acacia blossoms

acacia blossoms

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

shining lights

Last night we met some friends for sundowners at a waterhole in the middle of the reserve. We greeted each other like long distance travelers although in truth we were an hour away from each others camps in either direction.  We settled down on a fallen log to chat and listen to the evening. The log was plastered in hard grey mud from the regular back scratching of mud caked warthogs.  The sculptural form of our bench allowed for a three way seating position, so gals could chat and sip wine while the soft light fell around us.  Pearl spotted owlets called pure rising notes, and the half moon took over the daylight shift with ease.

‘Right lets pack up and head back to camp’. We were the visitors so we let the others set off first in their open land rover, spotlights raking the darkness on either side searching for night creatures.  We hung back. We lost them pretty quickly.  We stopped to listen but there was only the silence of night – which is not silent but filled with nightjar calls and a sudden snort of a wildebeest standing unseen in the shadows.

So we took a guess, and turned right, then left, then right. The track swung around and tried to disorientate us in unfamiliar country.  I watched the stars; the Southern Cross hung low on the horizon so we could see we were heading west towards a big bright planet which I have since found out is Jupiter.  We stayed on this bearing, the woodland yielding no secrets on either side of the track. Left, right, right, left, oh err – ok left….Ha! We found the place – clever us.  Their power was off so there were no lights to guide us.  

We gathered in the cosy kitchen, lit by candlelight, while culinary artists posing as friends whipped up a feast of flavours. Outside the moonlight threw shadows over the silver sands of the river bed.  A male waterbuck appeared at the edge of the pool, and then vanished again.  The shadows held promises of unseen eyes all around us.

After the heady feastiness of dinner, our lovely hostess (who I thought I knew) brought out a song book and spoke of a song she had found.  ‘How come you have a song book in camp? Who does music here?’ I ask clumsily. “Oh we all do”   oh!  She moved across to the old upright piano which had two candles in its very own brass candle holders. Lifted the lid and began to play.  Now there I was thinking it was an artfully placed piece of d├ęcor. I never knew this about these friends.  

Soon her husband brought out his drum and was beating out a lively rhythm. One by one, everyone gathered in the pool of candle light around the piano – with our hostess’s fingers flitting over the ivories like fairy dancers.  Old old lovely songs from the fifties and before. Funny how we even knew some of the words.  We sang along drawn into the lively energy of the surprising event. It was a timeless scene and took me back to somewhere lovely in my mind.

It grew late. Reality knocked, and we had to leave.  We drove back through the reserve in the fading moonlight.  The moon became an amber smile dipping to the tree line, showing its teeth in the still waterholes.  We saw two rabbits and a mouse along the way, but plenty of trees pushed over the road by elephants, and fresh rhino middens.  Two hours later we were home. The candlelit evening stayed on as a warm place inside.


Diane said...

I love your posts, think I may have said that before, but they are just great. I lived the whole night with you, I see those eyes and smell that dung..... Thank you Diane

Anonymous said...

So beautiful written. I think we all friends whom we think we know yet realise we never will.

CJ xx

Lyn said...

Thank you for this delicious post of imagery and sensation. You take us along with you, treating us to the same vistas, smells and songs of the reserve. I always feel as though I have had a mini vacay when I read your blog. A refreshing, reprieve from my own reality courtesy of a crafty wordsmith. Take care.

mermaid gallery said...

enchanting! An evening out is a different thing altogether for you. It felt very surreal reading your a little time traveling takes place and you whisk us there under the yellow moon......

Janelle said...

oh how lovely lovely lovely val! yes. magical and the best nights ever...all of it...beautiful. x j

Bonnie Zieman, M.Ed. said...

I feel like you took me along on that magical evening - thank you dear Val.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a near perfect evening in a special spot, with good company, great food, a surprise or two and a sing-along - life doesn't get much better.

Amanda Summer said...

you create a scene and draw us all's like i was there. every bit of it. lovely writing val, just lovely. still spinning under the southern cross as we speak.....


Reya Mellicker said...

What a wonderful evening! I love sitting around singing songs with friends. We used to do that when I lived at Lake Tahoe because there was nowhere to go out and watch other people doing the entertaining. It is such a human activity!

You found your way by the light of the Southern Cross? Now THAT is cool, Val, very cool!

Lori ann said...

Good Lord, that was one memorable night. you were indeed clever finding your way back. I wish i would pass wildebeests and nightjars on my way home too.
another beautiful beautiful post val. thank you.

Anonymous said...

magical bush silence! not found much anymore

fabulous impromptu evenings with friends are splendid


A Concerned Citizen said...

Val -- Thank you for giving us all such an evocative description of what sounds like a perfectly wonderful evening. When I read your posts I always find myself wishing that I had your life (and I just soak up the prose -- man, can you ever write!).

Thanks also for stopping by the Bodhi Tree the other day. It is good to be back in blog land after such a long absence. I'm thinking of getting the old blog back up and running in earnest now that my big work project is finished. I need to find my camera first, though, as blogs are just never quite right without visual effects. (: )

Kristin said...

How utterly fabulous. An evening so well lived and, even better, shared.

Val said...

dear beautiful bloggy pals - it was such fun having you along! thank you for all your very kind words and encouragement xx

all credit to finding our way goes to KJ truly, though the southern cross did help enormously ;-) and Jupiter was So Bright..

Daine - do you ever come back here?

CJ - yes it was fun to learn something new of these lovely people;

Lyn - good to have your company

Val said...

Susan - thanks! and how is BC?

Janelle - we needed your guitar! xx

Bonnie - yes magical indeed :-)

Rob - good times, and wonderful having the blogosphere to tell it all too!

Amanda - thanks - high praise from a wordsmith such as yourself x

Reya - we should have more muso evenings for sure - really so much fun. how lovely in Lake Tahoe. haha yes, the Southern Cross has saved our bacon before :-)

Lori - ah nightjars and moonlight - just one of those heartstealing combinations xx

Janet - hey - hope you are finding some lovely bush sounds. loving following your travels vicariously!x

Adrianne - hey welcome back! looking forward to hearing more from you again - words and pictures :-)

Kristin - thanks - sharing always enhances everything

xxx blog on everyone and enjoy! xxV

Spiny Marshmallow said...

Cool man - what a lovely post.

Oh is it Jupiter? I have been assuming its Venus with Mars close above and to the right and Saturn below - so nice all those three together

Lorac said...

Val, you sure know how to tell them! You brought me along with you in your words. I had a marvelous time!

Val said...

hey Pam - i looked on stargaze and saw Jupiter - but have now checked again and you are QUITE RIGHT Jupiter is in the East NOT the west... they are almost opposite - part of that squaring up i suppose? So aplogies, and thanks for setting it right!

hi Lorac - thanks - so did I! I love that waterlilly in your picture.

happy weekend everyone xxV

Cheryl Cato said...

Oh such a lovely story and so romantic in a myriad of ways. Just beautiful and puts my imaginings to work.