My Enchanted Place


“There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again.” ~Elizabeth Lawrence



The continent of Africa is dotted with magnificent waterfalls. Most notably, of course, is
Victoria Falls. Which, I am ashamed to say I have never been to visit. Much less notable, but no less important in my life (and visited quite regularly), is the waterfall hidden in the valley near Brackenhurst Baptist International Conference Center. It has no official name so I hereby christen the site “Bracken Falls” as I think it needs some sort of moniker.

When driving to Brackenhurst from the capital city of Nairobi one ascends from five thousand feet above sea level to seven thousand five hundred feet along Limuru Road where the conference center lies tucked into the rolling highland hills. The entrance is marked by two square whitewashed columns but from there the road twists down a steep incline, slips around the pond in the valley and winds its way back up the opposing incline where Brackenhurst rests sprawled across the hilltop. The pond is simply a resting point for the stream which flows into it from one end of the valley and flows out … under the road … at the opposite end. It is this waterway that creates Bracken Falls farther downstream in the thick of the forest.

From my earliest school age memories I remember making weekly (often daily) pilgrimages to Bracken Falls. I would walk down the winding road that led into Brackenhurst and hang a sharp left onto the steep foot worn path that dropped through the forest and into the valley. Here the stream merely trickled. Part way back up the opposite valley wall I would turn right and maneuver across the forest floor parallel to the stream often pausing to pick up a stray porcupine quill. The sound of the waterfall revealed its existence before I plunged through a final obstacle of brush but it was always there … waiting for me. Small … falling only eight, maybe nine, feet. It was a refuge. I would take a book to read or a journal to write in while I sat. Sometimes I would just sit and listen to the falling water and the occasional overhead monkeys in the trees. I introduced many a new friend to what I felt was my own personal waterfall and there were times that it became more playground and less refuge, but I didn’t mind.

I wonder if my waterfall is still there or if civilization has crept down the valley and consumed it. I hope not. If it is still there I hope that its presence has been passed down by those of us who loved Bracken Falls so that more children have a place in the forest where they can go to sit, read or play in this secret garden … this enchanted place of childhood.

11 comments:

  1. Pretty.

    My cousins and I also had our own special waterfall near my grandma's house in the country.

    We stopped going after we saw what looked like a python in the pond one day.

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  2. That was the good thing about living in Tigoni ... no snakes! :o)

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  3. Beautiful and bittersweet, this is a lovely and magical landscape you've shared. One that lies somewhere in the valley of Memory. Thank you so much for the visit to this enchanted place.

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  4. pat ~ Thank you!

    meaghan ~ You may see one or two more headers before I choose one I like best. I designed this one this morning. Thanks!

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  5. Great header Beth!

    I am near my childhood space, it is now fully developed and doesn't exist at all as it was.

    Everytime I see a climbing tree, I think of you and your post on that subject back in your youthful grounds!

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  6. jim ~ Thank you! I wonder still if that tree is still standing. I must find a way to make a trip back home sometime in the near future.

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  7. That sounds like a beautiful place, Beth.

    When I read the title of your post, I imagined 'the garden' to be a state of mind – innocence and hope, I guess.

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  8. It was beautiful. No, I have no such place in my mind ... there is WAY too much going on in there for me to find refuge.

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  9. You and me both, Beth... methinks it would be nice to do a bit of mind-weeding, eh? But where to start?

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"Stranger, if you passing meet me and desire to speak to me, why should you not speak to me? And why should I not speak to you?" ~Walt Whitman

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