Month: May 2016

Night Time Is The Right Time

First published for Royal Chundu’s blog. “Darkness — like silence, like solitude — belongs to that class of blessings increasingly endangered in modern life yet vitally necessary to the human spirit,” Maria Popova writes in her piece, In Praise of Darkness. As a civilisation, we have, largely, voluntarily, become blind to the beauty of darkness, nightblind, so to speak; constantly, anxiously, trying to replace nightfall with extended day. When last did you sit outdoors and take in the entire night and only the night, giving it your full dedication and seeing in it the poetic beauty it intrinsically holds? Night is the stuff of songs, the muse of musicians… Van Morrison’s Wild Night. Van Morrison’s Here Comes The Night. Ray Charles’ Night Time Is The Right Time. Jimi Hendrix’s Long Hot Summer Night. Frank Sinatra’s Strangers in the Night. What is night good for? What is it not good for? To Ray Charles, night time is the right time to be with the one you love. The Greco-Egyptian writer, Claudius Ptolemy called it cosmic ambrosia. American writer and naturalist, Henry Beston, in his …

You Never Forget An Elephant

 “You know, they say an elephant never forgets. But what they don’t tell you is that you never forget an elephant.” – Bill Murray in the film, Larger Than Life I remember the elephant’s ears, waving outward to make him seem much larger than he was. Although, let’s not beat around the bush (that’s an elephant’s job), he was large, very large. Frighteningly so. The dust beneath him even tried to flee his gait. As he stamped the earth it rose up around him and fluttered to freedom on the back of the wind. It was the game vehicle that carried us away, quickly, but not too quickly. We were here for him, after all. This was Chobe in Botswana, home to more elephants than anywhere else in the world. Moments like this, flapping elephant ears and trumpeting trunks and flying dust are all part of the landscape – as are the calmer moments. I remember these moments best. The languid amble of the herd through the low waters of Botswana’s Selinda spillway during a trip …

An Ode to a Hippo

First published on Royal Chundu’s blog. It was morning, becoming late morning quickly. As it does when your head is under the duvet, denying the intrusion of sunlight. And you, an early riser, always, you let me lie in. You didn’t make a sound. I would have heard; I was listening closely, waiting for you. It was the last morning and I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. Perhaps you weren’t either. Perhaps that explained your silence. Words are never enough, are they? With soulmates we hope that mind-reading will suffice and in a way, at least for that moment, the head-under-the-covers moment, it did, even if I misread the signs, painted them with my own hopes. What was I hoping for? I guess that you were sad too. I would never know; you didn’t even have the sleeves to wear your heart on. I hoped that you would miss me and that even though our homes were in separate parts of the world, our connection would remain. I hoped that part of you would stay with …