There is an ancient saying that no man knows what he is and what he values until he has been tested in loneliness. It was certainly true for me as far as Africa was concerned. I have no idea how much Africa meant to me until one day in the recent war.
I was lying alone in a Japanese prison cell, in great pain and shievering with a malarial ague. A sentry had just left me with the announcement that my head was to be cut off in the morning. I was so exhausted and in such pain taht I recall feeling little else than relief having come to some finality, and I fell quickly into a trance of fatigue. But hardly had I done so when a flash of lightning flared at the smaller window, followed by a sustained, solemn, and majestic roll of thunder; and then, down came the rain. It fell so fast and thick that it muffled the glare of lightning and released instead into the darkness of my cell a soft but imperative purple, while on the 20,000-foot volcano at whose base my prison stood, roll after roll of thunder crushed like the drum of a great orchestra performing a symphony of defied and defeated fate.
I was awake at once and not in prison but far away in Africa.
"Look," said the lightning.
"Listen," said the thunder. The Japanese are not omnipotent. Here is a sample of great things beyond their control.
For an hour or more, I listened to the storm with all thought of the morning gone from my mind, with my heart in Africa.