Extraordinary summer’s evening up in the mountains, a large troupe of more than 100 Chacma baboons watching us from the crags. As these baboons may be facing extinction in the Western Cape this was an uplifting sight.
Terrific heat as we drove through the Boland yesterday and persisting after sunset, a heat haze of blue and grey over the vines heavy with ripening grapes, the cherry-red and ivory-white flowering gums, the mirage-blurred mountains shifting shape. Watermelons stacked higher than my head at roadsides, crates of sticky over-ripe nectarines and peaches. The tall eucalyptus brittle and unstirring as we climbed into the mountains, smell of dust and veld and animal spoor.
Lying late at night on a quilt and wiping away the dew falling on my face and hair as I looked up and saw the Southern Cross constellating our skies, the familiar galaxies and ancient mythic links we have always read into those galaxies. Cicadas and the chorus of frogs, the lazy gurgle of the river, the calls of children playing in the bushes. This life the heaven before heaven.
Driving down in an old kombi, sleepy and itchy with insect bites, a small owl in the middle of a the white dust of the road, staring up at us with amber eyes transfixed by our headlights, sable and coppery-brown feathers ruffled. We slowed and turned of the lights in a small obeisance. The owl flying west, out over the dry and echoing valleys.