IT HAS NOT BEEN EASY following California Gov. Jerry Brown Jr. on his 10-day vacation in Liberia and Kenya. It was not even easy to follow Mr. Brown's announcement of the event at the outset, when he said he would be accompained by "a friend," but, when asked who that friend might be, responded: "I can't tell you. That's of no major importance." Now, of course, the world knows the friend to be Linda Ronstadt, who certainly is of major importance. And Miss Ronstadt's importance has become even more major of late, for she was reported to have been "in a snit" after Mr. Brown turned their holiday toward politics by meeting with Kenya's President Daniel arap Moi in Nairobi, and presenting his plan to create a Peace Corps to promote solar energy.

Exactly why Mr. Brown decided to present his solar Peace Corps idea to the president of Kenya adds yet one more piquant, if confusing element to this adventure. And then there is the perpetual question, which hovers like a misdirected condor over the safari, of whether or not Mr. Brown and Miss Ronstadt will marry-a question made more urgent by Miss Ronstadt's recent "snit." Things evidently were happier for the couple earlier in their journey in Liberia, where Mr. Brown held hands with Miss Ronstadt, who presented him with a snake as a birthday gift. Now, however, your guess is as good as ours.

There are cynics who suggest that Mr. Brown undertook his safari to recoup publicity losses of the past few weeks. Besides several setbacks in his home state, there was, and is, Mr. Brown's often-set-back plan to balance the federal budget by constitutional amendment. (He has several plans). As recently as April 3, Mr. Brown had to cancel a speech on this subject in New Hampshire at the last minute, because the state Democrats did not want to hear him. Three days later, he announced his African trip, which is where he, and we, are now.

None of this really explains the safari, but we will continue to stay alert. It is possible the trip has something to do with an answer Mr. Brown gave Johnny Carson on "The Tonight Show," when asked if he would seek the presidency in 1980." "I believe the job seeks the man," said Mr. Brown. "Whether it's pleasant or uncomfortable is not the point. Sometimes you know inside."

We know.