Island Blog – All of a Sudden

Writing this title tells me that Sudden has turned into a noun. I like that. How versatile it must be if you are a word to be able to traverse the grammatical genres. I employ nouns as verbs and adjectives as trampolines from which anything lighter than a giraffe can effortlessly bounce off into a sentence, landing just wherever it pleases.

Talking of giraffes…….yesterday evening I was sat sitting on the stoep, glancing from time to time at the longing shadows and feeling the sun soften into a caress (having attempted excoriation since 9 am), when something made me look up. And up. And up. A huge male giraffe was heading my way. His head bumped the sky and he towered over the acacia, now greening up fast. Behind him came slightly smaller huge giraffesses and a scuttling baby, still taller than most of the thorn trees. I gasped as quietly as possible and pressed the video button on my phone. I followed their slow and gracious walk as they loped along, watching them pause to strip the most thorny of the thorn trees. Those thorns are 6 inch nails and sharp as needles but not to their leather-lined mouths, I surmised. I saw the baby spread his forelegs in order to pick something tasty up from the ground; saw zebras drink from the water butt just a few feet away from me and smiled as two slightly less huge male giraffes, probably brothers, joshed with each other in a tease of neck bashing.

At one point a car appeared, returning to the house just across the bush from us, and stopped dead. I heard car doors open and shut quietly, low voices vibrating in excitement. The giraffes, spooked, began to wander away but, by now, the baby had taken himself off to the far side of the dirt track and was, in effect, trapped. I urged the people to move themselves and their car quick quick, but only inside my head. Eventually, on realising that their stopping had upset the whole thing, they moved away and relief flooded my heart as the ‘little one’ grabbed his chance and rose into what would count as a gallop in Giraffe. I followed their departure around the house and off off off into the depths of the bush with a great big thank you in my mouth, followed closely, I’m rather ashamed to say and on a different trajectory, with a curse for the uneducated tourists.

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