As my time on the banks of the Thamalakane River draws to a close, I find myself taking especial note of all that goes on around me.
The feel of sand road under my feet on early morning walks, the squirrel high on the branch of a Mopane Tree silhouetted against the morning sky, the hint of blue reflecting a break in the clouds in a diminishing puddle. And the sky. Always the sky with its extraordinary gallery of clouds, lit up by the sun from break of day to the ending of the same in a brilliant shower of splendid colour.
It has been a wet season and the earth shows its appreciation in the lushness of the bush, the brilliance of the trees. Birds abound and celebrate the plenty with industrious nest building, some producing two clutches of young. I am going to miss this ceaseless activity when I return home and the sound of birdsong is replaced with the hum and grind of traffic.
The mornings wake up with the call of the Woodlands Kingfisher, the cry of the Fish Eagle, the endless song of the White browed Robin Chat. The African Jacanas cluck in the riverbed, Black Crakes, Red billed Teals, Gallinules and many others joining in the harmony. The other night I fell asleep to the boom boom of Giant Eagle Owls calling to each other, the short sharp whistle of bats, the racket of frogs.
Living in a place not yet fully cluttered with civilisation, I have been fascinated by all that has gone on around me. How quickly eggs hatch, how young birds are fed even when they are out of the nest. I watched two Black Crakes dare a leguaan to harm their young, or their eggs I couldn’t figure out which. I have discerned the different nature of three types of dove. The Mourning Dove a miserable aggressive fellow, always fighting, their wings clapping the beat of beak on breast. They bully the quieter Red eyed Dove and the Laughing Dove.
Then there are the Hartlaub Babblers who hop stiff legged in search of food, and sometime gratify with a raucous performance, their heads bobbing. The pretty fussy paradise flycatchers flitter through the bush cheeping excitedly to each other. The list goes on and on. I have listed over 70 species of birds, most of them seen here in this garden.
I have taken many photographs, some videos, to complement my memories as I look out over the park framed by streets when I am home. And it is in those moments, as I reflect on these two mystical months, that I will raise my eyes and silently shout: My God How Great Thou Art!