I am sitting on a verandah. Not mine; I’m a long way from home.

My view extends for miles. I can’t see the horizon; it is blurred by dust that hangs listlessly in kiln-baked air. The sky – enormous sky, no sky anywhere rivals an African one for sheer magnitude – is powdery blue: high noon has smudged the definition of distant hills as if some careless deity had upended a bottle of talc so that outlines are slippery.

I can see the corrugated iron roofs of huts at the bottom of the hill glinting hotly beyond a dense thicket of trees; villages strung across a plain toasted to biscuit brown. I watch bleached Daz-white egrets fly languidly in search of shade in which to take an avian siesta, respite from the soporific warmth.

I can see a lawn parched – walking across it barefoot is like treading a bed of nails so sharp are those desiccated blades of grass – thirstily awaiting rain (the sky – cloudless but for briefly galloping horse’s tails – is thumbing its nose at scorched gardens though: no rain today it says smugly).

I can hear the leaves of the acacia whisper in the faint breeze which exhales infrequently and briefly: small, shallow, impatient sighs: where’s the bloody rain?

A dog, not my dog (but her company will do) lies beneath my chair. Panting.

That’s what Africa is doing today: panting.

Sprawled hotly at my feet and panting.


7 Responses to “Noon”

  1. nuttycow Says:

    I know those days. Those are the days when you can’t think of anything to do but wait until dusk and the cooling and have an ice cold Tusker. It seems the whole of the land is waiting for the cool or the rain, whichever comes first… even the chicadas can’t be bothered – the only thing to do is sleep 😀

  2. maggie may Says:

    What a different environment to mine. It is dark & raining & cold, here, almost enough for snow.
    It must be a lonely life in the outback. Mind you, I know of many shut in older people in the heart of the city, who do not have visitors or any means of going anywhere. Can be lonely even in a city I suppose. I love your descriptive writing.

  3. Irene Says:

    You’ve described a hot and dry African day very well. I could picture it in my mind and see you sitting there and see the scenery around you. I have no idea what it is like to be a lone white woman in the vast empty space that is Africa, but you describe it very well.

  4. foxhollowjewelry Says:

    Have a wonderful time there…what a wonderful description…there are mountains around me, and the sky is murky with oncoming thunderstorms. My mother called me from Arkansas and told me there were tornado’s all around them…weather goes from kindness to killing so quickly….

  5. Glen Says:

    Dearest this is a description which we can all relate to. A month ago we had just that. Now it’s wet. And more wet. The month of the drowned dog as Ted Hughes once described England in November.

  6. asqfish Says:

    what a lovely description of paused, incessantly unchanging desolation panting for relief. In this case a word is worth a thousand pictures! Keep writing please. Do throw in your thoughts and feelings on the situation at hand too.

  7. carol Says:

    We’ve had weather like that in Nairobi recently…. too hot to concentrate on anything – and now this afternoon there is thunder all around – but no rain as yet…… it will wait till 4.00 when we all have to leave school and everyone will be soaked!

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