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."


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...