Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Knee-deep in pollen.


The West Coast is a-bloom.



Even the graveyard at Churchaven - normally a sandy, arid place - is covered in lacy flowers.

We walked the marshes. I was hoping to find a Starfish Iris and I did. The plant I'd seen once before has multiplied. The strange flowers have a deep, smoky vanilla perfume.

We were caught in a downpour and it was worth it, for the smell of a fresh, salty marsh.

The air is filled with birdsong and wing beats.


It's not unusual to see the tall man lying on his stomach on the ground, or with his head in a bush. He has introduced me to a different universe...

A world where there is so much diversity,
that surely colour doesn't matter.

Perhaps it's more about size - to eat, or be eaten.


There is the hell-bent frenzy for pollen and nectar.





Some lonely contemplation.

Contortion and hairy gatherings...

... and a whole lot of fooling around.

It is heaven, on earth.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Every story has an ending.

The past three weeks have felt like months.
The days have not been long enough for the mountains of work to be done. The nights too short for sleep.

We've criss-crossed this land, driving vast distances and experiencing huge differences in weather and culture.
On the border of Lesotho, where it is dry and icy,
a kind soul left reluctant blossoms in my room.


I fell in love with the jungle that is the South Coast.
I loved not knowing what was around the next corner.

The hidden doorways...


Peeks into gloomy cupboards.










The gentle decay of beautiful things.


I loved the feeling of our sets before the crew arrived, before the chaos and the disarray.



I loved the long-suffering Indian staff of these large Colonial mansions, following us and closing doors and windows "for the monkeys". The vervets regularly pelted me with date stones as I walked beneath the palms. 

The unexpected pleasure of finding zebras in the parking lot.








I'll miss the huge flowering trees.
I'll miss the smell of burnt sugar that hangs heavily in the humid air. The human cries of the hornbills. The clicking of fruit bats and falling asleep to the lullaby of nightjars.

The leopard orchids that I cosset at home here grow in trees - lush and abundant.

We are in harsher climes now.
I'll miss these arid places too. 
The smell of raindrops falling on dusty leaves.


I'll miss the silent men from the anti-poaching unit who guarded us while we worked at the game farm. They have seen the worst atrocities imaginable. After many days, they granted me this photo - along with rare and beautiful smiles.

I travel home today and I am ready. The tall man has sent me pictures of a lush Spring waiting. 



Farewell Natal.