Thursday, January 3, 2019

Green and yellow

Michael - Thursday

Knysna is starting 2019 green! That's good news in a part of the world that has permanent restrictions on watering gardens, filling pools, and washing cars. We're not as badly off as Cape Town - last year they nearly ran out of water altogether - but one is careful always. It seems strange to worry about water while spending one's time gazing out over the gorgeous Knysna estuary - a confluence of five rivers running into the sea. But it's salt water, and anyway it's a delicate ecosystem most of which is a national park. It has enough human disturbance already.
View to the north west
The devastating fires that wiped out 400 houses along this coast (it burnt off the land where I'm typing this - fortunately there was no house here at the time!) was two and a half year's ago, and the remaining impact on the landscape is the skeletons of trees that have yet to fall or be removed. The fynbos (the unique floral kingdom of this part of the world) is used to fires and recovers fairly quickly. There is already a small pincushion with a few flowers growing next door.

On New Year's day, we celebrated with a long walk through the Knysna forest. It's a wonderful indigenous coastal forest with tall yellowwoods, stinkwoods, and other wonderful trees that escaped the logging era. Some are more than five hundred years old. They survived the fires too - it was the plantations of pines and blue gums with their dry undergrowth and explosive sap where the fires raged.

Pat took the photos.

Dalene Matthee Yellowwood

Fallen giant

Forest walkway

Perhaps strangely, I'm as attracted to deserts as I am to forests, although I much prefer to live in a less harsh environment. So here, to try to explain that attraction, is a selection of pictures from the Kalahari taken by Aron Frankental.
Crab spider
Incidentally, Aron has a bit part in A Carrion Death as a German geologist at Maboane Diamond mine.  I’m glad to say that, unlike his namesake in that book, Aron is in excellent health!
Chanting Goshawk and young

Flowering succulents
Ground squirrel
Gemsbok on a calcrete ridge
A rare storm gathers over the Kalahari

Wherever you are, I wish you plentiful water in 2019. Plentiful, but not a flood! Hopefully, the last year of the decade will focus on environmental issues that are now very urgent.


  1. Hear! Hear! (For your ending wish...)

    Lovely pictures, lovely forest. While I can APPRECIATE a desert, my heart lives in the trees.

    1. I think most people would agree with us. Yet little seems to be achieved. Let's hope this year is different!

  2. I live amid a forest, where the rain seems to come every day, but if not rain, snow. I am tempted to move to the desert. But there everything bites or stings or burns. Choices, decisions, consequences. But with this post, beauty. Happy New Year, Michael.

  3. And to you, Jeff! Looking forward to seeing you at Bouchercon if not before.

  4. Great photographs. Yes, I think this has to be the year of the environment! Hopefully the message is getting through.

    1. Well, your blog shows some encouraging trends. (Just not the Jackfruit!)