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.