Sunday, November 10, 2013

Desert bound.

I left a brooding Cape Town on Wednesday - dark clouds draped over the mountains.
On the way to the airport, the shuttle passed oak trees of an impossible green - their bright new leaves not yet turned leathery.

The familiar feelings of travel: trepidation, wonder about the unknown, flutters of excitement.

The tall man I have to leave behind. He sends me modern day love letters that need no words.



In the tiny embryo jet, surrounded by Namibians, I listened to their harsh German sliding easily into smooth Afrikaans. The large man next to me folded himself up like a buddha, resting his head against the seat in front of him for the entire bumpy flight.


From the air the earth looked scorched - shades of red and black and brown. Striations like long legged spiders and dried seaweed or the whorls inside ears.

At Upington International Airport, a sleepy little place, the plane drops you at the door. At 11 in the morning it's already 36C, a few ragged clouds far up in the sky.

Our schedule has been relentless - the Cape Town days passed in a whirl of ballrooms and war offices and apartments and hotel rooms - we dressed Berlin and Cairo and Mombasa.




Here in the desert we build African villages and tented camps. I have only one 8 ton truck to dip into and we packed it to the brim. In the nights preceding I had dreams of making forgotten things with cardboard and scissors.


The distances are relentless, cellphone reception is scanty. Water and ice are paramount. Often I am alone when things need to be done. At dawn one morning, I taught myself how to operate the tail lift of the truck. The farmer's son said to me later: My mother always says, "if you can read, you can go to the moon."


3 comments:

tanja wllmot said...

Ohhh for the flat horizon, the reddish sands. Upington. The dry air, the big skies. My hart verlang so 'n bietjie jong.

But I also hear ya - sounds like hard graft ma'm. Nevertheless, you find us wondrous things along the way, and for that I am grateful.

Marie said...

I want to be your shadow.

the sourcerer said...

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