Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Polished Penny

Photo: Thomas Parente

A glimpse of Kasane through my eyes. Caught in a snap shot somewhere between the film of a fleeting traveler and manteled memory of a resident.

A tarnished penny just outside the Chobe National Park in northern Botswana, Kasane sits heads up nestled in the tall grasses of the sub-Saharan African bush. Picked up and polished by tourism operators, advertisements transform the wild into a contradiction of six star suites, satin sheets, chlorinated pools and fine dining served with an optional side of adventure and a refreshing beer to go with the cheque of 250$ per night.

The main road draws a line. Clothes hanging out to dry. Fantasy filled days of tourists and everyday reality of locals. Where sand between toes turns to pavement clicking heels.

One side lodges embroider the river, one after another after another. Beaded along from West to East, strung in a design of decreasing bank accounts, increasing stars. A craft of glitter glue pasted to the sky. The immensity of the universe presents itself, a hanging chandelier over the scattered industry of opportunity.

A place, where beauty meets the definition, where tamed nature is unpredictably wild. The heartbeat of Kasane, it keeps rhythm to its own.

Naked mornings, of neighbors bathing. Bathing to drowsiness of work. There is a softness, fathered and purple down. There are trees filled of whispers, leafs blowing the commotion of life singing. Saying join me in song. Join me in song. This is the dawn of routine. Chickens imprint scurries in the sand, voices ringing out in natures alarm. Their are strangers, no longer strangers. Greetings and passings moving all along. There are dogs, chasing gold tails. Rustling leaves, a crunch that once was named fall.

Sweating noons, of heat humming. Humming to its only tune. There is food, flying off shelves, as dump trucks turn black faces white. There is a flow, in and out with careless and fascination of the sea. The tide is turning. It keeps on turning. Fried meat and ice cream fill the air. Lines are growing, ever longer, as money moves hand to hand. This is the flavor of lunch. An old women, she was sitting, bouncing baby hanging from her arms. There are greasy fingers, blooming bushes. Red flowers and talking too loud. There are brothers, waving laughter. Water glistening, painted patterns, animals carved into wood.

Dancing evenings, of kids playing. Playing to ingenuity their own. There is garbage lining gutters, sidewalk risen from the ground. There are prayers, running reeds, along a color buttered sky. And it came like a call. A call from the Lord. A tv in a window. Empty bottles, sleeping in the street. This is the sight of dark. An elephant inquiry, he wanders the road, dust imprinted soles. There was judgment, and a bit of it was mine. Voices calling, drums beats and another track to drink. There is kindness, hearty hugs. An angle filling my dreams of that sound.

Lyndsay reading outside our home

Kasane, a glimpse not only through my eyes but glance of my heart. A penny in my pocket, a piece of my home.

And so the countdown goes eight more days and apprehension.

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