Friday, November 28, 2008

Homesick

Its the time of year. Sometimes I just miss it all so much. I miss the dry season, the way the plains roll out like rustling paper, inscribed with endless vehicle tracks. When evening campfires crackle and send orange spark showers up to meet the silver dizzying stars.

But now is when I miss most. The start of the rains. The way those clouds stack up against the gunblue horizon, and the winterthorns go an eerie green as the lightning zigs and the light rolls away. The way the wind twirls and pirhouettes ahead of big slanting sheets of rain, turning impalas frisky and making us humans do a rain dance because we're still so grateful for the slaking quench of it.

I like this time of year in the valley coz everyone starts to unwind and misbehave. Bush camps are shut now, and those safari guides and caterers that only work the 6-month dry season stick around for a little while, maybe until Christmas, until the malaria and the mud the bug onslaught gets too much. Then the die-hards will settle in for the real sog and slog and bog of the rains. That spinning in the mud time when the only thing that's dry is the bottom of the whiskey bottle.


But those magical few weeks after the camps have been wrapped up, and the cutlery put away for next year, and the sheets packed in damp proof boxes and the last clients sent off at the airport, but before the rain sets in - oh thats where I want to be now.

Waiting for the river to rise, so suddenly, overnight, so we can go cruising up the gulleys into areas that you only see from a vehicle in the dry season. Being at eye level with hippos is always kind of fun. Scary but fun.

I'm a nostalgic lass aren't I? I got a bit of a shock the other day though when I realised I hadn't been home for two years. Two years!

Ah well. I think we'll be having a Joburg Christmas, unless something miraculous happens in the bank accounts between now and then. But Joburg's great at that time. People leave the city en masse, braving the clogged arteries to the coast, leaving those few souls who stay behind to enjoy the quiet roads, the abundance of parking, the empty cinemas. I think we'll go away later. When everyone gets back. Yes, that's what we'll do.

In the meantime, if I can just get my sister to break her blogger drought, I could get some vicarious valley updates, some more of her glorious pics. Please help me spam her with comments until she comes off strike. She's over here.

15 comments:

Rob (Inukshuk Adventure) said...

Ja, Johannesfontein at Xmas was a great place to be. As a kid, we always went away to the coast or the mountains as that's when Dad had his leave. As an adult, I chose to stay in town and go away after the crush. I still chose to travel out of the school vacation times. Enjoy the empty roads and malls.

Val said...

Tam - good idea to travel when no-one else is. But hey - we are not that far away.....
I feel like pasting your heartfelt nostalgic longings on my newly painted walls! beautiful descriptions that rocket me straight there. Wish I could say 'lets go I'll meet you tomorrow at ORT'. xx (ps will spam miranda - agree, she cant leave us hanging like this! ;-)

Lori ann said...

Tam, your writing is so lovely and vivid you are making me homesick and i've not even been there! I'm hoping that soon you'll be able to go back to this place where you've left a bit of your heart.
xx

http://reluctantmemsahib.wordpress.com said...

... the way the plains roll out like rustling paper, inscribed with endless vehicle tracks ... what a very beautiful - and perfect - picture. x

Janelle said...

ah...yeah. its The Best. we are headed there in december. CAN'T WAIT!!!! love you honey. xxx j

Miranda said...

haha. Thanks for the shove. Picture of the Mushilashi river at mine just for you

family affairs said...

Beautifully descriptive post. That's strange re email - I got one from somebody else who'd seen my email on your comments - could you try again? lulucampbell11@gmail.com x Alternatively leave your email on my comments and I'll contact you

Reya Mellicker said...

The season of misbehaving is always fun, no matter how it presents itself. Certainly spring/summer is very different here!

Everything about the valley where you grew up, that place you're homesick for, is so EXTREME. Wow. I try and try, but it's so hard to imagine. Hope I get to visit sometime.

xxoo

tam said...

Thanks for the comments everybody. Unfortunately no amount of rationalising is helping and it looks like I may need to get on that plane after all, especialy now that I hear some of my nearest and dearest are gathering for seasonal celebrations of one kind or another.... oooohhh.

Reya, I do feel that a visit to the 'poisoned paradise' is on the cards for you. Heheh. More on that title later...

Lori ann said...

GREAT photo Tam! how darling, that is you with the zebra? and yes, i think you should get on a plane(for whatever my advice is worth!)life is too damn short.
xxx lori

Angela said...

Yes Lori, I have that old photo of Tammy (then) and the pretty zebra, too! Those girls really grew up in a very special place!
Yes Tam, go and see your Mom and tell her I want news!

karen said...

Tam, i just love your descriptions, most especially that first paragraph! How I hate bank balances that do this sort of thing to us... hoping for a Christmas windfall for you so you can get out of Jozi after all?!!

Tessa said...

How beautifully, how vividly you describe the place where a little of your heart and spirit still reside. I can just smell the wet, warm African earth and hear the rain beating out its rhythm on the roof. And, more than anything, I so understand that low, persistant ache of longing.

Okay, now I'm going to read your wonderful words again and bawl like a baby.....!! No! I'll go and paint a picture instead. Thank you, Tam, for the inspiration!

Adrianne said...

I get homesick for North Carolina in the spring, which always is the most beautiful time there. My plans for returning to NC have been put on hold indefinitely, though, b/c of the very rocky state of my relationship with my mother at the moment. Just thinking about home right now makes me sad all the way around.

As for Christmas, it is nice to be in a city where everyone else leaves for the week. DC is much the same way, both at Christmas and just recently for Thanksgiving. It's by far my favorite place to spend all holidays.

tam said...

Adrienne, I'm sorry about your relationship with your mother. Wishing you peace with that.
Tessa, thanks for the comment! Yes, 'low, persistant ache of longing' prety much describes it.
Karen, thanks for that.
And Lori- yes, its me, with my first love.