Friday, October 11, 2013


I have always felt very lucky to have my birthday in the spring. Born in a different hemisphere - an autumn baby, I would be someone else.

Imagine spring in one of the most beautiful places in the world, the West Coast of South Africa. The dunes and the meadows swell and ripple in purple, orange and yellow.

The rustling in the bush behind you is, invariably, a tortoise.

Although we were far away from the city, a birthday cake appeared, as if by magic. Chocolate and beet, all the way from a town called Darling.

And a leaning tower of gifts from my darling. Cold shivers as I opened the pages of Vivian Maier's Out of the Shadows.  Books, wonderful books. Ancient plant lore. Antique bottles...

And yet, at night, I lie awake.
I toss, I turn, I fidget and I fret.
I am a bad bedfellow.
Sleep would turn me into a well behaved stranger.

I heard a lone owl hoot. And finally, when a cool lagoon breeze slipped through the window, bringing with it the perfume of the wet veldt, I drifted away for a scant hour.

At Verlorenvlei, I lay inhaling deep breaths of the balmy thatched roof. Outside, the sweet chirruping of koots. Far away, the mournful toot of a long train carrying iron ore from Sischen to Saldanha. The melodious trilling of a fiery-necked nightjar, awake like me, but singing about it.

Splashes in the dark.

In the pale morning light, I cast a sleepy eye at the pelicans bobbing past. Bright flashes of red - bishops dancing through the reeds.

And I thanked the universe, for coffee in particular.


La Guardesa said...

I am weeping silent tears,gentle tears of remembrance and longing, I have been away from 'mi tierra' far too long. You can take the girl out of Africa but you cannot take Africa out of the girl!
Sourcerer you bring it to me,
Thank you

the sourcerer said...

Dear La Guardesa.
I remember, a long time ago, reading something that touched me in such a way that I thought: I want to write like that.

So I try.

thank you !

Marie said...

...that nightjar.

Happy, late birthday Lily xxx

the sourcerer said...

thank you Marie!

tanja wllmot said...

La Guardesa says the unsayable. It is so. Your post is sublime but in an aching way for your London correspondent. Rustling of tortoises in the spring veld and nightjars and the vlei indeed.