RiverMarch 2015

The river made her forceful music for the first time since the beginning of the rainy season. Swirling dark brown, muddy water made its way past the house in the early morning hours. I did not have to look at her to know that her song was filled with joy. She brought life.

Drought fills everyone with dread. It is a time of suffering and scarcity and a struggle for survival for those who depend on their immediate environment. Living in a nature reserve puts one at the forefront of how animals and flora adapt and employ tactics to optimize survival. The intimacy that is borne from observing immediate natural surrounds holds spellbinding lessons that only nature can provide.

After a severe and unusual hailstorm hit a large portion of our reserve in November 2015, coupled by the absence of good rain, hope started to become a painful emotion, yet, after a few small rain showers here and there from November onwards, the trees and plants that were bare after the hailstorm, produced new foliage. It was a miracle to see how the plants found the courage to continue growing to produce food and shelter for the animals. During this period of re-growth, temperatures started climbing – causing all living things to become limp and drained, yet with the smallest of rainfall, it perked up and continued to survive.

The intricacy of nature is unending; it has the capacity to steep our human souls with unknown wisdom when we move with her rhythm. Drought is part of the greater cycle of life – and as we move into the future with many aspects such as Global Warming and the need for heightened critical thinking with regards to conservation of our natural areas, we subconsciously view natural cycles where abundance is compromised with fear and trepidation. There is a fine line in accepting the cycles of nature and seeing changes in our world that does not conform to what has happened previously. Embracing a negative such as a drought, is difficult, yet one of the most powerful actions we can take to understand our natural world and how we as humans can make change. There is renewal after drought – nature finds a balance to sustain where the strongest survived.

But for now, the river is singing as she rushes to landscapes far from here – where other living beings await the gifts she brings, and hope is renewed.