I want a home in the mountains
Where pine scents the air,
Fir and oaks,
Mossy carpets cushion stone and roots.
Bitter winters and bare autumns,
The brisk evening air
Burning my lungs
As I inhale deeply.
And wine glasses full to the brim.
Porridge and tea in the morning,
Where Steam dances and curls like breaking waves suspended. Clouds like snow
That leave behind snow.
Ice and fires: eternal foes in winters depths,
Cancelled by the sunshine and bloom of spring.
Wildflowers and incense,
Opera of the birds
Chiming and chanting.
The rustle of branches, birth of young. Bark sweats as days grow longer, summer yearns it’s invitation.
Resin seeps and sticks,
The streams; a refreshing retreat.
I want a home in the mountains,
Where nature’s spirit burns so strong,
Where it’s zest defies our wretched influence, the curses of our existence.
Where the mountains
Penetrate the senses,
Penetrates the flesh of my heart.
Existential thoughts beneath the Milky Way.
Stars, what do you ponder?
Do you love us or loathe us,
Hatred burning and flickering and glowing
Across the ink black sky.
Stars, approve or disapprove?
White wisdom of millennia, observing the universe build. How do we destroy.
Stars. One night, when I say goodnight, we all know it will be the last.
May you light the way to fate and that day.
It is, after all
30 yards of savannah grass, some small acacias and a 2 meter high electrified fence are all that stand between me and it. The sun blazes it’s last glorious rays upon the land behind it, golden shimmers and purple clouds dance a partner dance, slowly, with purpose and with passion. A lizard dashes along the wire, madly panting before a moments silent, motionless recovery. Then, with renewed vigor, energy bursts through its limbs, a silhouette scurrying wildly. It appears the electric fence isn’t so electric after all. Still, it stands still, returning my gaze stonily. It does not move, it’s eyes do not waver. It’s a silent observer, fingers spread wide as it stands tall and large and powerful above the plain. It’s shadow doubles it’s size, increases it’s magnificence and inspires more fear, more appreciation, respect. It is hairless and grey, strong limbed, feet firmly planted on the ground. The sun flickers like the dying flame it is, the last light of day stretching shadows further and further eastward. Still it stands. I am impressed by it, in awe of it, I both love it and loathe it; it is elemental wisdom. It is a teacher, a genius, sharing the knowledge of years, decades, centuries, eons. It is timelessness, ageless, infinite. It is never anything but a friend. It’s the embodiment of the world, of its spirit - growth, balance, generosity. It only takes what it needs. Darkness descends like spilt black ink, the outlines fade into the shadows, into nothingness. But I know that it does not fear what lurks in the dark, only darkness itself. I whisper, “goodnight and thank you.” It doesn’t reply, doesn’t move, unresponsive. It is, after all, a tree.
soft-serendipity asked: In that panorama pictureset, where is that waterfall? And you probably already posted this, but what brings you to Africa?
It’s Mac Mac falls near Blyde Canyon, South Africa. Just here to explore, feel some different cultures, see what the world is like so far from home.
The two of them, the couple, sauntered down the suburban road together towards the main street of town, dodging puddles and wet grass. Energy bounded and rebounded between them affectionately, as the strangers pushed and bumped and skipped and laughed toward Hoof St.
The hills that surrounded the collection of homes and businesses that made up the large village or small town, depending on your point of view, stood tall and green and proud; eery clouds mounting the summits and engulfing the peaks as they drifted down the escarpment. Jenni directed them.
"Don’t go that way, this way is quicker but hopefully the tracks aren’t too muddy." Jenni had just put their clothes in the washing machine back at the hotel before her shift ended, and she was a good employee. A smile was never far from her freckled caramel face. The grid like topography of the town made what seemed like a longer journey on the map a much quicker, though somewhat damper, journey.
"What are you looking for? There is a Spar not far from this side of town," Jenni asked politely.
"We’re after a drink, somewhere to get a drink," replied the young man.
"A beer or something," added the young woman.
They were approaching the old railway tracks, overgrown with grasses and weeds. To the right was the overpass so Route 532 wouldn’t be interrupted by the trains of yesteryear. It was bleak and grey, framed by rain clouds (which certainly increased the bleakness). A couple of locals were walking along the edge of the bitumen road, squeezed tight against the railing from fear of the cars rushing past them, rustling their coats. To the left was the dilapidated old station house, across from it a rusted corrugated iron roof was collapsing, hanging limply through the framework, rotted steel flesh falling from an iron rib cage. The track was muddy.
"Just down there, on your left, there’s a pub."
"Where are you off to now?"
"To meet a friend, she works here in town."
A farewell smile and the couple are on their own, standing in center of Hoof St. The importance of this road, lined with businesses, restaurants and curios, cash and carries, supermarkets, the upmarket Graskop Hotel and Bikers Rest pub reminded the young gentleman of home; of country towns, one road in, one road out, one road worlds. He voiced his opinion. “Reminds me of the country.”
"I think it’s more like the south coast," the young woman replied, sandals slapping the pavement as they continued past the Graskop Hotel on their left, past the curio and into the Bikers Rest pub. Motorcycle memorabilia plastered the walls, flags on the roof. An old motorcycle, dust drawing from the luminosity of the chromed exhaust stood upon a platform not far from the door and halfway up the wall. The windows were made of old beer bottles, adding a green sheen to the light permeating into the establishment. Two South African women sat directly in front at the bar, a bald South African man to the left and the South African bar tender, bearded and long haired, behind the counter. He was slight in build and height but large in courtesy and service.
"Howzit? Can I get you anything?" He asked the young couple, the two foreigners in the bar as they approached the bench on the right hand side. Scarves and badges adorned the walls behind the counter, as did bottles of spirits both empty and occupied by liquor. As they sat down they ordered. "Two castles please."
"Where are you from?"
“Australia, near Sydney. We have been saying how the town, the countryside, it’s all a bit like home.”
The bartender retrieved the beers from the fridge and opened them by twisting off the top with his forearm, placed them on the counter and continued.
"Isn’t really cold there?"
“No,” responded the young gentleman, “in winter it might get as low as 14 or so, summer into the 30’s. Tasmania and Melbourne, they get a lot colder.”
The bartenders attention was taken by the the two female South African customers, as the young couples attention was taken with each other and their surroundings. It was quirky, clearly a popular motorcyclists pub, maybe a little corny or cheesy but definitely pleasant. Classic rock soothed through the music speakers. They sat, she spoke of numerology, her latest interest, he listened about ruling numbers, somewhat skeptical but undoubtedly intrigued.
"Where did you say you guys were from?" Asked one of the South African women.
"Near Sydney," the young woman replied.
"I’ve always wanted to go Australia, it’s a must do for me."
"Where are you from?"
"We passed through there. We picked up a rental car from the airport 2 days ago now but we didn’t venture into Johannesburg."
"It’s just a city, you didn’t miss much." Some silence passed, comfortable silence, between those in mutual comfort.
"Well we’re off, safe travels." The young couple thanked them and said goodbye, before asking the question themselves: is it time to go? They finished their beers almost simultaneously.
"Another?" Asked the bartender.
"No, thank you. How much for these?" Questioned the young gentleman. "22 rand each." The young gentleman passed over a yellowing, faded fifty rand note before tucking his stool under the counter. Collecting his change, the young woman said thanked the bartender as they both approached the door, change jingling in the pocket. As they left, a sign hanging from the far end of the building swung in the slow, cool late afternoon breeze.
'Beware last beers for 500m - you are passing the point of no return' read the couple before they turned about on their heels and began the return journey, arms around waists, embraced and wary of mud and dampness and the puddles littering their way.
The train sleeps, is at rest, is exhausted. The crashing of steel carriages and the monotonous thumps of passing many uneven levels upon the tracks have rendered us, the passengers, worn out and vacant of energy. The grey clouds and intermittent spurts of rain forces us to close our windows, the air becomes stale and warm and the life of the outside world and Africa is held at bay. Reading, music and writing, games and cards; sudoku, crosswords become our vices as we continue onwards, however slowly, towards our destination and our futures here in Zambia. Not much has changed beyond the windowpane except the addition of more rocks, the trees grow, the grass is green, burnt out trunks and the occasionally rusted husk of a carriage accompany the small railway station; traditional round huts with thatched roofs are visible amongst the scrub, but people are rare. It seems all of Zambia is caught in this drowsy state of distance and dejection, where the indoors hold refuge to the mind numbing expanse that constantly flows around us like a stream of simple wilderness and existence around a rock; a steel, rusting, bumpy, loud stone that pushes itself upstream with a numbed determination of arriving when possible. The sun cannot defeat the clouds and is poor company as he comes and goes to quickly for us to gain any acquaintance. Even without it, I can’t stop the smile spreading across my lips.
And pale yellow walls
Against dull shimmers of light
Sterile and stained
Quiet yet profane
My mind fills this empty space
With the boredom of my brain.