Many, many years ago, there once was a vast lake – an inland sea – where man and animal lived happily. And Man was instructed: “Take care of the wall I made to keep the water in bay. Make sure the lake does not find the way to the sea”.
Nature provided a good life for all and her abundance was proclaimed upon the rocks.
Man became lazy and did not notice the trickle of water that started draining the lake.
The trickle became a stream…and the water gushed down from the lake.
it found it’s way through the desert, carving ravines and washing away rocks and trees, until only the barren landscape remained.
And then it reached the sea, where Nature’s anger crashed into the rocks on the shore….
The message: if we don’t look after her, Nature will take revenge. Taking care of her doesn’t require much effort – but if we neglect those small duties, the consequences will be disastrous. The way things are going, Nature will leave us destitute…
A few years ago at the Cape Town 100-Miler, I realised that Life is like a series of 100-mile races against time. We all start off with starry eyes, filled with abundant enthusiasm.
Along the way, some support helps us along.
But, in the end, it becomes a lonely journey – it’s up to you to take the next steps. Nobody else can run your race for you.
There’ll always be the fast ones – the winners who make it look all too easy.
But, with enough courage and conviction, we have no choice: press on! (Even past the point where you simply feel like quitting).
At last! The goal you’ve worked so hard for!
Triumphantly you sag down in a chair. You’ve done it! Now for a well-deserved rest….and then the next race awaits. You’ve completed only one step of the process we call life – and will have to keep it up until you cross that final finishing line…
‘Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.’
As dawn approaches the mountain on wings of clouds, it is time for Nature to start a new day.
An early meerkat caught unawares – for the moment! He’s up unusually early, scouting for scraps…
He’s lucky to have escaped the serval, who slept a bit later today.
An industrious mole pokes the last sand out of his tunnel. Time to go to bed…tonight he’ll continue mining for roots.
Down in the valley, the hippos don’t care much about such small things. They have water and food. In an hour or so, they’ll sunbathe before returning to their pool.
Clever Mr Jackall busy soaking up a bit of heat. The nights are getting to be quite cold in autumn, and hunting has been slow. But today? Today he’ll find something to still that gnawing hunger.
Ah, yes, the start of another day in Africa… Will they all survive when the sun sets?
Only time will tell…
This week, I’ll leave you to add a story to this picture.
And this one:
Maybe only this: you can float in water…or dreams.
“…And that, son, is exactly what a desert elephant looked like. Close your eyes tightly, and imagine what a wonderful creature it used to be.”
“Gee dad! Really? They used to live here?”
“Yep…right here, in the desert. It was a long time ago, when they were still protected.”
“Wow! I would have loved to see one.”
“They were quite magnificent. For a while it looked as if they might have been saved, But….”
“Aw no, dad! Don’t tell me…”
“I’m sorry, son, but they didn’t survive, I’m afraid.”
“And now, dad?”
“We can only imagine them.They once lived here…free and harmless. Only their memory lives on.”
“But I’ve never seen one, dad! I can’t remember something I’ve never seen!”
“That, my son, is true. Unfortunately the poachers didn’t care.”
There’s something about the freshness in an African dawn…
The misty waterfall seems to hold its breath as the sun lurks just below the horizon.
Even the clinging bushel of reeds light up in anticipation.
A lone giraffe welcomes the comforting rays of light, relieved at surviving another night.
While a tired lion rests after a night of hunting.
This is the time for the intrepid traveller to saddle up: Africa awaits, fresh and eager, to display her charms.
Walls know stuff. They’ve seen the arguments, the passion and the joy of living. And, long after the people have left, they tell the story.
A lover knocked, the door opened, arms reached out for comfort.
Put your hat on the shelf over there, she said, smiling coyly.
Dancing to the kitchen, she asked if he’d like some coffee.
I even stoked the geyser, should you want to freshen up, she said.
I have no time, he answered heavily. The war….
And he left her standing in the doorway, waiting.
She’s still there. She, the walls…and the sand…
Nowhere on earth (okay, it is a biased opinion!) does orange colour the sky as beautifully as in Africa, especially early in the morning.
In the east, the endless Indian Ocean becomes a pewter-grey as the day is born. The clouds, however, celebrate the dawn.
An early bird flies inland to announce the new day. Its cry will wake those who slumber for the last few minutes of the night.
This is a magical time on the continent. Light comes slowly at first, then it casts a joyous spell on all who celebrate the departure of darkness.
The waters of the great Makgadikgadi pans turn bronze in the heat of the sun’s harsh fury as it burns down on arid Botswana.
When at last the sun has spent its force, it is time to find a safe spot to spend the night.
While Man, eternally fearful of the dark, feeds the fire, hoping the glow will keep danger away.
Until…at last…the moon arrives to bathe Africa in an orange so unique, so special, that one wishes that dawn will postpone its arrival for just once…
But it refuses, and the animals gather once more, as they must, to greet the sun with joy.
More than a century ago, John Masefield sat down and penned a dream – he simply had to get away from it all and reward himself with me-time at the sea. He wasn’t (and isn’t) alone in this quest. Don’t we all – from time to time – wish we could sit on a deserted beach and watch the waves come rolling in? Is it not an apt reward (and a great escape!) for pretending we actually like life in the crowded cities? Come on, join John Masefield in his famous poem – Sea Fever.
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way, where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.
Thank you Mr Masefield – for sharing a precious dream. Now I can listen to Kris Delmhorst singing while I close my eyes and dream…of a precious reward.
Not for Africa the stark lines of Gothic precision and precise lines. Here, Mother Nature designed with a free hand, a warm smile and an artistic touch. What better example of her symmetrical creativity than the waters of the mighty Zambezi?
A small stream in the upper Zambezi revels in the sunset. It is the start of a massive journey to the sea.
The moss-grown cliffs oppose each other in an eternal stand-off at the Victoria Falls. The roar of the cascade announces the arrival of the water at this beautiful gorge.
Farther downstream, the sunset is greeted with quiet tranquility.
A lonely tree guards the passage to the ocean as the water eddies past.
At last, as the ocean draws near, twin elephants take a final bath in the cool, fresh, waters.
Finally the lagoon and the sea. Clouds will carry droplets back to the small stream, to start the journey all over again. Perfect symmetry? Only as Mother Nature can do it…