EARLY SPRING

Never before have the months leading up to spring been this dry; but twice that I  know of we have had much drier years, where the water stops flowing from the dams, even if seepage means there is still a slight inflow. Those are desperate years. This year the sponge of the mountain is still quite wet after two lots of extremely good rain in early 2012, but I’m pretty certain we are at the beginning of a dry cycle. We don’t really feel climate change in South Africa – we are used to cycles of good years and bad years. In fact the last 40 odd years, from my perspective at least, have been less extreme, not more so. Unlike the UK we have not swung from one record to the next these last 20 years…

Freddie's Dam overflow

The memory of those two dry years remain. In fact my own memory of the drought of the 60s and my parents’ recall of the drought of the 30s when my maternal grandfather had to give up farming and move his young family to the city, add a spiritual dimension to the need for rain. And that is why on Friday afternoon’s damp walk, with the week’s rainfall figure heading towards 100mm, I listened to and looked at the gurgling stream and I heard my late mother’s voice say: “Oh if only my father could see the water flow on this farm!”

Taubie drinking from the stream

These shots were taken in poor light on my phone. There were many more – but most too blurred to even consider as snapshots… In the upper photo an unusual view of the rear end of the Icon Bridge, and dogwoods and blossoms and fresh greens in the distance. In the lower photo Taubie celebrates the water in her way, drinking from the brim-full overflow of Freddie’s Dam. Two more shots are worth sharing:

White Cornus florida - dogwood

a white dogwood – Cornus florida and the first leaves on my favourite Japanese maple, one which has the most delicately red young foliage which turns green within weeks.

The Japanese maple with red young leaves

Later: the rain stopped after 101mm. Sunday was gloriously sunny and I went on a long walk with my camera. There are 65 photos I titled and added to the shortlist from 100s. The screenshot of that selection I include now because it best of all illustrates the sudden brightening, the change in the colour palette as spring kicks in… Over the next days – expect some spring colour here!

Screenshot

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