December 30 2012. I got tired of Lagos hustle and decided to go somewhere far, ordered and quiet, to think about many things and put pen to paper. I chose Igbeti in Oyo State. Igbeti is commonly known as the marble city, a town rich in mineral resources, beautifully formed rocks and interesting landscapes. The weather is always cool, and it gets much colder during the harmattan season. On my first day, I did a solo exploration of the town, trying to understand the little town before I would be guided through it. It was worth every minute, it is really a photographer’s paradise. On the second day we organised another trip with my friend Niyi and a photographer’s apprentice who doubled as our guide, he also brought along his dog. We were going to climb Oke Iyamopo. I did not eat or drink before the trip, brought no food or drink in my bag pack. We started our ascent, on reaching a fair height; I was exhausted and would not move anymore. I lied flat on the rock and suddenly remembered I had a terrible fear of heights. I felt like shitting, was hungry, afraid and tired at the same time. I could not go up or down, I just lied lazily on Iyamopo, my companions were terribly shocked and did not know how to handle me. Now to the dog.
The dog was watching my body language, it stayed back, being very cautious, and studying what was happening. Dogs, I discovered are intelligent animals. Our guide was holding my camera because I was a mess at this point, he took a picture of me and Niyi with the dog in the background, it is an ugly but maybe a good picture. The dog kept assessing the situation, and unexpectedly; this dog with so much determination ran up with a kind of “now you see me” air. With deep sense of shame I got my second wind, I stood up, my guide encouraging me to take deep breaths and look back how far we had come. I followed the guy’s instructions and we continued our climb. They both made jest of me for the rest of the day.
Recently I went through all the pictures to discover I had documented the dog’s ascent appreciably. I remember being told it was its first. I intended only to climb a mountain and take pictures, but I had also documented a dog’s first climb. It is tricky how we unconsciously do what we had not intended consciously. I was taught in JSS 1 integrated science class by Mr Aramide that the brain cannot be depended upon, I looked at him and thought, is this what I’ve come all the way from Ibadan to Ogbomosho to learn, that I can’t trust my own brain? Well, it’s been 21 years and I think he was right, there is so much happening in the fields of conscious and unconscious awareness, the mind gathers, organises and interprets information in very complex ways. Its only with time that the dots connect. I did not know the dog interested me; I only wanted pictures of landscapes. I don’t know the dog’s name but we made many good pictures and I had a great time in Igbeti. We signed our names on Oke Iyamopo, the dog stayed still and silent while we scratched Iyamopo’s skin. Maybe that is a dog's manner of celebrating conquests.