Monday, September 02, 2013

Snow's melting on my mountain

I'm sitting in the warm corner of the staff dining room, where the temperature seems thankfully higher, the signal stronger than elsewhere on campus, the neon green under the plastic easy-wipe table-cloth brighter, greener.

A cold front of endless storms continues to blast the Cape of Good Hope; snow on Table Mountain this morning (quite rare, apparently), not that I could see any on the shrouded peaks above the house: Newlands is moody Mordor after all.

I was wearing cotton pants, and black slip slops on slender winter-white feet, when the storm arrived five days ago; it arrived very late on Monday afternoon while I was sinking a cafe mocha at Seattle Coffee in Cavendish. I relished the storm's arrival, also its relentless rage-waves.

I love the Cape; I love the weather here; I'm happy here.

It's officially Spring on Sunday. Which still seems very far away from here; I'm well aware that summer arrives early in the north, where I grew up. Right now it'll be dusty and dry up there, with everyone thirsting for the first rains. 

While the grass, and veld, and koppies, will still be winter-brown-bleached-ugly-and-dry, the trees will be optimistically emblazoned in young-bright green. Billowing thunderclouds will also often tease, from a safe distance, on the cobalt blue horizon. Until one static-filled and turbulent-moody afternoon, then they'll roll in close to the earth, for the kill. Elephant grey, pregnant, and streaked haphazardly with searing lightning they'll drench the African earth and nothing will be the same again. Until next year. There will be an all-round sigh of release quickly followed by a deep gulping in of the sweetest ion-laden oxygen.

I fly to Port Elizabeth tomorrow, then drive to Grahamstown for the 17th Highway Africa digital journalism conference taking place there in my beloved Grahamstown.

Grahamstown, Port Elizabeth, the Eastern Cape; they are intrinsically entwined into my DNA strands.

My heart beat increases as my thoughts travel in advance towards there.

[The above I scribbled on a napkin on Friday afternoon, last week.]

I'm now far above the Karoo, the Eastern Cape.

Rolling storms continued to berate and punish Cape Town over night and I don't believe it's going to end until about Tuesday next week.

The woman next to me has just farted; anger and disgust flood me, I hotel she can read these words.

I had less sleep than necessary last night; my words feel meaningless and like dry, dead wood. I continue, writing, writing the paper dry tinder to sparks and flames. I've been taught to write through the obstacles, the heavy deadness.

This morning I'll drive through Port Elizabeth, catching up on changes, refreshing my memories and mind, drawing in deep the fynbos oxygen, and gale force winds, of this city I adore and have spent so much physical, mental and emotional time within.

I see sparks; I'm cranking up the heat. My shoulders are hunched over my iPad; I'm already there.

Port Elizabeth, Grahamstown, Rhodes University, the Eastern Cape province have all played integral roles in the making of me.

PE, as it's more commonly known. I grew up there in the December summer holidays of my childhood and youth.

[Those are my in-flight notes from Saturday morning; I procrastinate my very own flow of notes.]

Photo: Cape Town International's domestic terminal early on Saturday morning. Storm drenched.

1 comment:

Jeff Chandler said...

I love storms! The reminder that there are things out there way more powerful than us, always makes me feel humble.
I wish you happy travels and a happy Spring!