The day was extreme - the heat building for first rains, topped all records. It pressed down like a heavy wool blanket - the old fashioned kind, before down duvets and thermal hiking gear. The breeze skittered and died, shifting from east to west, as though unsure of its own footing.
Sweat coasted down my brow in rivulets, finding the corners of my eyes, burning them awake. Had I sprung a thousand leaks, that the more water i drank, the more poured out of my very skin, soaking my clothes? I sought the breeze but it wasn't always there.
I wanted to lie down and sleep, but everything i touched was too hot - the sofa, the bed, the floor, the chair - I didnt want to touch any of them as they compounded my own body temperature. This is not funny hey? My thermostat is sticking now. The wooden house smells like a nordic sauna.
We jump in the car and drive onto the floodplain. The air is like a hairdryer, or oven door, blasting at us. Nothing moves in the heat. We head for the big sausage tree on the island near the waters edge. There is an elephant heading there too, but we get there first. it is nearest pool of shade and we are happy to share, but he carries on to the next island.
Relief, here at least a breeze off the water catches our sweaty brows and steadily imperceptibly body temperatures start to fall to manageable levels. A purple roller flies out over the water, swoops to drink and returns to a branch over our heads. Red billed wood hoopoe's have a nest in a hole in the sausage tree. The parents return to feed their fledgling young. A racket ensues as the youngster, already in adult plumage, emerges to be fed, The parents are working hard in the soupy air. The youngster retreats back into the nest to await the next treat. No flying lessons today then.
Slowly our shadow pool grows as the sun dips to the west. Dragonflies fill the air around our heads. Lacy winged bi-planes swarm around coming to rest on leaves and twigs. I turn the camera onto them. Their black wings seen from above show gold and bronze, purple and royal blue - who would have known? We find another - rich royal red, with a ginger abdomen, and fine transparent wings; whoa there is another - much more camouflaged in black and yellow, barely discernible in the leaf litter. Then another in royal blue. They hover and land, flying around our heads, nviting us to cross over into a fantasy world of dragonflies and nymphs that the ridiculously hot day has allowed us to see at last. Were they always there?