acacia blossoms

acacia blossoms

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

the elephant and the leadwood tree

Selinda skies are a soft dappled grey. Delicate  clouds are spread like threadbare silk admitting bars of light.  An elephant bull stands quietly at the waterhole amid the leadwood trees blending perfectly with the scene.  Leadwood are ancient hardwood trees where spirits dwell.  Their wood is so dense it doesnt float but sinks like lead. They take forever to grow. Yet in their sculptural forms that are shaped by aeons of elephant browse, lightening strikes, fire and flood, there are folds and nooks where birds and tiny creatures live. Their leaves are small and clustered along branches bearing tough woody spikes - famous for puncturing tyres. I wouldn't want one of these spikes in my finger let alone my mouth; yet this elephant is in the mood for a  spiky meal.  He has been kicking at the roots of a small thorn bush whose spikes gleam white, lifting trunkfuls of the prickly prize into his mouth. He now moves slowly towards the leadwood tree - briefly casting a golden brown eye our way  with a flash  of dark amber.

He walks around the leadwood tree. The branches with leaves are high overhead. He tries to reach from the side nearest us. stretching up with trunk extended; climbing onto the roots, lifting one leg - the leaves barely tickle the end of his trunk.  He steps back. On the other side of the tree the leaves are lower, but the ground is also lower.  He moves around we see his trunk waving high on the other side, but leaves remaining tantalisingly out of reach. He tries from all angles and returns to the first.  He stretches again, this time he manages to get a hold on a small branch and down comes a mouthful of spikes and leaves.  He chews on this for a while. It is a calm scene. Obviously all this roughage is working on his stomach. He leaves some steaming compost on the leadwood's roots.

Moving around the tree again, stretching up, he tries but fails this time, coming to rest his head against the warm tree trunk for a minute or two. For the moment he looks like part of the tree; they match fissured bark to fissured hide, colour for colour, shape for shape. The elephant breaks away, runs an amber gaze our way again, and then turns to follow the leadwood trail into the gathering dusk.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


The wonderfully talented and prolificley (is that a word?) creative Nicky from has bestowed on monkeys on the roof a gorgeous glittery prize. On behalf of the magnificent and mystical creatures that truly shine here - i am proud to accept.
This special Glitter Award is for bloggers who post in the spirit of the enchanted mists. So if your blog includes:

fantasy & science fiction (books, films, games),
fabulous artwork,
spiritual stuff,
myths and legends,
enchanted creatures,
anything else mysterious, beautiful or otherworldly,
you might see one come your way!

As with all awards, there are rules and the rules of this award are...

1. Pass this award on to a maximum of five other blogs you think would make the horn glitter. If you only want to pass it on once, that's fine - but the magic dies if you keep it under your bed for too long! And don't forget to leave a comment on your chosen blog(s) to let them know about it.

2. Add the award to the sidebar of your blog with a link back to this blog/post.

3. Tell us your favourite:
Poem or song
Myth or legend
Enchanted creature
i hereby pass this award on to Pam at SpinyMarshmallows for her fabulous artworks,  her unique and magical observations in and around Zambia; to Reya of The Gold Puppy of course!;
I know Tessa has been tagged already, otherwise...; Amanda at the newly discovered Travels with Persphone  who lives in a world between ancient and modern; Geli of Letters from Usedom for her uncanny and perceptive insights into human nature and her magical concoctions of sumptious pies and cakes; and lovely lori of Lori times five for her post from california filled with sunshine and light, and lovely illustrations;
my favourite book is still Secret Life of Bees - i know i know. What I dont know is why this story resonates so strongly with me but i can read it again and again.
my favourite movie for the longest time was French Kiss with Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline - I just love the setting, the way the characters evolve, the music, and Kevin Kline is fantastic as Luke, the dodgy frenchman
Poem or song - hmm - the Ancient Mariner is far too long to quote here but i do love it; favourite song - well i am a music junkie so tend to be more fickle on that one depending on my mood or circumstances
Myth or legend - I love the story of King Arthur - particularly the Merlin angle, the lady in the lake, and the sword in the stone
Enchanted creature - well that has to be the aardvark caught on camera recently with eyes like bright diamonds
thank you Nicky  xxx

ps cant load the image tonight for some reason so please take it from the side bar if you can. sorry.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

winter thrills

We are expecting guests today. visitors from the first world. So we
have been busy trying to make our living space ship shape. Its a good
thing we get the occasional visitor i think for this reason, and we
are forced to speak in real sentences instead of grunts and personal
code. The onset of guests also pushes us to Get Things Done that we
have been putting off. Yesterday we finally succeeded in getting a
Fireplace installed in the lounge. Every winter we have talked about
how nice this would be, as we huddle under blankets, wearing jackets
indoors and hiding from the biting wind. OK its not all our fault -
this area is famous for slowness.

 The motto should be 'never do today
what you can put off until next week'. When you phone someone to
support their business, you can hear in their voices that their knee
jerk reaction is to stall you. Quite often it is a case of 'give me
your number and i will call you back' - ha we dont fall for that one
any more. you can wait and wait and wait until the cows leave home for
the umpteeth time.

Another one is "how soon do you need this?" NEVER EVER SAY "oh its
not urgent" - its the same as saying "dont worry I am just calling
because I am lonely and wanted to chat to someone - anyone"

Anyhow, the fireplace is in, and has been fired up for the first time. I am so impressed i have taken some pictures of it from different angles. And then i took some more of my relatively tidy spaces because i was equally impressed with those. I might bore you with some.

Lately we have been having the best fun with the camera trap.  Its very interactive, and quite often things go wrong, so it keeps you thinking - but recently we have had some fabulous candid night shots. All along our main aim was to catch sight of the leopard. We see his tracks, we even hear him calling very occasionally - a sound like someone sawing wood; but its really hard to find leopards here amongst the granite boulders, and scrub bush - combined with the years of hunting and trapping that ended only quite recently.  We finally 'caught' a magnificent male leopard on camera at night, while we were snoozing at home.

The night creatures are strange AND mysterious.  And there is definitely something voyeuristic about the camera trap.  The hide in the dark for their own reasons, but we insist on blowing their cover!  My second best shot - or maybe my first best - or maybe its a tie - is the aardvark.  Look at those ears and those eye balls shining like diamonds.  They have sparse fir, and look a bit like mobile kiwi fruits with extraordinary heads and tails. They eat ants for goodness sake!  Thanks guys.

Then there are the exotic civets, hyenas, lions, shy bushbuck, stately kudu, baffled impalas and baboons being, well, baboons.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

watching you watching me

father and son

We are in the midst of cold winter days. I have cold fingers and a cold nose – the end bit - and am wearing a jacket indoors. I am making coffee just to hold the mug and then nipping out into the bright sunlight to get warm again.   But I am loving it too. Our winter is so short, that wearing jackets, socks, jeans, and warm jerseys – all has novelty value for me. I love to snuggle under the blankets on a cold winter night and feel the nip in the air beyond my warm cocoon.

cold frogs seek the morning sun

We have been living with lions again.  Last week, three male lions strolled into the garden around sunset.  The big black maned lion, was accompanied by two young adult sons – lean and muscled, they walked in as if they owned the place.  Between them they scent marked every tree, bush and corner of the land around our house. They do own the place. They stalked around the house looking in the windows at us. Making direct eye contact through the glass. 

seeing double

Rayson came to join us in the lounge much to my relief, but he is very lion aware fortunately. He has to be. He spends a lot of time here on his own.  We moved carefully, speaking in hushed tones – enjoying the excitement, feeling safe indoors.

The dominant young male, who will soon have a rich dark mane like his father, ranged closer to the glass.  He tugged at the blanket that covers the wooden table under the trees.  Self consciously watching us as he tried to hook it with tooth and claw.  Then he walked onto the stoep and found the cushions.  K opened the door a crack and said ‘hey!’ assertively. They moved off reluctantly to the edge of the grass allowing us enough time to carefully retrieve the cushions. The table cloth was just too far away.

As soon as we were back inside, he returned.  Hmm – no cushions huh?  OK so I will take your spade.  Gripping the plastic handle he walked off triumphantly to the long grass with his prize as if hoping to provoke a reaction. Come and play? I don’t think so.

As darkness fell, soft and velvety around them, we became more intriguing subjects to watch.  We stood in awe being watched.  He came right to the glass looking at me. I stood stock still – less than 2 meters away from his nose. This incredible animal now felt less like a playful puppy and more like the super predator he is. The night did that I think.

He charged – bumping the glass. Twice.  Well if a monkey can jump through a window, this guy would have no problem. Also our window putty in ancient.  K took the spotlight and chased them away. Off they went melting into the dark.  We heard them calling loudly throughout the night. 

This morning before dawn, I heard that little sound the pride makes to communicate with each other over short distances, and call cubs to follow. It was outside my window. When I climbed out of the warm cocoon to look, they had gone.  Oh dear, we left the cushions out last night.  The house is ringed with tracks again. Cubs jumping on and off the boardwalk.  One cushion gone – foam chips everywhere. Another cushion dragged to the long grass, played with by muddy paws and lain upon.  Bite marks on the cane chair. There was a party here and it wasn’t us.

foam chips on the boardwalk

cub tracks in the sand