Lying on the grass, watching the birds, while Mr. Omar was snorkeling in the shallows, I noticed two hawks circling overhead. They reminded me of vultures. When I saw them, I thought, “Huh, that’s unusual. I don’t normally see raptors here. Wonder if they see something dead or if they’re hunting.” The hawks moved on. I started thinking of flight patterns and recent photographs. I caught a wasp to take home and look at under the microscope. Ten minutes later, the police called everyone out of the water. A kid had gone missing in the middle of the dam. At 8 meters deep, no one could reach the bottom to find him. Divers were coming to find the body, now drowned.
I’ve known more than a few people to have met gruesome ends in this country; some harder to stomach than others. I prefer not to dwell on the details; normally, I just light a candle, cry a small river and snuggle my parrot for longer than the daily average.
After one incident that was especially difficult, I found myself on Strandfontein beach, watching this surfing crab ride in on the waves. I followed him around the sand for a while and snapped a photograph. Then I went on to have my candle, cry, snuggle, and life went on.
I didn’t realize how much birds and seas have in the past calmed the storm until in this moment they became players in the drama. But, life moves on, as it must, for it really is short when you think of it; there’s little sense in wasting what’s there. All I can hope is that when my atoms fall back into the void, I hope they will at least find themselves with feelings of having once been happy and well-informed about themselves, playful and ready for their next big adventure.