Far from Madding Crowds


It’s ages since we walked the dam.

It is shrunken and shallow and the pelicans that lived there have hefted themselves heavily into the heavens and gone elsewhere.

But the green around it abounds with a soothing stillness.

I can hardly complain of Madding Crowds but we all need to get away from it all. Whatever the All is.

And so we do, with dogs and cold beers and a camera.

And we hear the gabbling call of a turaco, the hysterical shrieks of mongoose as they catch our scent and scream at their young to come home right away. Right Now, I said! The odd over inquisitive one peeps a small black-beady-eyed face out of a burrow and pops back down directly to report our progress to the others.

And the quiet; we hear the quiet. You know you’re listening to silence when you can pluck separate sounds from it. Because they don’t meld and blur as white noise.


And the big blue sky was shot with spangled light and the water shone like a mirror as the sun lowered itself gracefully behind distant purplebruised hills and the ants in the whistling thorns scurried for cover from my lens and the long grass blushed and shivered and nodded wooly heads at the tiniest whisper of wind and then the moon, full and fat and waxy, rose, hoisted on silver threads.

 And we went home and left the mongoose alone.


18 Responses to “Far from Madding Crowds”

  1. Tash Says:

    your photography just gets better and better. So does your poetry xx

  2. Catofstripes Says:

    Not often that I feel jealous of you, but that sounds so wonderful.

  3. Nora Says:

    I envy you that time on the dam. I could have used some of that. It would have done my body and soul a lot of good.

  4. daisyfae Says:

    thank you for taking me to a place i may never visit…

  5. rosiero Says:

    Lovely atmospheric post and great photos.

  6. Miss Footloose Says:

    Thank you for reminding me of the beauty of silence! Your photos and words are lovely.

    I’ve heard the silence in Kenya, and in Armenia and in Italy, and always I know I should find more of it more often, make it a priority.

    Then ordinary life takes over, and I forget again.

    Again, I enjoyed being reminded by your post!

  7. Carrie Says:

    Simply lovely.

  8. R. Sherman Says:

    It’s cold and gray and there’s a foot of snow outside my window. Thanks for this post and the photos.


  9. Elaine Says:

    amazing photos, heart stilling words. Thanks.

  10. Rob Says:

    Lovely photos. Looks more like a summer picnic outing in England than a trip out to “the dam” in Darkest Africa. It’s amazing how much better a beer tastes in a setting like that, with the sun going down and the moon rising.

  11. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    thank you Tash; high praise from one who does it better x

    Catofstripes: I don’t often envy me, but those walks take some beating!

    Nora – here’s sending you some then; it’s always balm to my own soul. The Dam.

    a pleasure daisy; thank you for joining me.

    thank you rosiero x

    thanks for dropping in Footloose; Armenia? How fascinating.

    thanks Carrie!

    Mr S: sending you sunshine and warmth then!

    Thank you Elaine, it’s a heart stilling place with lots of space to gather thoughts and reorder them a little.

    Oh doesn’t it Rob – always taste better in the bush. A beer. And tea too! x

  12. paradiselostintranslation.blogspot.com Says:

    Becalming & beguiling photos. Thanks for posting them.

  13. nuttycow Says:

    Great photos RM. By the colour of the grass it looks like you’ve had *some* of the El Nino rain?

  14. Mud Says:

    Evocative and calming. Blissful.

  15. carol Says:

    Fab photos…. it wouldn’t have been silent if my three young had been around though…. they all asking when we can go and visit!

  16. MissingMoshi Says:

    Anthea thank you for gifting me with a small piece of my childhood.
    I miss seeing Kili, the giraffe, the thorn trees, the dust, and how close the moon looks in the night sky.
    I would love to email you. Is that possible?

  17. Leilani Lee Says:

    I read you blog and want to weep with the beauty of you writing and then I look at what I have written on my own blog and wonder, “Why bother.” Terrible trap we humans sometimes fall into, comparing ourselves with others and then feeling inferior. I just need to get over it and keep on.

  18. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    thanks Paradise: my amateur experiments mean i make a million mistakes – thank god for digital photography!

    we have nutty, we have, more as i write …

    ah Carol, what i would not give to have a home made noisey with a house full of kids! x

    MissingMoshi: ‘how close the moon looks in the night sky’, how lovely.

    Leilani Lee: never compare your writing to anybody elses: we all write diferently and that’s the joy of writing. and reading. the colours we create because as individuals we tack words together in different patterns: keep writing x

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: