I am reading West With the Night by Beryl Markham in preparation for a trip to Tanzania, near where she lived and worked for nearly 80 years. What a woman! I was hoping to quote several longer passages from the book but copyright law prevents that for several more decades. Therefore, you’ll just have to obtain your own copy to read a fascinating account of living in the bush among wild animals and local tribesmen; what it was like to be a horsetrainer at age 18; and the details of her time as a bush pilot when there were no runways, no lights below at night for hundreds of miles and no radar. Unlike some current autobiographies, Beryl Markham’s is discreet about the more (ahem) racy parts of her story. Let’s just say that life among the British in Africa was never dull. If you want to read more about that, you’ll have to check that out here in Wikipedia.
Beryl Markham’s attitude toward life, change and moving on is admirable. Here’s one short quotation from this beautiful, thoughtful story: “Life had a different shape; it had new branches and some of the old branches were dead. It had followed the constant pattern of discard and growth that all lives follow. Things had passed, new things had come.”