A celebration of the sun on this autumn equinox, the day in which the sun crosses the equator and day and night are roughly equally long. This morning, the sun had to fight the fog first, which led to these beautiful rays of light filtering through the trees.
Although the leaves are still green, it is clear that the seasons are shifting. In the mornings, a fine fog cloaks the farther away trees. Only once the sun is strong enough, this mist dissipates. The look of the forest is colder than a few weeks ago. Winter is coming!
This is Poes. Poes has adopted us. After staying in our holiday rental for two weeks, we saw her peering at us from the bushes. She walked to our terrace, inspecting the table and the chairs, completely ignoring us. The next day, when we were having a braai, she was back again. I gave her a little scrap of meat, and she started purring. Now she comes multiple times a day.
I don’t think she has an owner. Her nails are long, she thinks inside is a strange concept, she doesn’t want water from a bowl and she doesn’t understand how fun a box can be. We don’t feed her, but she seems to be getting on very well without that. Last week, she brought half a baby rabbit to our terrace for a snack.
What she does like is to have a chat. When we are inside, she meows outside our window till we come out. She would prefer that we sat outside all day, so she can lie around close to us. Yesterday, we played badminton and she started running around like crazy next to us, jumping, crawling, sprinting. I think she was imitating our fun.
The bad news is that we will only be here for two more weeks…
We had all kinds of plans for this weekend. I had taken this photo of a Dutch windmill a few weeks ago, and the miller wanted to use it. That was fine by me, but I wanted something in return. On Saturday I could come and pick up a packet of cookies for my efforts. Then on Sunday the old pastor of my husband’s new congregation had a farewell service and we were planning to go.
Plans don’t always come to fruition. On Saturday, Hermen had a bad headache and a sniffy nose. What to do in this time? It’s probably nothing, but you never know, do you? So we put our plans on hold. No windmill, and no farewell service. (Nice introduction to the congregation: the pastor who is sick. I guess it’s better than the pastor who made everyone sick…)
On Sunday, Hermen was feeling a lot better, and I snuck out for a little while to get my cookies. They were a nice companion for a quiet day. Different than expected, but also rewarding!
In the Netherlands, bicycles are an important mode of transportation. My bike had been tucked away in a shed for nine years. Last week, we picked it up. After a shaky start, muscle memory kicked in and we rode to see the sun rise over a field of flowering heather in the neighborhood. A gratifying experience!
We have been living in a holiday rental since we arrived in the Netherlands at the beginning of August. The scenery is beautiful, and people tell us, “Oh, it must be nice to have a bit of a holiday.” But that’s not how the last weeks have felt. We’ve been busy arranging all kinds of paperwork, worrying about not having found a house yet, getting to know the congregation, and working from our temporary home.
This week, however, we have decided to have a proper holiday and do some fun things. We went to the zoo and are taking things easy – as good as it goes!
Three weeks ago today we left South Africa to move to the Netherlands. It’s a huge change. I was grateful for the two weeks of quarantine we had to do, because it gave me tome to arrive, to come to term with being back in the Netherlands and not being in Africa anymore. The trees around our holiday rental have welcomed us. I keep taking landscape photos that show how tall they are, so much taller than the average tree in Southern Africa. These trees, they feel like home in a way that African landscapes never have done. That is a great comfort!
The malachite kingfisher is one of the most beautifully colored kingfishers, with its creamy orange belly and dark blue back. If you are lucky, it will even show you its bright blue crest!
Photo taken in Dinokeng Game Reserve.
The African jacana seems to walk over the water and is therefore sometimes jokingly called the ‘Jesus bird’. In fact they are placing their long toes on the stems and leaves of floating vegetation. Jacanas are very special in that they are polyandrous, which means that one female has several male partners who take care of the chicks.Photo taken in Dinokeng Game Reserve.