Gazing skyward

Thank you to Bolander readers for sending glorious photographs to us, capturing the scenic beauty of the Winelands and coastal route.

As the nights start to get chillier, and the sun rises a little later against the majestic mountain backdrop, it’s that time of year when anticipation of winter starts to tickle the senses.

It’s been a long and dry summer (which isn’t particularly unusual), but now we are all in a state of suspended animation, awaiting the winter rains that will hopefully arrive as scheduled, providing respite.

I’ve never known the topic of water to have been so prevalent, and it heralds a new era, I trust, of much greater awareness of how we treat this precious, finite resource.

Every day, with a sense of growing concern, we’ve listened to radio reports of shrinking dam levels, and seen visuals that are so compelling, of puddles replacing what used to be huge (and possibly much taken for granted) bodies of stored water.

And with the law of supply and demand in fine form, there has been a surge of business for individuals and companies specialising in the capturing of grey water, provision of containers and guttering; water-wise plants and gardening supplies, etc.

We were all in need of a major paradigm shift, clearly.

In the past, when dry months were reliably followed by wet months here in the Cape of Storms, it was perhaps easy to become complacent, and not institute water-saving habits and devices in our homes and places of work, as a matter of course.

Now, clearly, there is no question that our planet is in a state of climate fluctuation, and we have all been duly warned that the crisis of water is going to be the one that is most imperative to heed.

Every little bit of rain we’ve had recently, results in a sense of euphoria and deep appreciation. It’s ironic that we are such an obstinate, recalcitrant lot, waiting until the writing is so clearly on the wall, before we are prepared to examine our own role in the squandering of water in our daily lives.

It grieves me that the habitats of all our fellow inhabitants are being dehydrated so catastrophically, and when I do walk around with my watering can, I see birds, squirrels, ants, chameleons and all manner of creatures appear in my wake, and quench their thirst at the same time.

On Sunday, a friend and I picked up a beautiful large mole snake on Irene Avene, that had just been hit by a car.

We placed the grievously-injured snake in a box, and took it to the Tygerberg Animal Hospital branch in Somerset West, where we were met by the vet on call, Dr Mia Farr, who gently ended its suffering (and very kindly waived her fee, despite us offering to pay for the call-out).

We discussed the fact that many snakes are being spotted in gardens, or crossing roads, because they, too, are in a desperate search for water.

If you see a perambulatory snake, or encounter one in your garden, leave it be, and make sure to place a few containers around for them to drink from, and then be on their way, performing the vital role they serve in our ecosystem.

Carolyn Frost: Editor