I Can See Clearly Now (Sort Of)

As long as I’ve lived here, the view from the deck at the Lucky 5 Star has been a wall of green. It was one of my favorite things about the house — the back yard felt like a private jungle, filled with unruly indigenous plants and flowering creepers (the creepers are pretty, but invasive).

Yesterday, the creepers got the best of the yard’s largest indigenous plant — a twisty rock karee tree.

Here’s a shot taken from the deck, exactly a year ago during a summer rain storm. You can see a limb of the rock karee tree shooting off to the left.  The other limbs are obscured by creepers.

Another view of the back yard during the same rain storm in December 2010.

Christmas dinner, 2010. This gives you a nicer idea of what the private jungle felt like.

At around 6:00 last night, I was sitting on the couch working on my computer. I heard a loud series of cracks outside. Panic seized me. Gun shots? Someone trying to scale the fence? I looked outside and the tree was moving strangely. Then suddenly it was gone. Half the rock karee tree collapsed, and the back yard was transformed.

Suddenly I could see all the way to Rosebank, on the ridge five kilometers away.

Straight ahead I saw the Melville Koppies, which are tantalizingly close but were obscured from view until now.

At first I was stunned. Horst (my landlord, who lives in the cottage next door) and I stood there gazing at the hole for a while. The yard felt oddly bright. But the more we looked, the more we liked the view. Especially when the sky went pink and I took this photo.

Rosebank at sunset.

I went to sleep feeling pleased about the change of scenery, excited for morning coffee on the deck.

I woke up feeling sad. It was cloudy and cold and the view didn’t look that great anymore. The yard was forlorn. That poor tree, strangled almost to death by alien vines. Why didn’t we ask Lucky to pull them down? Stupid, stupid, stupid.

And poor me. I have to move out of the Lucky 5 Star — this house that I’ve loved more than any other house I’ve ever lived in — at the end of this month. That is going to suck, big-time. In fact, ‘suck’ isn’t a strong enough word but I can’t think of a better one. And the person I’d most like to enjoy the new view with, if only for another 28 days, isn’t even here.

I had a good cry.

Later the sun came out, as it always does in Jozi.

Okay. I guess it really is a nice view.

I’ve pulled myself together now. This is how I roll these days. Cheerful and positive one moment, black and mournful the next. Then I start again.

Maybe I’ll have a back yard viewing party before I clear out of here. Don’t hold your breath for an invitation though. I might change my mind.

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  • Reply landofnams December 4, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    You’re an amazing writer.

  • Reply Kathryn McCullough December 4, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    I’m so sorry about the tree, so sorry about the house, so sorry about it all, my friend.

    • Reply 2summers December 4, 2011 at 9:21 pm

      Thanks Kathy. This too shall pass. And I had a nice evening so everything feels better now 🙂

  • Reply thirdeyemom December 4, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    Hey Heather
    Great post and I feel for you! Sounds like things are hard now. I feel the same way and liked how you described your moods as I can relate! The darkness of winter has set in here along with the frantic mood of he holidays. I feel stressed and blue but know that is shall pass. It always does thank goodness ! Hang in there and hope he move goes well and you find a new happy and lucky place!

    • Reply 2summers December 4, 2011 at 9:19 pm

      Thanks Nicole. I don’t envy your cold winter. At least that’s one thing I don’t have to worry about right now!

  • Reply missingmelville December 4, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    I have been following your posts since i left Joburg a year ago, amazed at the similarities in our adventures….america to melville, falling in love with place and person, pursuing a passion for photography with someone who can teach so much. Now this. I am sorry you have to leave the home you love, for you, but also because it was a bit of a home away from home for me. You write beautifully, and your photographs communicate the place and your experiences in a deep and meaningful way. Keep going and be well.

    • Reply 2summers December 4, 2011 at 10:00 pm

      Wow. What an amazing comment. I’d like to hear more of your story!

      Never fear though — I’m leaving the Lucky 5 Star but I’m not leaving Melville. I’m hopefully moving somewhere very close by and I’ll continue to blog about it. Thank you so much for reading my blog all of these months and thanks for the comment. All the best to you in wherever life takes you.

  • Reply lisa@notesfromafrica December 5, 2011 at 5:17 am

    Nice view and photos!

    I’m really pleased to hear that you are staying in SA. 🙂

    • Reply 2summers December 5, 2011 at 7:38 am

      Thanks Lisa. This country can’t get rid of me that easily.

  • Reply MartinaInJozi December 5, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    I demand a house cooling (surely that is the opposite of a house warming?). You need to say goodbye to this house properly as you love it so much. Great post 🙂

    • Reply 2summers December 5, 2011 at 10:05 pm

      Thanks! Love the house cooling idea, especially in the middle of summer.

  • Reply missingmelville December 5, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    The house cooling is a creative and wonderful idea! Wish I could attend. I would be glad to tell you more of my story….drop me a line if you wish.

    • Reply 2summers December 6, 2011 at 6:04 am

      I will do that, as soon as my life settles down a bit (if that ever actually happens). 🙂

  • Reply joshimukard December 6, 2011 at 4:52 am

    the sun will come out in your life too, yes, it always does!!

  • Reply Munira December 6, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    Lovely photos, they conveyed your ambivalence in deciding whether you liked the view or not!
    So sorry you have to move. Hope you find another great place to live.

  • Reply Lu December 11, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    It’s a shame that the karee boom didn’t make it – I liked the photo of the private jungle Christmas dinner – cosy 🙂
    It’s also a shame that you have to move out. I hope that you find yourself an equally awesome place to stay. Good luck 🙂

    • Reply 2summers December 11, 2011 at 10:26 pm

      I have found a nice place, although nothing will ever compare to the Lucky 5 Star!

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