Friday, July 5, 2013

Snakes and other gifts

Wrapped in the pink of proteas and yellow daisy fields blurring in the wind this afternoon, lost in the golden universe of the mountain, it had been a long time since I thought of snakes. A man running ahead of me on the path at Kloof Corner suddenly came back to tell me he had just seen a puffadder and he was worried about Roxy sniffing out the snake.
So I picked her up and he went to show me where the snake had just crossed the path and had curled up under a rock. That's where he still was; I would never have noticed him. I was happy to have had a (safe) snake encounter and wondered again how often I pass snakes that I never notice. In all the many years of walking on the mountain, it's only the third time I saw a snake, and never felt threatened. Yet my reptile brain still whispers: ssssnake.....

After the snake, this crisp, clear winter's afternoon on the mountain still had a few other gifts. The late afternoon light reflecting in the water pouring over rocks. The sun highlighting one furry petal of a protea. And after the sun sank over the ocean, the whole sky lit up in the after-glow.

Water seeps out of the mountain.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Just so

And then the moon was suddenly there; as the birds quietened down, the sunlight left the waterfall and the path down the mountain paled. Although, of course, it had been there all along.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Day and Night

With this band of golden light, do I thee wed, said the Day to the Night. 
And then the lights came on as the crowd cheered and Night took Day away.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Dance of quicksilver

A golden day slips out under the quicksilver of a cold front. One sunny day that stands like a red and green-jacketed soldier with medals glittering in a line of grey rainy winter days.

From the mountain looking out over the ocean you can see the play and dance and argument of this day and the cold front. It’s as if grey clouds push the blue sky down, turning the ocean turquoise with cold silver light making wells on the surface.

Up here the buchu and mountain rosemary and impopo have the slender heat of the sunny day in their oily leaves, covering my fingers with their wild mountain scent when I crush them.

The waxy yellow flowerheads of a protea catch the last light and glow in the darkening day. Then the huge sun slips out underneath the grey and rides the day out over the sea in a wide beam of gold.

The next morning I wake up as the rain clatters down on the roof and know without looking out the window: all is now grey.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Song of the mountain

The rains came. Bursting clouds, white water rushed over the edge of Table Mountain, billions of droplets exploding onto big, flat, shiny, brown rocks.

And so, after the long summer, the mountain burst into song. A chorus of a thousand voices as streams and eddies and waterfalls rushed and swirled and splashed.

In the cold water-laden air along the ravines and gorges, proteas and restios and ericas swayed and dipped to the jubilant hallelujah chorus of winter’s first big rain.

The mountain sings again.

A Cape sugarbird dries himself on a bush while the grey
sky settles above the harbour.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Everything is beautiful

Sunday morning up on the Saddle.

Blue sky blue ocean one vastness. Dried leaf blades of watsonia rub against each other in the wind, calling out with hoarse voices. Dried grass curls in strands over a rock. Bright orange and lime green lichen shine like ancient dried blotches of paint.

Here for just a moment is the centre of the universe. Where everything is beautiful.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The knots behind the tapestry

Here at the foot of Table Mountain is a long, wide overhang where you are embraced by rocks. It is a quiet spot with many sounds.
Water drips from the roof of the overhang, a breeze rustles the trees, then drily rubs the long grass stems cascading over a ledge. A man with white plastic sunglasses runs past with thudding feet that fade away. A pigeon shakes its wings and hops into the mossy puddle where the water drips down.
There are no pictures of these sounds, but they are the knots behind the tapestry.


Monday, January 7, 2013

The dry gold season

Golden spiderweb

In the long-lasting days of summer, the mountain sucks the last moisture into itself; into the oily buchu leaves, into the wild rosemary, into the pincushions that fray into brittle yellow stalks. Not a sugarbird in sight in the dryness.

The southeaster shakes the dry sutherlandia seedpods that tinkle on the howling low wind. Vygies cling to the rock, flowers faded pink like once bright swimming costumes after a long summer in the sun.

It's the dry gold season.