YOUR MOMENT

YOUR MOMENT

A double rainbow. Surely that would mean double the luck? “I used to chase rainbows all over the farm as a little boy,” Andrew murmured while taking another picture of the intense rainbow standing out in full brilliance against the moody grey sky left by the sudden shower of rain.

“I used to associate rainbows with God’s promise not to flood the earth again.” Sophie turned from the window from which she had been watching the reflection of a windmill in the slate-coloured surface of the dam nearby. “Don’t laugh. Young children can be gullible, you know.”

Andrew’s dimpled smile made her feel silly. He switched on the engine and resumed their journey into the gathering darkness. “I always preferred the crock of gold theory,” he laughed. “What changed your mind?”

“Switch on the television news and there is bound to be coverage of devastating floods in one place or another: people being rescued from rooftops, being dug out of the mud,” Sophie shivered involuntarily. “I often wonder what those people feel about rainbows.”

“They probably hope it is a sign the rain has come to an end. Many floods are the outcome of bad land use practices somewhere along the line: deforestation, ignoring the flood lines when building, ploughing the wrong way …”

“Now you’re turning a rainbow into something really serious.” The teasing tone in Sophie’s voice elicited a chortle from her companion.

“When one works in the wild as much as I do,” he responded defensively, “one realises the urgency of maintaining a balance between so-called development and the overall health of our planet.”

He slowed to turn into the tree-lined driveway leading to Sophie’s family home. She clicked the remote in her bag and they both watched the spiked railing gate glittering in the headlights as it slid open.

“I hope your folks won’t be too worried about us arriving so much later than we thought we would.” The touch of anxiety in Andrew’s voice was new to Sophie. It was her turn to laugh confidently.

“I let Mom know we were watching lions at the waterhole. Dad will understand: he’s always after that ‘perfect shot’, so Mom is used to waiting.”

They walked hand-in-hand along the curved brick path leading to the front door.

“Hello!” Oscar Chambers opened the door before Sophie could even turn her key in the lock. He hugged his daughter then shook Andrew’s hand warmly. “Welcome to our family,” he boomed. “Jane is in the kitchen. Come through.”

Andrew took in the cosy-looking kitchen, the aroma of freshly-baked bread and the simplicity of the table setting as the family sat down to the evening meal. He felt relieved Jane had chosen the kitchen rather than the formal dining room he had glimpsed on his way through the house.

Oscar wanted to know about the animals they had seen during their three-day visit to the nearby game reserve. “I always try to get shots of the Big Five,” he commented. “Not all at once though. Finding them is half the fun.”

“I like the smaller creatures too though,” Sophie ventured. “Andrew’s taken a lovely shot of a rock monitor basking on top of the wooden posts flanking the path leading to the bird hide.”

“Your lion pictures are good too?” It was clear where Oscar’s interest lay.

Much later that evening Andrew and Sophie cradled warm mugs of coffee as they sat on the veranda watching the moon rising. Both felt relieved the first meeting was over.

“My parents think you are a ‘fine lad’ who will go far,” Sophie whispered, snuggling against Andrew.

“Do they know yet that I’m whisking you away for a week in the Baviaanskloof during your next break?” Andrew squeezed her hand. “You’ve been rather coy about that.”

“Well, it’ll be less dangerous than our white water rafting experience after Christmas. Dad didn’t really appreciate that photograph of me falling head-first into a rapid!”

Andrew pulled her closer. “That was your moment,” he said softly. “It was your cheerful reaction to the rough and tumble of that trip – and the way you turned the air blue at the baboons marauding our camp – that made me look at you in a different light.”

WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE

WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE

We woke to the soft sound of light rain early this morning and watched as silvery curtains of raindrops swept past the window in the breeze. Laughing Doves darted out from the shelter of the fig tree to find seeds on the sodden lawn and a queue of birds including sunbirds, Cape White-eyes and Blackeyed Bulbuls, made a beeline for the nectar feeder (‘the pub’) before retreating to some secret place behind the leaves.

I listened to the swishing sound of tyres on the wet street and welcomed the dampness of this grey day. We seldom turn our noses up at rain in the Eastern Cape for we so often had to endure long periods without.

Water droplets sparkle so beautifully in the sunlight, such as these on a nasturtium leaf in our garden.

SONY DSCI have already shown the mystery of a zebra appearing in the mist in the Addo Elephant National Park. Usually when we wake to our town shrouded in thick mist during the summer months we know that we are in for a stinker of a hot day. On a rainy day like today though, the heavily laden clouds gently caress the top of the surrounding hills or retreat to form an even greyness that casts an eerie light on the ground.

While on the subject of the Addo Elephant National Park, I loved watching this particular herd bathing in a waterhole: they tramped around the edges, squishing up the mud, and squirted muddy water over their bodies until they glistened elephant in mud bathin the sunlight and changed the colour of these wonderful creatures as the mud dried.

Along with the pattering of raindrops against the window panes and the wonderful excuse to stay indoors on such a rainy day comes the joy of seeing a rainbow – or part of one – peeping through the clouds.

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