Saturday, 17 November 2012

Living in Paradise

It's just a year ago that we packed up and moved to Zululand.  The move happened so quickly, that I didn't have time for regrets, only a sense of adventure and excitement.  In between settling down in my new position and getting to know the people, was the strangeness of feeling like it's always holiday time.  The beach is just 5 minutes away and our new home has a view over Lake Mzingazi.

The sky has a special hue at the coast and whether it's sunny or overcast seems to glow with a deep colour in shades of blue or grey.  Last week, there was a double rainbow across the road and I was reminded that God promised Noah that He would never destroy the world by flood again.  I remembered those words when the hospital was put on disaster alert with the cyclone!

 There is something special about being able to go to the beach for a picnic after work.  Each Wednesday we are greeted with the "Dawn Patrol" of mongoose and monkeys who know that we will all be putting out our dustbins.  Easy food supplies for them. They crash on the the roof and leap into the trees if we wave at them.  They cheekily lift the dustbin lids up and check the contents, not even blinking of you shout at them!  The mongoose are more skittish and dash off into the bushes at the slightest movement.   We have had an uninvited monkey thief who, taking advantage of the open window, crept inside and ate all the food in the kitchen leaving the dregs and handfuls of  flour spread all over the place!  You only leave windows open once!

Weekends are full of activity with new and exciting places to discover around every corner.  iMfolozi-Hluhluwe has become a favourite and we always see a lot of elephant and rhino, and until now have had to be content with our friend's stories of lions and leopards! An early start on a Saturday morning and we soon have coffee and rusks at the riverside.  Here we have seen elephant, lion and buffalo all at the same time!  A choice of routes, either the grasslands or the rolling hills where King Shaka used to hunt, and a slow drive takes us to the lunchtime picnic site.  The wide open spaces of the game reserve always calm body and soul.

St Lucia is an equally special place to visit and each time we go, we find another treasure.  Getting up really early to catch the sunrise on the beach was worth it.  I got lovely photos for my photography course homework, with the cry of the Fish Eagle and the hippo grunting in the background.  The drive through iSimangaliso Wetlands Park always brings a surprise. This time it was big purple waterlilies along the main road, after the recent rain, with the brightly coloured African Jacana tiptoeing carefully among the leaves.  The warthogs were huge, running through the grass with their tails high in the air.  We even saw buffalo and rhino along with waterbuck, commom duiker, red duiker, zebra, kudu and impala. 

 The early mornings are best for exercise, it's cool (important when cool means 25 degrees C!) and the sun comes up fast, sending pink and orange fingers of colour into the sky.  The birds are at their best, serenading the day with whistles and chirps.  We've get to see the yellow billed kite fly across the sky and hear the cry of the fish eagles who nest across the water.  I just know the day will be great when I see the Long Crested Eagle sitting on the lamp post as I drive to work.  He keeps silent watch on the commuters as we dodge and weave past the pots holes and road works.  In the evening he's still there - although in a different spot!

"The Lord will work out His plans for my life - for Your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever." Psalm 138:8