The sea is silver at dawn. Unedited,  I upload the photo I take. It’s cast in pewter. A single lean fisherman steps into the frame, his spear hooked across his shoulder. I see him every morning. At the same time. Sometimes he waves.

Mornings are hot and still but the breeze quickens by noon. The Kaskazi is blowing fiercely now.  From north to south.  A flock of brilliant butterflies flits down the reef in front of me. They’re the kites on a 1000 klm journey from above Malindi to tropic exotic cloveandspices Zanzibar. I wave from my beach, willing them on in their noble cause, raising awareness of our beautiful oceans. My heart swells and for the briefest moment I think I may cry.

By mid afternoon the tide is high, a swollen spring, the beach is all eaten up and the sea runs with wild white horses tossing foamy heads. The palm fronds lift and fly as ladies skirts and the fan above my head rotates all on its own. Magically, Mother Nature spinning the blade for there is no power to do it.

Everybody’s back at work. The cottages here are all empty, closed up. Verandahs no longer decked with colourful kikoy cushions, strung with bright beach towels and swim wear, strewn with flipflops and masks. All the guests have gone home. They’ll have opened their cases, smelt the last of the sun and the sea and the salt and they’ll have tipped their damp beach clothes into the washing machine and the floor beneath their feet will be dusted with the sand that spills.

And for a moment they will want to weep.

But, they will tell themselves sternly, there’s always next year. Always another time.

As for me, my work is with me, I flip the lid of my laptop and settle to write, with the vastness of the Indian Ocean roiling at my feet, meters away, its spray settles to my skin so that I can taste the sea on my lips when I lick them. The sea drums and the wind roars and the cicadas hiss in agitation at being buffeted about in tree tops and behind me a bantam sounds a late afternoon crow and despite the cacophony, there is a calm.

I think of Amelia, getting better every day; I think of those big beautiful butterflies dancing their way south and I think of holidays and next times and the sand in my shoes when I finally get home.

One Response to “Butterflies”

  1. iotamanhattan Says:


    This post read like a sigh of relief.

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