Springtime in Namibia. I used to be under the impression that it didn’t exist. Coming from a region of the world with summer thunderstorms, fall colors, winter blizzards, and spring bursting to life, I could not distinguish truly separate seasonal entities in this country.
Sure, one was a little colder or a little warmer than the previous. A little windier or wetter. But when someone would mention what a typical spring day it was, I’d look around, look at them, look around again and then nod my head and smile, totally confused.
Now I’ve got a couple years of Namibia under my belt, and upon my recent return from the States, I could actually see this mysterious springtime taking shape.
First of all, as I mentioned earlier, it is slightly warmer than “winter”. We’re dressed in the usual Namibian attire of shorts and a t-shirt. The jeans are in the closet and jackets are needed only occasionally.
Then there’s the trees. Theoretically, it’s the rise in temperatures that triggers their blooming, and rumor has it that they have a mega-root that pulls water up from deep underground, but when everything else around is parched to utter crispiness, these acacias and their poof-blooms deserve a medal of valor.
The wildlife is sharing the little water there is to be found i.e. the cattle troughs:
With everything else as dry as earthly possible, tis’ the season of fires. They break out randomly and unexpectedly, dotting the landscape with flames and towers of smoke. The sky has a near constant haze. Sometimes, if it’s close enough, it even rains ash.
If any of you have stuck with me so long, you may have read about last year’s fire. Thankfully, the one that visited us this year wasn’t so bad and I’m hoping we’ll only have the one (knock on wood). As before, it was due to someone playing with fire in the bush and carelessly letting it free, bringing us the late-night-tortoise-rescuing-smoke-inhalation-racing-to-beat-the-fire-at-its-own-game fun once again.
And the tortoises aren’t the only ones resurfacing these days. Frogs pop out of the garden beds as I plant cucumbers
The snakes are out, too, and lucky for us, they feel it necessary to come visit. Yesterday, lunchtime, I ran into this guy.
What in the name of Steve Irwin is a snake the size of Manitoba doing in our cactus patch? Does the bush not have enough birds, rodents, elephants for this thing to eat? Funnily, the snake book said this estimated 2.5 meter (8 ft.) dude wasn’t even maximum python size. No, no. 6 meters (nearly 20 ft.) is full grown. Those are the ones that eat crocodiles. I suppose someone should, but crikey. Please, just satisfy my morbid curiosity from afar. Thank you.
So, snakes and all, I’ll admit it. I can see the signs of a spring, the land returning to life after a winter, even here in Namibia. The good news is that after any spring that I’ve ever heard of, comes a summer, summer brings rain, and that is when life damn near explodes out of this place.
If it’s anything like the spring, it should be quite a ride.