Ten months have passed since I was last in Ethiopia. The dry ‘winter’ season then was waning; I watched the crops grow from tiny leafy green stalks in to majestic golden sheaths abundant in spikelets, almost as tall a man and oscillating like pendula in the wind.
As the weeks rolled on the crops were harvested, the wheat separated from the chaff in both ceremonial and celebratory manner. The grasses were cut leaving the valleys matted in vibrant yellow, the contrasting red iron-rich soil created dust balls under my running feet, the meandering rivers were an easy crossing as they uncovered their rocky bed.
A long rainy summer season on and the landscape here is now lush and green.
A patchwork of colour with industrious hillside communities tending the fields and preparing for the coming months. The valleys once passable from every direction are covered in soft moist grassland with distinct small pathways only maintained by the locals travelling toward town and children skipping happily to school. They are not quite in the same place as before, I have to rediscover the intricacies of my running playground and re-link trails both old and new.
Knowing the key markers and contours of the landscape this is no problem and there is so much joy in exploration, but hang on a sec greater changes have also occurred? New dirt roads and tracks have been built, pylons errected, houses and mud huts constructed where there once were none.
Addis is a booming African city with a rapidly growing GDP and even over here, to the north of the city the landscape is in flux.
Development is fast, almost as fast as the runners!