I follow the path beside the lily ponds. A grey heron, disturbed, lifts off in silent flight. The sun is warm, still casting long shadows. I round the corner of the “Farm Loop” and hear a cough. a solitary bark, it’s very close. I wait, expecting the clatter and chatter of baboons but nothing stirs. An image, a recollection of a ‘spoor’ on yesterday’s walk, which I had pondered. Could it be? Yes, it could. A leopard, master of stealth and camouflage, watching me. I stand in awe then quietly take my leave. Dressed in sage green I hope I look like a helichrysum blowing up the hill.
A watery, bubbling call from the shallow ravine. A ‘Transvaal’ sound before the rain, a “bottle bird”, the Burchell’s coucal, flutters into view and perches on a naked branch. It calls more stridently and is answered from below. A conversation continues. The Cape sugar bird loops in and out of the proteas trailing its long wispy tail, a cisticola ‘zits and tseeps’ beside me and the swallows swoop above.
The road is bright with flowers. Scabiosa in their gentle violet-blue, the colour of my grandmother’s eyes, magenta lachenalia, pelargoniums delicate and white, and tiny wild lobelia.
Pincushions make a fiery splash amongst the mountain’s grays and yellows and greens. I feel sad that they get picked and isolated in a vase, their majesty and drama lost, like a thread pulled from a tapestry and set aside.
I see the sea, the coast, the dunes, beneath a vast expanse of sky.
Onward and upward. White rocks tossed and strewn by some great force.
Then in the stillness, a tiny steenbok heads towards me, nibbling fresh shoots, oblivious of my presence. But now she stops and sniffs the air. I stand stock still and hope she won’t turn tail and bolt.
Ears twitch, she knows I’m there, she looks, and looks again, and slowly walks away.
The ‘Fynbos Trail’ is beckoning me…just one more corner, another view, but I am not equiped to walk all day.
I’m ‘homeward bound’, down into the valley to the containment of the white walled buildings, the centre of gentle activity and generosity of spirit. It’s a welcome place to come back to.
Thank you, Bodhi Khaya and all who live and work there.
Di Steward visited Bodhi Khaya for a self-retreat during November 2011