Island Blog – Smoke and The Beyond of Things

Today it is humid. I won’t say we can barely move but it’s close, in both senses of the word. 40 degrees and humidity is way above that, leaving our bodies slimy and lethargic, our minds on ice and aircon. Outside, the animals must work with this for they have no option. Rain, much needed and in copious amounts, threatens, lands us a few fat drops and then rolls away laughing. We fill the water bowls, big deep terracotta things close to the house for we know that the water hole is shrinking. It leaves cracked dry mud at its edges and offers little in terms of relief for all the giraffe, zebra, buck,nyala, wildebeest, warthogs and birds who need it to be full and rain-clean. Thunder grumbles, lightening flashes, but it is just a game to them. They are not down here and wasting away for the lack of what they hold in their power – the knife crack that will split the clouds, forcing them to dump their precious cargo on this hot sandy desert. Even the buffalo grass is holding firm, refusing to push shoots above the surface. The only grass that is visible has risen beside the outside tap that leaks. These wispy green shoots look surprised. I imagine them wondering where all their mates have gone and feeling just a tad foolish for having been so keen to get above ground. The blue mountains have spent the day in a blur as if coated in smoke. I see nothing of the laval deposits, nor the faces of, now let me see…….at least 12 creatures from real to mythical and clearly cut from the now solid rock. I have a hippo mother and her calf, a rock biter, an ape baring his teeth and a rather wonky-chops horse who appears to be melting, to name but a few. They are all hidden this day.

It thinks me of relationships, those ships that bounce across the same ocean, yet each travels alone. One, like the keen grasses, bursts out too soon through excitement or anticipation. Sure, this person may regret their action once faced with, well, nobody else, but it is his very nature that brought him into the sunlight and, who knows, his might be the better choice.

Although the smoke hides the mountains from me, it doesn’t mean they aren’t there. I have watched and studied their faces for weeks now. Someone else might tell me they are just mountains. They have no animal faces carved into their solid rock shoulders. These are merely fictions of mine, something to be fondly allowed. What they really mean is that they cannot see what I see. The beyond of things. When someone is completely living in the worldly world, they rarely see the beyond of things, and people who do are drunk or deluded or children.

I swim in the pool, feeling the fat drops of rain fall on my shoulders. At 40 degrees, this is a blessing, not a curse. But, it is only a few and I can hear the clouds cackling like old witches who had the power to fell fortresses back in the day and now can only, at best, halt the cloud dump, which is inevitable and will come one day soon. The swim is a relief and a pleasure. Zebra trot across to eat the early grasses…….oops! Warthogs do the same but the rest of the bush is sand and hot and empty of cover and carpet. For now. Until the rains finally come.

Right now, the retriever pup is being dunked in the pool. His super warm coat is a disadvantage in this hot country and yet he is bouncy, well and full of puppy nonsense. His human parents teach him to find the steps in the pool for easy exit, should he ever fall in by mistake. The acacia is greening up daily, the giraffes visiting ever more frequently and Spring is moving in. So weird to have left Autumn behind and to move into Spring. I watch socking great wasp queens looking for nesting sites, bugs of all colours clattering across the decking, some safe, some lethal. Lizards leave droppings everywhere and geckos who seem quite joco about living under the eaves of the thatch drop the same from above. Tiny pellets land on me at odd times, but I can see nothing when I look up.

Doesn’t mean they aren’t there.

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