Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. Edward Abbey

25 January 2005

Capturing the free

I set out on my daily walk in the veld yesterday, digicam in hand, with the aim of seeing how many "free", wild individuals I could capture in pixels. The answer is two.

At first I had little luck, finding only a group of red hartebees in the distance and some grazing wildebeest closer by. But they were on "the other side of the fence", inside the nature reserve. They are not truly free. So I asked Zepteppe to help me find someone who is truly free. She was trying to be very helpful and headed off, nose to the ground, in the direction of the hedgehog mound. But I felt bad disturbing them and although Zepteppe and Jupiter don't harm them, they do tend to dig open the entrance to their burrow and upset the family when extracting individual hedgehogs to bring to show me. (It's not something I encourage, just something that has happened in the past. Besides the pointer sisters are gundogs, it's in their nature to retrieve - but not harm.) Anyway, I suggested to the sisters that we look for someone else.

As we set off again, the air started buzzing. That's when I noticed my first subject - a bird of prey, circling effortlessly in the distance. The day had been a hot one and she was able to glide on the updrafts. She came close and closer and as I lifted the camera skywards, she flew directly overhead. I managed to snap her image. But she was distracted, I think she was hungry and had little time for me. But she definitely made an effort to come my way during her circling flights. And then she left.

Later on I snapped the second free individual. She was part of a large group. An uber-squadron of dragonflies gathered around me, droning as they hung in the air. They seemed curious and playful. My brain kept telling me they were drawn to the glinting lens of the camera, but collectively the cells of my body told a different story. We (the dragonflies and I) were laughing together, enjoying the breeze and the sunshine after several days of glorious rain.

Capturing the free

They were playing with me. We were happy and free. They were golden in colour and the late afternoon light in humid air just added to their brilliance. Hulle het geskitter. The blue sky and the green grass added to the rainbow.

They kept coming back for more hanging around me, hovering just above my head and slightly in front of me, making sure they were highly visible to me, but just out of reach. I did not have to turn and follow them, they kept coming to me. They would fly off and then return. Never going too far away. There was laughter in the air. Dragonfly laughter. Divine laughter.

The dogs enjoyed the moment too but got bored eventually and wanted to move along. I could have stayed forever, but I had an engagement and had to pull myself away.

I read today that dragonflies' eyes glow not only when alive but continue to do so for a few hours after they die. Not sure if that's true, but they certainly are spectacular people.

The adventures of Kim and the free world continue. Did anyone read Arundhati Roy's latest diatribe?

Capturing the free

"How can you buy and sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. Every part of this earth is sacred to my people." Chief Seattle

12 January 2005

art versus science quote

"Science as the pursuit of truth is the equal, but not the superior of art." - Bertrand Russell

Let's take it further. Science as the pursuit of truth is the equal, but not the superior of daily life, community, relationship, meditation, dogs, gardening or art.

How to boil an egg in a microwave

Don't do it. Just don't do it. Take my word for it. Pricking the egg with a pin beforehand does not help! Sanlie at work asked me whether I thought it safe to boil an egg in a microwave. I said sure go ahead, as long as you make a small hole in the shell with a pin. We did so and needless to say the egg exploded ... everywhere. So, dear fellow ovo-lacto-vegetarians, the tried and tested method of boiling it in water on the stove is still the best. Or, boiling it over a wood fire in an isolated campsite in the middle of the Kalahari is even better still.

We tend to take what others say as truth without trying it ourselves. I confidently believed it was okay to boil an egg in a micro, not because I'd done it myself, but simply because someone somewhere said it was okay. HAH just goes to show there's nothing like first hand experience.

07 January 2005

The Gutteral Toads dam band

The Gutteral Toads dam band

Lead singer in the backyard band, crosses the lawn en route to escaping
the hot African sun. Maybe to catch a nap and prepare for the night's
performance? He is just one of the gutteral toads with whom I share my
home. Wow, and are they noisy at night, at the height of summer? I look
forward to the day when such wonderful animals once again move freely
across the veld without having to cross roads carrying roaring trucks,
speeding BMWs and concrete walls. Roll on peak oil (

The coming anarchy?

Is Robert Kaplan's vision of the future, as laid out in 1994 in his book The Coming Anarchy, being realised?

"In Sierra Leone, as in Guinea, as in the Ivory Coast, as in Ghana, most of the primary rain forest and the secondary bush is being destroyed at an alarming rate. I saw convoys of trucks bearing majestic hardwood trunks to coastal ports. When Sierra Leone achieved its independence, in 1961, as much as 60 percent of the country was primary rain forest. Now six percent is."

His premonition is of a "crumbling" West Africa disolving into criminal anarchy, with gangs of poverty stricken urban youths running amock. He sees this as a microcosm for the rest of the world. His ideas may be compelling, considering what's happened in Sierra Leone recently, but I can hardly agree with him. As a proud African I can only believe that Mbeki and Nepad's vision of an African Renaissance will be realised and from our continent of rebirth and regeneration we will quietly watch western civilisation turn to dust.

Africa remains the only continent still in touch with the spirit world (perhaps with the exception of Antarctica) and I do believe that will be our saving grace. We are the one's who will survive the coming anarchy, not the West! The elephants will once again roam free.

Another hot day, another beautiful storm

Originally uploaded by KiMbali.
How I love storms. They make me feel alive. When a hot January day starts off being unbearable and muggy, that's when you know there will be a a storm brewing later in the day. All day long the heat presses down on you like a clamp. But then a breeze will come up and the trees begin to stir. The light changes. The clouds creep over, the sky closes in upon itself, lightning in the distance .... and suddenly .... a bolt of thunder. CRASH. The rain smashes down. Streams of mud. Then it's all over. The sky clears as the sun goes down. The veld comes alive with sounds, smells and hedgehogs.

06 January 2005

A new year and more destruction, distraction and less interaction. Society crumbles. I feel so humble. But how can we stop the machine, as it rumbles across the jungle? There is no more jungle, just a little in the corner there. Oh let's mow it down too. Goodbye Gabon.