I sit on the stoep’s wooden park bench
With a glass of amber Scotch in my left hand
Smokey, my beloved cat, purrs contentedly on my lap.
I gaze out: my eyes travel beyond the garden’s cotoneaster-hedge
To the smooth outline – only interrupted by the odd besembos – of the koppies yonder.
A replete hanslam bleats habitually from his hok
While I hear the milk-cows lowing urgently for their calves – weaned for the night
An African hoepoe struts importantly across the lawn, curved beak at the ready to retrieve a morsel.
A tired Isuzu bakkie, diff whining from years of wear and tear, passes on the gravel road: an industrious neighbour returning to his sanctuary: his oasis
The dust plume hangs heavy: a sign of a low-pressure system I tell myself.
I feel cold drops of condensate collecting on my left index finger – there must be moisture in the (unforgiving) Karoo’s air
The telephone suddenly rings in the passage; I choose to ignore it
The peace surrounding me punctuated by the rhythmical tick-tick of the Rainbird sprinkler irrigating the lawn keeps me magnetised, almost trapped, to my seat.
I love words like moer, deurmekaar, maar, sukkel, mooi, braai, bliksem, mos, and kuier- they’ve taken up permanent residence in my vocabulary
The spiritual-like call of the African Fish Eagle perched on a lifeless tree stump in the Big Dam disturbs my network of thoughts, now, about how to survive the dusty drought … Smokey adjusts his posture …
when wise words from my late father come to life:
“Jong, there’s never been a drought that hasn’t been broken!” ….
The rainbird bursts into song
And I take a slow, deep slug of my Johnny Walker on-the-rocks.
Richard Smart, Munich, Germany, 15 Feb 2014.