Friday, December 23, 2011

Chappies espresso

Sunset on Chappies. Far below, Chapmans Peak Drive is Sunset Boulevard, full of cars, picnic baskets and champagne glasses. Here, on the contour path high up on the mountain, the fragrance of an espresso slowly percolating wafts passed us. I'm with my sister Marikie and her son Marko, a young adventurer with a special talent for making espressos.
Sunset, fresh coffee, happy Christmas.
A mountain for champagne, for coffee and streams running with fresh rain.
Marko the espresso king with his mom Marikie.

Golden light, golden rock.

High on Chapmans Peak it's just us and the watsonias.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Small miracles

Agapanthus with diamond and papyrus.

Small miracles on a rainy afternoon at Kirstenbosch. 

A spotted eagle owl sits in pouring rain in a flower bed right next to the path. 

My friend Fran shows me the secret room inside the heart of the giant ficus, a hollow big enough to sit in. And then she hugs the tree.

It’s cold, it’s wet, but it’s a small, perfect afternoon.

Spotted eagle owl blurred in the rain.
Pincushion's indigenous xmas wrapping.
Fran in the secret room of the ficus.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Walking in moonlight

Tonight the moon rolled over the mountain like a battered old tin plate with dented edges. Two days before full moon.

Watsonias swayed in the howling southeaster and danced across my camera lens.

Just me and my moon shadow on the mountain. No-one else.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

One mountain, many lives

Her name is Shahnaaz and she’s a healer. We met this afternoon over a bright pink cloth on a saint’s grave on Table Mountain.

I was walking past the mosque on Signal Hill and Shahnaaz was about to enter the mosque with her family. I asked her about the pink cloth, which had not been on the saint’s grave a few days before. The graves are called kramats and there are about 6 or 8 of them around the mosque.

She explained to me that making an offering to the saint buried there could include placing a new cloth, called a chadar, on the grave. “There are many layers of cloth on top of the grave, placed there over a long time by many people.”

Then Shahnaaz told me that she was there to make a special offering to the saint under the pink cloth. He had been a healer and so was she, offering reiki and reflexology and all kinds of other alternative treatments.
She had fasted for two days and now, as the sun set, was about to break her fast with some dates and nuts.
Shahnaaz, the healer about to break her fast.
I said goodbye to Shahnaaz and then noticed a group of cyclists who had met in front of another kramat. One of them leant his bicycle against the grave. “Um, this is a sacred spot,” I said without thinking. “Oh it’s just a dead person,” the man said. One mountain, many lives.
Rumours of rain. When a cloud hangs over Lion's Head like a lacy Catholic mantilla veil, it will rain tomorrow. Really.