It has often been said that the human race would be happier as a civilization if it reverted back to primitive life. Maybe that is because everything would seem much simpler or perhaps because there would be less things going on to make us unhappy. Either way, I do believe that getting away from technology and all its conveniences is helpful at times.
Two summers ago I was with five friends walking down a dirt path. We could hear the roar of water crashing from a great height about a mile away. The jungle on either side of the dirt path was full of luscious shades of green. As we walked the sound of the crashing water grew louder and louder until finally it felt like we were in the middle of a tropical storm.
As we turned the corner there was a small concrete ticket booth that had seen its fair share of seasons. An old African lady awaited us, more so our money than us. After we paid her we entered Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, Africa, also known as the smoke that thunders. The falls are one mile wide and three hundred sixty feet high, and absolutely the most amazing thing on the face of the earth.
As I caught my first glimpse of Victoria Falls, the only thing I wanted to do was run as hard as I could and jump as far as I could over the edge only to simply free fall to my death in the majestic waterfall. The last pieces of the sun were still coming over the horizon putting an unreal tint to the water and the only thought on my mind, the only desire in my life at that very moment, was to leap in. I did not care about buying wooden animal carvings in the market, I did not care about taking my first shower in three weeks, or finally washing my socks and the future certainly held no value to me. My deepest desire at that very moment was to jump.
There are no guardrails at Victoria Falls, there are no concrete paths, no warning signs about possible wildlife, and no tour guides. Basically, the waterfall is about as simple and primitive as you can get. It is nature, in all its might, hitting you in the face. Man’s technology does not exist there, nor does it compare. More emotions are experienced across the river from the waterfall than can be described. You are absolutely terrified, unbelievably excited, shocked, and held in awe, not mention completely soaked all in a single moment.
Imagine any waterfall you have seen camping or hiking and multiply it by ten thousand and you might come close to what Victoria Falls is like. Water is spraying you in the face. You can see a rainbow every time you turn your head and the sound of the water is overbearing. You can see hippos in the distance down the river that leads to falls and you can feel the depth of the canyon bidding you to jump.
As my friends and I walked along the path, staring for what seemed like hours as tons and tons of gallons of water gushed over the edge, no one said a word. This place was too holy to speak. There was something sacred that Victoria Falls was reaching out to tell us.
Finally, the silence was broken as one of the girls gave out a tremendous scream. Down the path a good twenty feet was a group of baboons. They were playing in the trees, throwing sticks, and more importantly, standing in the middle of the path. The first thought that went through all of our minds was all the frightening stories we had heard on our trip to Africa about baboons killing people when they felt threatened. We immediately backed away and discussed our plan. The only plan was simply to wait, terrified of what would happen if the baboons got angry with us.
Eventually, they gave us enough room to cross the path. Thank goodness they moved because the baboons were, it seemed, guarding the best view of the falls. There was a rocky outcrop on the cliff where you could look down directly in the river running below. This had to be the closest you could get to the waterfall. From here you could almost see the entire waterfall. The scary t