Thursday, 19 September 2013


Grey-backed mouse birds in the papaya tree outside my window, landing on rotten branches, squawking when they snap. A parrot – my first parrot in a long time – perched on the power line, in front of the lake and the sunset. The sun was so bright behind it, I could not see its colour, only sensing it faintly, tugging at my senses.

I bought several long, long skirts in an attempt to be culturally appropriate, so I feel faintly ridiculous, and yeah, OK, maybe a little princess-like as I sweep along the rocky dirt path outside our askaried gate. Dragonflies flit around my skirts.

Some are jet black, with dark-tipped wings, like miniature fighter jets. Like the birth of three stripes, and when they’re flying fast they seem continuous. I found the other dragonflies boring enough, with military green bodies, until one flew right through the sunlight and its wings gleamed – pure gold! They are gorgeous, precious. Hundreds swoop around my feet.

Cordon bleus: tiny sparrows with dull brown wings and china-blue breasts hopping through frangipani branches. Birds that look like crows, till the sun flashes on their feathers – they glisten blue. I named them navybirds, and found out their true name is ‘superb starling’.

The yellow weaver birds, miniature sunshines, are eternally busy constructing nests. I spot an iridescent green butterfly as large as my hand flapping drunkenly over the grass.

I can’t deny that there’s astonishing beauty all over the world. But I’m quite sure God let His imagination run wild when it came to Africa.

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