My wife said, on reading my Last Post, ‘It looks like you’re telling the whole world you’re impotent. And you’re not.’ Bless her. Impartial, naturally, and blunt (Polish Catholic American Canadian), I have to agree with her. There is no impotence here. Impotence is absent. But let me tell you what there’s lots of – as I crest the hill of 65, and open my lungs and breathe deeply – there’s Gasworks. In one end, and out the other, oh yeah baby – the machinery might be starting to creak, at sixty five, but the gasworks is just getting started. […]
Reflecting on the indignities and rewards of middle age, the American author David Sedaris (I got this from the FT) writes, ‘Yes, the washer on my penis has worn out, leaving me to dribble urine long after I’ve zipped my trousers back up. But I have two guest rooms.’ And I think, as 65 peers with hilarious malice through the window, ‘How nice to be middle-aged. Won’t be seeing that again.’ Time, it turns out, is a movie you can’t see twice, a book that is always and only in it’s first, tumultuous, embarrassing draft. A book, moreover, where you don’t […]
It has been a busy week. Last weekend we were in Cape Town, Rob and I, staying in Constantia with my mom: high tea at the Cape Grace Hotel, on a perfect afternoon at the V&A Waterfront, was a treat for us all. Sunday it was brunch with old friends Ian and Pam at the Gardener’s Cottage in Newlands – golden sunlight streaming through oaks, the blue outline of Devils Peak giving way to the bluer sky beyond. Monday was business: meetings with colleagues from UCT and the Harvard Kennedy School, decisions to be made with a provincial government department. […]
For my first Canada Day as a brand-new permanent resident, Rob took me off to Pelee Island, on the ferry, where we watched a Canada Day parade as bright, as happy, as easy-going and genuine as a village fete or a child’s birthday party. It was infectious and entertaining and innocent – simply lovely. This Canada Day, July 1st, 2018, finds me reaching back into my files for an image through which I can share a sense of celebration, of Canadian pride, and gratitude, to my adopted country. A Canadian citizen, I post this from South Africa, the still-troubled land […]
We were returning from the far side of the Madikwe Game Reserve, after dark, after a long drive to see the wild dogs. As we neared our lodge the ranger shone his light on this owl – a Great Eagle Owl, he said. I checked the SASOL Birds of South Africa yesterday, after processing this photo, and (bird expert that I am not) thought it was a Spotted Eagle Owl, not a Great – though still great to observe, in the darkness, staring down at us with those huge yellow eyes. So I posted the image on the BirdLife South […]
From the sublime (black-shouldered kite stooping, early morning, sunlit) to the frankly scatalogical: rhino pooping. Like many of us, I have seen more rhino poop on my many game drives over the years than you can shake a stick at, as the saying goes – but I have never actually caught one of these beasts in flagrante. Madikwe, of course, with its many treats and surprises, would be the place to do so – and indeed, we came upon this leviathan on the job, one sunny afternoon, and I simply had to take photos.
We were out early one morning, in the open Landcruiser, on a game drive in Madikwe, when suddenly I saw this black-shouldered kite stooping, hovering over one spot, then moving away a bit and stopping once more to hover, the rising sun under its wings – a moment of real beauty, edged with menace. I grabbed the Nikon, with the still somewhat unfamiliar 200-500mm lens, and fired off a series of shots – handheld, from the back of the safari vehicle. Would like to do better, but ok I hope for a first effort.
We spent about two hours, I guess, that bright winter morning in Madikwe, waiting our turn to see the two cheetahs, and then moving with them, in careful stages, as they worked their way through the tall grass in an easterly arc around the flank of an approaching herd of grazing zebra. It seemed at one point (I think I have said this before, in a previous blog) that they would make a run at a young one, but they gave it a pass. And then, finally, they saw what they wanted – a young zebra foal with its mother. […]
Towards the end of our game drive, one evening at Madikwe, we pulled up on the opposite side of a large waterhole, across the water, and watched as a herd of elephants with their babies trooped in, and frolicked and drank, and then, on some invisible signal, turned and filed off again, as the sky turned from pink to purple and the shadows deepened.