I have been lamenting ad nauseum about the drought. For three years. When we first moved to McGregor, I bemoaned the heat, but have not felt it with much intensity in subsequent years. That said, we had an unseasonal hot spell in October: February heat. I did feel that. Why? Because it didn’t creep up on us. The heat descended like the flame from a rampaging dragon.
However, villagers and The Husband’s records do suggest that summers are getting hotter and dryer. More of that in a future post. The wind, too, burns the plants, and the garden has been like a dust bowl. Then, of course, a couple of years ago, there was the fire. No matter what one does, everything is gritty, and even the contents of the display cabinet that hardly gets opened, boasts a thick layer of dust. And the voile curtains don’t bear thinking about.
“Proper” rain has been rare. Oh, there’s been plenty of promise.
The clouds dance on the Langeberg mountains last October, laugh at us and dropped their load somewhere else.
Then, on Monday evening, and into Tuesday, late spring rains fell. For various reasons, I was not out and about with the camera, but it occurred to me that I should share pervious photographs of the rains’ reward. That was at the end of a balmy autumn day, and we watched the lightening jig around us, accompanied by the odd, distant drum roll. Gradually the drum rolls came closer and the lightning brighter. For a while, though, we lost interest: dinner (with guests) was a little more pressing and there was a fire of a different sort that required attention.
Mercifully, and because autumn evenings can turn quite chilly, I’d resolved that we’d not have dinner under the trees. A good thing, too, because as we sat down to eat, the heavens opened. It rained for the first time in months – proper rain, we all agreed. I don’t remember too much of the conversation over our main course: we all grinned stupidly at each other, and raised our voices over the din of the rain thundering on the veranda’s iron roof, to toast blessings from heaven.
In the space of about 20 minutes, about 8 millimetres of rain fell on our parched garden and village.
After dinner, we walked our guests to the gate and noticed what looked like the remains of a small riverbed that had forged a course down the driveway. In the moonlight, after a good meal and a few glasses of even better wine, we didn’t pay it much leave. On Sunday morning, though, about 12 hours after that cloudburst, camera in hand, I went to look. The driveway had, indeed, played host to a not-so-small stream. Wet mud was still lying on the tarmac on the street corner, and the sun glistened off the little puddles that remained on the gravel road opposite our house.
The air was clear, the hills and mountain ranges, slightly misty. The dust was gone and our village was sparkly clean in the morning light.
Mr Sunbird was so happy about the dust-free Cape Honeysuckle (Tecomaria capensis), that he was oblivious to the camera.
Under the trees from which raindrops had hung diamond-like, the night before, a perfect web.
Best of all though, were the elliptical, crystal drops of water, still clinging to some of the leaves.
So far, this week, we’ve been blessed with rain every day and/or every evening. And over the last two months, we’ve been blessed with divine water of a different sort. About which I shall share when I have a little more time to cobble together the not-so-short story.
Until next time
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa
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