It arrived with a voice that shook the trees and a presence that trembled my marrow. It was the last day of Autumn, in our little town of Knysna, when Winter, with great impatience, arrived early in the Garden Route … and stayed spectacularly.
After the worst drought in 104 years, relieving rain had dropped on us as long as 6 months ago. But it’s now, during the Southern Hemisphere’s cold season, that it’s truly entrenched itself in our evergreen land. It’s uncommon to rain day after day, so much so that the streets of central Knysna and Sedgefield got flooded. The estuary overflowed into 2 of the main roads. Shops got wet. The Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise, which stands way above the water line but beneath a hill, had a stream burst through it’s wall and run through the shop and out it’s front door like a twisted, better metaphor of natural takeout.
The air is fat with water, so much so that when i left a solitary window a fraction open, the walls inside my home dripped wetness for days. I touched a wall and diarized a hand print. The inside roof is scarred by damp. Outside, the path to the granny cottage i stay in, became a torrent, raging through the bottom fence into Pledge Nature Reserve. Rain, like a million suicidal thunders, exploded deafeningly on the plastic, patio roof.
Last week, we had 200ml fall in 48hrs. This time, approximately 75ml fell in a handful of hours. Christians held mass prayer for water during the drought. They never got it then but an ironic god flushes its toilet beautifully, and devastatingly, now.
We’re not alone. If anything, we’re a gasping goldfish between floundering whales. It wasn’t that long ago that half of Pakistan was under water. Most recently, much of Australia went swimming. A few days ago, Tongcheng, a province in China, was up to two metres deep in water, recording a 200-year record of 300ml of rain in just four hours.
We live in an interesting time. Nature isn’t apathetic like the current zeitgeist of humankind. I seek for balance between that bipolarity; wishing the best for those living in the shacks of Knysna, filling my lungs with fresh air, appreciating fill dams, and enjoying the exuberant production of the 2 guava trees in the garden.
I open my arms to cold embrace.