Monday, July 4, 2011

Grey turns to gold on a Blue Monday

It happened again this afternoon. When I looked out the window I saw a grey afternoon, clouds sweeping over the mountain and a wind that shook the pine tree next door. Not exactly inviting weather for an amble on the mountain.
Homoglossum priori - fancy name for a six-pointed star that shines on the mountain in winter.
But wait. Jan arrived home early on this, a miserable Blue Monday. He dragged me out the house by the scruff of my waterproof jacket and announced that we were walking up to the Saddle. If you look up at Devils Peak, you’ll see the saddle at its bottom right, before it slopes upwards to the top of Table Mountain.
And then the grey afternoon was transformed by alchemy as the late sun broke through underneath the clouds and washed the mountain with pure gold. It’s one of those wonderful mysteries of Table Mountain. Don’t believe it when it looks miserable from your window. Just be brave enough to tie up your boots and get outside and let that clear light touch you and breathe the fresh cold air that carries a hint of buchu on its breath.
Below Devils Peak the slopes were star studded with six-pointed red flowers. Homoglossum priori swayed in the chilly southeaster, catching the sun in their petals, turning this flower from the Iridaceae family into a red-gold creation. Popularly named Rooi Afrikaner they flowered next to the path, in the cracks of rocks and next to the stream up on the Saddle.
Which brings me to one of my favourite spots in the whole world: a patch of soft grass sheltered by a huge rock in the middle of the Saddle. Here you can lie back on the softest grass bed (check for ticks afterwards), listen to the stream tinkle and catch an orange-breasted sunbird hopping onto a bush in front of you. We ate a sweet orange and rinsed our hands in the icy stream. No Blue Monday stands a chance against this. It’s called Heaven.
The Saddle is a world in itself. A freezing wind galloped ahead of a bank of clouds that poured down the mountain, lost us in mist and five minutes later cleared to let the sunlight back, dancing over the disco-green leaves of watsonias, pelargoniums and leucadendrons. As a last special bonus, the sky lit up around Lion’s Head in a candy-pink sunset that faded into thick creamy clouds that soon became grey again. Which just goes to show: don’t let the grey clouds bully you.

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