Monday, July 12, 2010

Berg Winds

There must have been rains, recently. For although the earth is dust now, bone white and bone dry, there is evidence preserved within it: spindly three-toed bird tracks, a string of jackal prints. And hoof-marks, of blessbuck and springbok and red-hart wildebeast, like sectioned strawberries, like cloven flint spearheads, like arrows on a crumpled map, pointing this way and that. I like the crunch of them underfoot.

We walk on, past white thornbush and feather-edged cacti, not quite desert, not quite bush.

And then, just ahead, evidence made flesh: they stand, white-socked, curious on the path, horns pricking the empty sky. Then one shies, and suddenly they are all in flight, like the trickle of sand when it turns almost liquid, a golden stream flowing across the path, fleeing us.

One of my felow hikers pauses.

"Feel that?"

I stop too. There is a warm wind picking up across the Burntkraal hills.

"That's called a 'Berg wind. Comes down from the mountains. Hot."

I breathe it in, smell the land it's come from.

"It means change is on the way."

We don't say anything for a moment, feeling it play across our bare skin.

Then we walk on.






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