Arid is not the word you would first associate with this picture-obviously because you see a man (a gorgeous man) pouring water on a Meryl Streep’s head. Nothing arid about that-at first glance.
For those of you not old enough to know what movie this is from (I was one when this movie was released ok) it is a classic that you need to watch. Right now. It is called ‘Out of Africa.’ A movie that was based on a true story about a woman deciding she wants more out of her life, and moves to Africa to tend to a coffee plantation in southern Kenya. She wrote a book documenting her life there which later became this cinematic masterpiece.
Karen Blixen was part of high-society back in Denmark. She had a good life. She was very wealthy-yet she was unhappy. One day, she decided to abandon the comfortable life she knew, and threw herself into the scorching, sweltering African sun.
Her life changed overnight. Now faced with real-life dangers from both man and nature, and the constant uncertainty of living in the African plains, she had to toughen up quickly. She had to face a lion, and trust that she would be okay. And so she was.
My first instinct when I have to face the lions in my life is to run and hide. But it’s always fruitless because if you run, the lion will outrun you and eventually catch you. Sure you could hide up in a tree somewhere and not be noticed for awhile. But you’re still going to need to come down for water at some point. When you take a risk and face your fears, that is precisely when the cold life-giving water will gush out of all the deserts you dwell in.
She took a chance, and was rewarded with profound happiness that she had never experienced in her previous comfortable life. In the photo, we see a woman who is full of joy as she’s having water dumped on her head in a dirty African river. What you don’t see is the landscape around her is quite literally dangerous from all angles and intensified by the heat of the sun. This illustrates the type of joy that can only come from facing your fear, and knowing that you will always be okay-no matter what.
My dream (for real) is to recreate this photo with me in the same river in Kenya. Now I just need to find someone who loves me enough to dump water on my head.