Beauty in the dry season (or, last Monday was a good day to be at Victoria Falls)

I have previously posted a Monday travel blog on Victoria Falls, with photos showing its full capacity and beauty at peak season, along with the abundance of rainbows dancing through the water both by day and night.

View from the Rainbow Bridge   July 2013 / December 2014
View from the Rainbow Bridge December 2014 / July 2013

Visiting Victoria Falls at the moment, at the end of a long, late dry season, is a very different experience. Some people even told us not to bother when we were in southern Africa last week. Because on the Zambian side of the falls there is hardly any water, and on the Zimbabwe side, perhaps 10% of the maximum flow.

Zambian side of Victoria Falls July 2013 / December 2014
Zambian side of Victoria Falls December 2014 / July 2013

But I’m very glad we still had the opportunity to visit. Because there is a unique and fascinating beauty in the dry season. It is different, but equally worthwhile.

Zam falls

 

The contours of the gorges become much clearer when there is no water to obscure them from view.

Zam falls 2

The colours of the water and the rocks are seen in a different light.

Looking back to Zim

 

From the air, you can get even closer for your bird’s eye view.*

Sideways air view

 

The dimensions of the place are easier to make out and understand.

Gorge close up

And of course there is still water rushing over about one quarter of the falls … and its scarcity makes the sight and feel of its cool spray even more precious.

Zim falls

Because there was less water and therefore less danger, we had access to lookouts that are closed most of the year round, giving unique perspectives closer to the falls.

Lookout

 

And for the really brave (or crazy) there was an opportunity to swim in places that are inaccessible most of the year round.

Devils pool

 

And I was reminded that there is beauty in the dry seasons of life too.

Close up falls

 

A Facebook friend commented on one of my photos asking if there was a drought. No, I replied, it’s just the dry season. It comes around every year. There is no expectation that the Falls will look the same year round.

Gorge view

 

It makes me wonder why so often we seem to expect that our lives will look the same as those of others around us. Just because we do not appear to have what they have does not mean we are in a drought. Whether it is relationships, money, jobs, status, experiences, lifestyle … it is too easy to judge ourselves and others by what we do not have. But we are in our own season and I wonder if we look closely whether we can see and celebrate the unique beauty of where we are right now.

Rockface

What others perceive as a lack may in fact be the very thing that provides us with unique opportunities or perspectives. It may be that we grow more, and we certainly grow differently, in different seasons.

Panorama

As just one example, I’m currently single and perhaps other people look at my life and think there is a “drought”! But this season has brought me all kinds of incredible opportunities to serve and learn and grow (and yes, travel) that might not have been possible had my circumstances been different.

River view

And I wonder if part of the secret to contentment is learning to appreciate the beauty of times that might at first glance appear “dry.” Because in the end, as a follower of Jesus, I truly believe I lack nothing because I have Christ. And so I can learn to be content whether I appear to have everything or to have nothing. And that’s the best kind of beauty of all.

Cataract view

 

* A very generous anonymous supporter of our mission team provided for us to have the incredible experience of flying over the Falls in a helicopter, which was a wonderful gift.

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7 thoughts on “Beauty in the dry season (or, last Monday was a good day to be at Victoria Falls)

  1. A thoughtful and encouraging post Melinda. I visited Victoria Falls from the Zimbabwe side in 1993, but we only saw it from the ground. I was fascinated to see your aerial photographs. Wet or dry, it is an awe-inspiring place.

    Like

  2. I just read your blog, and it is so true that others may look and see God’s judgement, as Job’s friends and the facebook post I told you about, when in reality it is God’s season and opportunity for us to draw closer when other things are stripped away.

    Like

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