Island Blog – Long Shadows

I love the long shadows, when the sun drops down a peg or two to welcome in the evening. The change of light notices me things I never see in the daylight. Cobbles of ground, unseen for hours, suddenly become my focus. That line of stones, the lean of that tree, the way the land takes in the silhouettes and shows me leaves against a concrete wall or stripes created, just for now, from the picket fencing around the deck. All day long I was oblivious to all of this. This beauty. This snatches at my thinking that, now, thinks me.

They have gone out for a meeting, leaving me with a hot dog and four game-on cats. One of the aft-mentioned who knows fine well she must remain behind the wire curtain, never to wander alone in this land of predators, zipped like a fly between my feet and headed for the bush. I yelled, I grabbed her by the tail and she lashed back at me, claws finely tuned. Never, ps, grab a cat by its tail and think you are in control. You aren’t. She went and I, panicked, shaken, and…….oh no…..I had left the wire curtain open a touch in my dash for a feline tail and another had ventured out like a press photographer to get the best shot. It was ungainly, ugly and very scary. If that cat had gone, she wouldn’t have seen the night through and I, well I would have died a thousand deaths, unlike her one.

I was reassured. This cat, saved from the street will never run for the bush, nor the hills. All she did was to cower beneath the decking to re-organise her tail feathers. A few soothing calls from her saviours and she was back, safe and sound.

This evening, all creatures that should be inside are inside and those out there, well who knows? it is early yet, still light enough to see the long shadows, still early enough to watch a spotted bush snake glide across the wooden slats and over the edge into a darkling safety. Still early enough to watch a family of warthog trot comically across the path and to disappear into the bush. I always hear Eddie Murphy’s voice when seeing warthogs. Their trot is, well, comedy on legs. I wouldn’t want to mess with those tusks, nonetheless.

Each morning more green appears on the Acacia trees and today I walked beneath a full-blown Jacaranda and smelled the honey petal fragrance. I had to stop, to breathe it in, this Spring that isn’t Spring for me and yet it is. Travelling from one season on a trajectory of cold and ice into one that is just waking to the warmth of Spring is weird. It only took two days in a plane or two, no, three, encased in metal and aircon and other peoples’ exhalations of air, trusting, letting go, watching a movie, sipping coffee, wine, water, smiling, endlessly smiling, even if the smile lost its elevatory energy at times. And now I am good with spiders, snakes, whatever, because I am here, right now, watching the pond shadows lengthen and waiting, as we all are, for the absolute dark of an African night.

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