Waiting for Dust to Settle …

When the sun comes up, it rises from the back of the house and peeps over the roof and tiptoes into the garden and casts, first, before it settles on the grass, a halo upon tree tops. And then the light sinks to the lawn which – because of an extraordinary abundance of water – is green despite the high white heat of summer. Beyond the garden, the lionsmane yellow of the scrub is straggled in stark contrast and when the wind whips, dust spirals and dances into the garden to lace the bluecoolness of the pool. When the rain comes, and we’re waiting for it with tight, hot, bated breath, the dust will settle.

The house is long and low. Conceived by a Zambian minster who ran out of money it has existed both as home and hotel. The plethora of redundant bathrooms endorse its brief foray into the hospitality industry. It’s too big for us, for Ant and I: we appropriate only a small portion of its cavernous hugeness. We close doors against emptiness so that we are not constantly reminded of the children’s distance. It’s an elastic house; when they all come home for Christmas there will be boundless space for everybody to have a spot of his or her own to create noise and mess or find peace and quiet. Sometimes, when I stand at one end and call the dogs, they can’t find me. Pili, anxious, exuberant, still puppyish two years later, skids on polished parquet floors in her haste to race through corridors and when she does, finally, come upon me, slips and slides some more to show how pleased she is that I am still here. They have been as unsettled as I.

In the evening we sit on the verandah and listen to the guinea fowl cackling in the bush nearby. Arguing, each wanting to be heard above the other, each with a more valid point to make or a better story to tell. The garden is full of birds, paradise fly catchers sweep through, long tails trailing. My days are punctuated by bird call. And then the sun rolls out of the sky and bursts in a show of cranberry pink on a western horizon behind trees so that I can’t see its final moments but I can see boughs and branches on fire and know it’s happening.

The dust hasn’t settled on our lives yet. I remain on tenterhooks wondering if this will all be alright. If it will last. I don’t know yet. But I do know that for now this is a good place to sit still, quietly, taking stock.

This is my fifth home, in a third country, in eleven months. I think it’s a good place to gather myself up.

But I hope the rain comes soon …

19 Responses to “Waiting for Dust to Settle …”

  1. janelle Says:

    oh HURRAH! you’re in! from the piccie and your writing it looks and sounds, well, perfect for now. so happy for you… xxx

  2. janerowena Says:

    Me too! I think I could cope with that view very happily. And it’s surprising how quickly you get used to lots of space, I think it’s harder to downsize.

    • reluctantmemsahib Says:

      I agree janerowena, harder to downsize. i’ve done that twice this year and my word i wish i hadn’t … keep thinking of the funny bits of furniture i have left dotted in my wake which would fill up some space now!

  3. Elaine - I used to be indecisive Says:

    Lovely photo – it looks lush and idyllic.

    • reluctantmemsahib Says:

      Elaine – it is isn’t it: lush and idyllic. in the outpost, at the time of year, the garden would be sandpaper rough and dry, we had no water there, zambia is awash with it, threaded with rivers and a high water table. we’re lucky.

  4. Leilani Lee Says:

    You are such an amazing writer and I find myself, after reading your blog, wondering “why do I even bother…” I hope things go well for you.

    • reluctantmemsahib Says:

      oh don’t feel like that Leilani Lee. i think we all think everybody’s writing is better than our own because we read our words all the time and tire of them. i think our own writing is like our own cooking; we get bored of it. I certainly do of mine: food and words.

  5. limner1Limner Says:

    Girl, you are so lucky. I’d faint or play dead from joy if I could hop countries as often. 🙂 I inhale deeply when I read your posts. Silly me. Sometimes I swear I can smell those photos.

    • reluctantmemsahib Says:

      limner you are funny: play dead from joy! wish the bloody packers hadn’t broken my kiln in transit from one of those countries to another though. still, all part of the adventure! Those photos smell of dust and imminent rain and the jasmine which hangs out by the verandah.

  6. Family Affairs Says:

    Well, that all sounds very positive – where in Zambia are you? Lx

  7. Addy Says:

    No wonder you are unsettled. Fifth home in a third country in eleven months. That says it all. Hope the dust settles soon. I love your posts by the way… such an eloquent writer.

  8. Jan Says:

    That certainly is a lovely view, I’m jealous.

  9. Ann Says:

    A bit different from when I first started reading your blogs from Outback about 4(ish?) years ago. Your life always sounds so exotic but at the same time sometimes a bit scary. I love your writing.

  10. welshhillsagain Says:

    How fascinating to see how different our lives and our problems are. I am not sure I could hold onto my calm in the face of quite so many upheavals. It’s a salutary reminder that, when my life sometimes feels to have narrowed as we cope with looking after my aged father in law, there can be such a thing as too much change!

  11. Leaving Home | Reluctant Memsahib Says:

    […] No, I admitted, just as sadly, it’s not. So we moved to one which was as impractical as it was unconventional, but which was much more Me (and Ant); it sat squatly amidst ten acres of bush so – within a spit […]

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