A copper dust swirls like a wake from a boat as the 4×4 pulls in

The sun burns my skin as the breeze cools it
Dust rushes to the back of my throat and I close my eyes
I breathe in the smells, the sounds and the feel of Africa
My son rolls on the lawn with the Ridgeback
And points to a Kingfisher sitting on the electric wire
A swallow sweeps over the veranda diving up into her nest in the thatching
It is a long, lazy, African day on the farm
I hear guinea fowl in the distance and the Ridgeback runs off to chase them
My ginger cat scavengers some sadza from the dogs bowl
The strawberries glisten from the garden spray
I pop one in my mouth – warm from the sun
Damp from the spray – fresh from the plant
Big black African clouds gather on the horizon and
The hot earth begs for a cooling……..I close my eyes…….
…………It is cold and I’m in a rush – I cannot find my keys
The kids on traffic control are wearing bright orange raincoats
A boy drops his ball on the pavement and his Mother reprimands him
Frost sits upon the grass and the sky is dull
We rush into a heated classroom already frosting it’s windows
The children laugh at something said I am greeted with
“How are ya?”
I reply in kiwi talk “Good”
I walk back out into the cold, past the cherry blossoms fighting the wind
The tulips a cacophony of color – the mountains disguised by the mist
Suburbia chatters in voices of traffic, skateboards and dogs..
I stop a moment – gasp in cool crisp air and close my eyes…….
……………A hornbil sits on the telephone wire and a Kudu barks in the distance
A pikanin stands – dusty and barefoot clapping his hands together as I hand him a penny cool
The tractor pulling a trailer of singing women disappears in the dust leaving wisps of voice and beat
The sun beats down and bleaches the red earth 
As rain – like an invisible wall approaches through the maize
I can hear it before I see it
Heavy drops begin to fall and a clean, dusty, choking smell hits my nostrils
The fields rejoice………………..

Like a sound that wakes you; confused and startled in the night
Like the sense you get when you are being watched
Like the image of a bright light that remains imprinted as you blink
Like an echo that rings in your ears long after the sound is gone
We are there
On the grass a boy rolls….into the yard a truck pulls
The sun warms my skin and the breeze brings dust
Dust to the back of my throat
In the long lazy hours
For the rest of our days
We are there
          We are there
                         We are there                                                                                                Boo 2005

Teach people how to treat you

It’s Tuesday morning and you wake. You remember that you have agreed to meet someone for coffee at 8.30 but cannot remember if it is Sally or Melissa. You kind of hope in that split second that it’s Sally. Good old Sally. Relaxed, laid back ‘don’t you stress about it’ Sally. Because here’s the thing… You have an urgent parcel to send off and the post office only opens at 8.30am and if you go to the post office first it will make you late for coffee. Possibly only 10 minutes late. But late. You could (at a stretch) post it at lunch time, but this might mean the parcel will miss its’ deadline.

Getting out of bed you traverse the stairs and imagine being late for Melissa.

You visualize her sitting pertly in the stainless steel and leather dining chairs in the center of the café her eyes darting around at the café counter, the chair beside her and that mark on the table cloth. You can almost hear her tummy rumbling for that un-ordered coffee. You don’t want to keep Melissa waiting….

You have arrived downstairs and your diary sits closed in front of you. Just to tease yourself you visualize Sally. She (conversely) is sinking back into the leather sofa in the corner of the café; a woman’s weekly in her hand; her eyes scanning the recipes section, then travel or perhaps the article on how to write a done list. Two steaming cups of coffee sit at the wait in front of her (one with the chocolate already scooped off) and a large caramel slice with two forks sits obediently in anticipation. Laid back Sally!

You open your diary.

8.30am – Melissa – Café Brie.

Meticulous Melissa. Driven, organised completely reliable one of a kind Melissa.

You smile. You love Melissa; have amazing conversations with Melissa. And she is the first one you would call in a crisis.

That parcel is going to be late!

You see – you love and respect both Sally and Melissa and they have both taught you how to treat them.

Melissa taught you she highly values punctuality. Sally taught you she doesn’t.  You like neither of these women more or less than one another. It’s just that you would have felt quite comfortable keeping Sally waiting but not so Melissa. Interestingly, you would not feel comfortable bringing shop bought Pavlova to Sally’s afternoon tea but wouldn’t blink an eye doing that to Melissa. (Melissa understands you may have priorities beyond a few hours in the kitchen. Sally would say nothing but you know she would feel hurt that you hadn’t put the effort in for her).

Acknowledgement of the day……………you teach people how to treat you….so give that a tweak if you like!