Is there better soul food than the slow slide of dusk to nightfall? Is there anything to match it for feel-good factor?


Not where I live.


When we arrive at the dam, the big dam (the Outpost is flanked by two, one smaller than the other though both swollen happy and fat from recent good rains) the sun is still quite high and drums the earth so that sand is warm beneath our feet. Hat rides her bike and the dogs tear about in an ecstasy of new smells and mud and water. We are all tall; the sun is no longer sitting on noon and we short and stout, instead it’s put us in a rack and stretched us so that we are pin thin and gangly, as if it’s trying to pull us over the horizon with it.




It’s quiet. And it’s not. The dogs splash and bark at everything and nothing. The air is punctured by bird calls. But the absence of car horns and voices and the melancholy hoot of trains mean I only hear silence. Glorious, settling, silence.


As the sun sinks, dragging the heat and shadows with it, a few torn fragments of cloud gather about it as if in conference: ‘you gonna be around tomorrow or should we come out?’. The answer in the Outpost, at this time of the year anyway, is always, ‘Nope; I’ll be here’. The clouds blush then, a faint tell-tale pink, a little embarrassed that they’d have dared presume otherwise.


Night comes bustling in quickly here. Shooing away the sun when it thinks it’s had its day, hurrying it suddenly, urging it to take its heat and light – which as it collapses into distant hills, is filtered through trees – with it.





Low enough now to admire its reflection in the water’s surface which it forges bling-blindingly gold, the sun is making the most of final moments of glory. A showoff.




It’s cool suddenly. My beer is empty and I need a jumper. Hat clambers from the roof top from where she’s been watching the antics of the dogs and telling me about the book she is reading, Frances Hobson Burnett’s Secret Garden. It is inscribed with my grandmother’s name and the price, she remarks, was just two shillings. “Was that a lot of money then, Mum?”

We drive back into town. It isn’t dark yet. I can’t see the sun but I know where it’s hiding: behind the hills which are wearing a giveaway halo. 






8 Responses to “Sundowners”

  1. Tom Says:

    The “gloaming” is my favorite time of day. Colors glow from within and the air is soft. It just doesn’t last long enough.

  2. R. Sherman Says:

    We watch the sunset moving north each day until summer, when it sets over the steeple of the Lutheran church a couple of miles off. Then it starts south again.

    Thanks for causing me to think about it.


  3. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Gloaming. It’s a funny word isn’t it? Not pretty exactly, but not ugly either. Sort of Glow and Foam? I agree: it doesn’t last long enough.

    Mr Sherman: how lovely. I don’t have a fixed point by which to measure but I notice how they slide a little to the left as I watch them over the weeks from the dam.

  4. kayak woman Says:

    We watch the sunset move across our Lake Superior beach horizon in the summer. Unfortunately, not every night, as work keeps us in hot, humid lower Michigan too much of the summer.

    Great post. Made me feel Africa a bit (never been there) and it brought back good memories of reading Secret Garden with my girls.

  5. Maggie May Says:


  6. Lulu Says:

    Do you actually think you can write posts like that and not expect complete strangers to turn up at your door? Actually I did live in Africa once, so maybe we did meet. And now I have a new best friend called Chanelle who you appear to know, so do friends or friends in the blogosphere count as people who can come and visit? (and I left a comment once a long time ago, so I feel as if I’ve known you for years)…although you never replied x

  7. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    didn’t I? reply? that’s bloody rude of me; i apologise unreservedly. i need all the friends i can get here in outpost, real flesh and blood variety being thin on the ground. absolutley: friends in blogsphere do count. so do come. we can watch the sun, drink cold beer and you can remind me what the real world is like. x

  8. Lune Says:

    What a beautiful post, I live in the mountains so we have no dusk whatsoever, unless you climb up very high. How lovely to be able to experience it in Africa!
    thanks for that.

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