Monday, February 13, 2012

Red jewels, blue treasure

We started our annual pilgrimage to see the red disas on a silver morning where mist floated off the sea and the day balanced on the edge of a coin between hot or cold.

Myburgh’s Ravine above Hout Bay lay in the dappled shade of old yellowwoods and rooi els and a carpet of waxy little yellow flowers had been shaken like tree dust over the forest floor.

We found the red disas near the top of the ravine and caught our breaths. The sort of breath you breathe in a cathedral, an art gallery, the first view of a new continent. Scatterlings of scarlet danced on green mossy ravine walls, dipping and swaying on their long stems in the cool morning air that drifted down.

 In the thick green shade last night’s misty rain still lay in droplets on their red petals. Disa uniflora. Pride of Table Mountain. Our own orchids, jewel of the mountain.

But from this jewel-red start, the day turned blue. At the top of the ravine mist blew in in blue-grey shards. In her usual way, Table Mountain had some surprises for us. We had started off to find the red disas, but then discovered a treasure-chest of blue: blue disas, agapanthus, blue lobelia, blue roellas. We found the blue disa by chance as we took a wrong turning and made a detour on a wild and distant corner of the mountain above Hout Bay.

Then we found the right way, where Llandadno Ravine had gashed a steep path down the mountain, and it was like climbing down a ladder from the blue sky to the blue ocean. The day had finally turned from the edge of the coin and now it lay in front of us: filled with blue, sunny side up. 

Blue disa, herschelia graminifolia, above Llandadno Ravine.
Shrouded Agapanthus. 
Tea break on Hout Bay Corner.

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