In the movie, Out of Africa, Karen Blixen, one of my all time greatest heroines, immortalized the phrase: "I'm better at hello than goodbye."
I know how she feels. With my move to the UK now imminent, I'm suddenly so aware of what I'm leaving behind on the African continent. I don't even want to mention my friends or my beloved aunt and mother-in-law, my last remaining family here. The loss of you all is just too painful to consider. So, I allow my mind to drift to other, less tangible things, but no less painful . . .
That eerie royal-blue sky just before a thunderstorm when the light is so vivid all the colours stand out in bold relief. The Jacaranda trees, shining purple and almost too brilliant to look at against that sky . . .
The smell of the dust when the first raindrops, the size of shiny coins, splatter the ground. A burnt smell, almost like ozone after a lightning strike . . .
Lightning . . . that incredible cosmic pyrotechnic display that entertained me as a child and thrills me as an adult . . .
Catching the first whiff of the evening campfire, that indescribable smell of burning mopani or camel thorn wood, that spells closure of the day . . .
Insane sunsets . . . purple, orange, pink, red, black and blue. Yes blue, as the day fades and the night claims the sky. Venus, always first, looks down on us, cold and uncaring . . .
Steak cooked on the coals. The aroma of bread or a cake baking . . . Birthdays spent in the bush, complete with frosting on the cake, balloons and candles . . .
Long evenings around the fire. Laughter. Songs. Every world problem solved . . .
Even longer walks into the bush to see the stars. All sixty billion spangled galaxies there on display in a sky unpolluted by anything but dust . . . Humbling. Uplifting. Inspiring . . .
The heady scent of wild sage perfuming in the night air . . . Nights filled with the promise of hyena, genet and other noctural visitors to the campsite . . .
The smell of elephant dung, shouting wild, free, open spaces in a language that is unequivocal . . .
The azure sky - not milky-white as one sees so often in the northern hemisphere - arched above, stretching on forever, home to soaring eagles and squabbling sparrows. Endless. Unchanging.
Home . . .
Have a wonderful weekend.