Driving Southern Africa


Morning on a Namibian Road, Copyright Silverleaf 2016

Early morning. The full moon is high and bright, the stars still splashed across the sky. As the moon slides lower, it pales to golden in a mauve moonset. The darkness slips slowly from the night into shadows. Across the rain-soaked greening savanna, the sun begins to rise, burning orange and red and reaching out to touch mountain tops, setting them aflame. The moon floats on one side of the horizon, the sun on the other, in a fleetingly perfect balance.
The colours of the land burst from the dawn, turning red and green below the deepening blue above. The road, awakening, becomes a window onto the lives lived out along it:
A family—parents and four children—piled into a horse-drawn cart, trundle along at a trot.
A group of brightly dressed figures gather at a farmstead overhung by ancient rock mesas – a wedding, or a funeral?
A man crouches over a black iron pot in tree-shade at the edge of the simmering road. The pot steams in a fire; lunch.
Crossing these boundless distances also reveals improbabilities, impossibilities:
Slow-moving storm clouds gather, purple-black and charged with lightning but, although the thunder sounds, the rain may never come.
Rivers named and marked with blue signs have been dry for generations, stony beds winding across the land, across time, yet I have seen them flood after a night of unexpected rain.
I absorb all this and more — the warm smell of red sand, the bitter scent of camel thorn, the song of a desert night,  the music of countless stars, and lines and lines of hidden herds drawn into hazy mirages criss-crossing the land.
I weave all of this into my being, into my perception of this place, creating my own understanding, my own experience of here. I stand in the middle of it, and for this one moment, it is all that I can see. It is all there is.

3 thoughts on “Driving Southern Africa

    • Thank you, Mary, that is definitely how I approach each attempt to describe and transmit my feelings for this place to everyone. Can’t believe we will be home in a week 😦

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