophomore from Lesotho majoring in International Political Economy