Friday, 21 November 2014

Waves of Paintbrush Grass...

In The Housemaid's Daughter, Ada sees the African veld unfolding before her eyes when she looks out of the window on the top floor of Cradock House.

And once she leaves the suburban streets and walks through it, she is forever enchanted.

All about me the earth is clothed in waves of fragile grass with golden paintbrush tips. From where we stand in their yellow, tickling midst, I can look straight up at the koppie and watch the sun wander across the brown stones and make them shine.

The distant mountains, the endless sky, the distinctive plants that survive a harsh climate... the veld becomes a place of refuge and solace.
Later in the story, she passes on her love of untamed reaches to her grandson, Thebo.

I show him the furry dassies that sunbathe on nearby rocks.
He follows shiny ants along tiny paths.
He giggles at the grasses that tickle his legs as he runs.

And when Ada must bury her daughter, Dawn, she chooses a wild setting that reflects Dawn's mercurial character.

The cemetery is not fenced in but is open to the Karoo veld.
Low bushes and wild, golden grasses surround her.
The koppies look down on her, the Groot Vis (river) murmurs to her.
The trains heading for more exciting places go past where she lies.

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