Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Of all the things that can make you sad: Goats.

My sister and I have an uncanny ability to feel saddened by the most random things. Heck, even things that aren't the least bit sad. Say, watching someone sitting on a bench enjoying an ice cream or an elderly person out grocery shopping. Or, as was the case yesterday, a dad coming home from war - in a Christmas ad for Sainsbury's, no less.

As you can tell, it's not necessarily sad things per se, yet stuff like that tends to overwhelm me with emotion and make me heavy-hearted, to the point where my throat tightens and hurts. It's a very silly melancholic strip of DNA to be carrying around, for sure.

Another very specific thing that makes me really sad are goats grazing on sand-covered grass. Luckily, I don't come across that very often, but when Johan and I went to Lake Naivasha, we did. And even though it was a month ago, I still feel it.

The pictures really don't convey how much sand there was in that area, but believe me, in some places you'd suspect a volcano had erupted - that's how covered in sand everything was. All the green was just grey. Or beige. Or whatever color sand is.

There were people and cattle traversing that sandy landscape by foot and hoof. And then there were assholes like Johan and I, whirling all that sand into the air as we sped past them in our car.

But the saddest thing of all, were the grazing goats, whose shepherd, I guess, had nowhere to take them but the side of the road, where all they had to feed on was sand-covered grass as far as the eye could see. And they didn't particularly seem to enjoy it. They were al like: "Must we? Eat this?"

I almost tear up just thinking about it.

Believe me, there are plenty of things in this part of the world to feel sad about, and I'm well aware that the stuff I've seen is nothing compared to some of the true misery that's out there. Johan has shown me pictures from his work trips around this continent, and I tell you, when you look at some of them you immediately understand why people risk their lives to go somewhere better. Because, there's nothing. Truly nothing.

And yet, the bigger picture and the massive problems that threaten the human condition around the world completely evaporate from my radar when I take in the sight of poorly-fed baby goats and their moms. Had my sister been there too, I'm sure we would have downright bawled our eyes out.