Envy: it’s the green-eyed monster. I have green eyes, but I assure you, nobody I know of thinks me monstrous. At all events, today will be the day that I strive to awaken said monster in your breast, but how? How could you be brought to envy a ridiculously pale writer from Africa? To the uninitiated, Africa is a terrible place, unless you like going on Safari and staying in luxury hotels.
A Few Things I Wish I Could Brag About, But Can’t
Before I tell you why you might wish you were me today, or else want to smack me for being self-satisfied, I will tell you that this isn’t all it could be. There are many wonderful things on my doorstep that I ought to be planning to enjoy, but haven’t for a long time.
For starters, there’s the beach, just about a kilometer away as the crow flies. Much of it is unspoiled, fronted by steep dunes and crags and, apart from the occasional fishing enthusiast, deserted. There are rocky bays and sandy beaches, and the coast sweeps in a striking half moon shape with spectacularly rocky points at either end.
I won’t be going there today. There’s too much to do, and I will be working late (as usual), so you need not envy me that. I think I took my last beach walk earlier this year. It’s on the “to do for myself” list that seldom gets attended to.
Then there’s the forest. It’s just ten minutes’ walk away across the inlet that joins two salt water lakes. It’s not wise to walk in the forest alone. The path is rough, and if one were to have an accident, it could get tricky if you happened to be going solo. At least, I tell myself that, though I know I’ve run (rather than walked) that path in the twilight looking for a specific tree for quite practical reasons I won’t go into just now, and did just fine.
If you’re willing to do a little balancing and clambering, there’s a little waterfall with a pool of gloriously chilly water that you can swim in. You probably won’t stay in long, but it’s wonderful when your walk has made you a little hot.
I won’t be going there either. I haven’t for a while. Last time I remember, the stream was in flood and didn’t look too crossable. Now, there’s a drought. I kick myself for not having it on the agenda for today, or any other day.
Picture this. It’s summer. The air is pleasantly warm. It’s a trifle stifling indoors, but on the back veranda where you have set up your work station, it’s perpetually shady and cool with a light breeze.You’re seated at a table with your laptop and a long work list for the day.
Today, you will write articles, blogs and web pages with rapid gear-shifts to find the appropriate tone and approach. It’s going to be challenging, but fun.
On the picnic table beside you, an ice-cold pitcher of water weeps condensation. There are three whole nectarines in the bottom, chilling to perfection and imparting a light flavor to the water through their blushing skins. Drink up the water, and you’ll have an ice-cold nectarine for dessert.
The place you are in is famous among keen-eyed people who love following birds around for the sheer density and diversity of bird-life. You are enveloped in birdsong punctuated by an occasional harsh squawk from birds less gifted in the vocal department. A daring swallow swoops past you ear. You laugh.
When you glance up from your work, you see a wall of greenery created by trees that are hundreds of years old. They’re spreading giants, and you know there’s a green cave of gnarled trunks just beneath the wall of foliage. A large wasp drags an even more enormous spider across the edge of the decking for nefarious purposes. The dogs lie panting in the shade nearby.You wiggle your bare toes enjoying the sheer pleasure of being barefoot.
Heaven? Perhaps not, but believe me, it ain’t bad at all.
I’ll tell you something a little more useful next time, shall I? Bear with me. I just wanted to see you writhe. I can’t of course, but I have a good imagination.