Sutherland's Freezing Landscape

Posted in clicking 365 project

Sutherland's Freezing Landscape

Dedicated Photographers are disciplined. They set off at the crack of dawn and wait until the sun has set and the blue hour has passed before switching off their cameras. It’s a fact. Those are the rules for the golden hours. So, instead of spooning in the freezing Karoo after a long uncomfortable night in a short, small, vintage double bed with an Oregan Pine slatted foot-and-end, I leapt out of the feathers.  Still in my red flannel pyjamas I donned my furry moccasins (from Canada), warm puffer jacket (from Truworths), gloves, scarf and beanie (all Woolies)!  And like a gazelle (with a stiff hip, scaped shin bone and slightly cricked neck), I limp out to see the sun rise over the koppies.

The earth was covered in frost,  small pools were frozen solid and tiny succulents were beaded with miniscule drops of frozen dew.  This is exactly what we came for.  It would’ve been a sin not to see this spectacular landscape, so full of vibrant autumn colour.  The air is really clean here, it’s evident on the smallest rocks, lichen in various sizes, colours and patterns grow everywhere.    I stopped and filled my lungs with pure, crisp, freezing oxygen and puffed out cloudy steam until my eyes watered and my chest burnt.

Along the "Romantic" path I walk to the spruit. Not a sound, until, there in the distance the first Karoo Chats and Laughing Doves start calling, and then tiny stringy wisps of smoke start appearing from chimneys a way off in the distance.  Townsfolk were stirring too.  The three cottages on the farm were still dead to the world, city folk catching up with some well-earned sleep.  I’m sure Precious was pleased too, he could strip the extra heavy woollen blanket, switch off the electric blanket and kick out the now frozen hot water bottle!  Bless!

It wasn’t until I spotted our very chic Japanese neighbour getting into the Land Rover that I ducked and Leopard crawled home, I was so conspicuous they must’ve thought I was slightly mad.  There was my Precious waiting on the stoep with coffee and rusks.  Ansel Adams would be proud; Precious thinks The-Burnt-Out-Actress (or the wrath of God) is back, he still smiles when he sees me though!

The poems below were dotted along the path:

The Passionate Shepherd to His Love - by Christopher Marlowe -1599

Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That valleys, groves, hills, and fields
Woods or steepy mountain yields

And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks
By shallow rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flower, and a kirtle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;

A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair lined slippers for the cold
With buckles of the purest gold;

A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs;
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me and be my love.

The shepherds' swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.

The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd - by Sir Walter Raleigh - 1600

If all the world and love were young,
And truth in every shepherd's tongue,
These pretty pleasures might me move
To live with thee and be thy love.

Time drives the flocks from field to fold,
When rivers rage and rocks grow cold;
And Philomel becometh dumb;
The rest complain of cares to come.

The flowers do fade, and wanton fields
To wayward winter reckoning yields;
A honey tongue, a heart of gall,
Is fancy's spring, but sorrow's fall.

Thy gowns, thy shoes, thy bed of roses,
Thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy posies,
Soon break, soon wither, soon forgotten,
In folly ripe, in reason rotten.

Thy belt of straw and ivy buds,
Thy coral clasps and amber studs,
All these in me no means can move
To come to thee and be thy love.

But could youth last and love still breed,
Had joys no date nor age no need,
Then these delights my mind might move
To live with thee and be thy love.