Temperatures at the foot of Africa reaching 46 degrees Celsius, 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Heatwave weather and the Cape peninsula mountains burning. Runaway veld fires fanned by gale-force hot winds. The firefighters exhausted and working through the night, helicopters overhead dousing flames with buckets of sea water. Volunteer wildlife rescues services taking tortoises and porcupines off the mountains, snake handlers helping. Homes evacuated, cityfolk offering beds and shelter.
Home alone this week because the housemate is in the Karoo and I am making salads for myself with tall glasses of lime and soda. A jug of iced water at hand as I work. Too damn hot.
At 2am or 3am I wake up breathless from heat, unable to sleep. No smoke or fires out here as yet, but the landscape looks scorched and charred. We are all waiting for rain and the dogs lie panting and I refill their water bowls several times an evening.
Reflecting on landscape and the delusional projections of the explorer or exile, the tension between belonging and unbelonging, what we fail to notice in the familiar. Reading post-colonial Australian writers, revisiting Patrick White’s Voss, David Malouf, Judith Wright, Tim Winton.
“I knew that the world around you is only uninteresting if you can’t see what is really going on. The place you come from is always the most exotic place you’ll ever encounter because it is the only place where you recognise how many secrets and mysteries there are in people’s lives”