Today is Election Day in the United States. I had been thinking I could be sort of normal — write a blog post, go about my day, etc. My vote has already been cast, after all. I’m a hemisphere away from America and there’s nothing more I can do. Plus it’s probably going to be a few days before we even know the outcome, and fretting seems fruitless.

But now that we’re finally here — November 3rd, 2020, the day we’ve been breathlessly counting down to for four, interminably long years — I’m a tangled ball of nerves and the thought of thinking or behaving normally seems preposterous.

Before I descend into madness, most likely for the rest of the week, I want to share this picture I took over the weekend of a beautiful tree at Westdene Dam.

Pepper tree at Westdene Dam
A sprawling pepper tree at Westdene Dam.

Westdene Dam is a small dam (lake) surrounded by a public park in Westdene, the next suburb over from Melville. Amazingly I had never been to this park until last Saturday, when I went there for a braai celebrating the Melville Food Program volunteers.

I think Westdene Dam flies under the radar because it’s a small park, and also because everyone seems to associate it with a tragic bus accident that happened there in the 1980s. When I googled the Westdene Dam, stories about the accident were almost all I could find.

It’s a beautiful park though — peaceful and well maintained, with a lovely playground, exercise equipment, and many beautiful trees. I couldn’t stop staring at the pepper tree.

Pepper tree and Westdene Dam
The tree’s sprawling branches reach out toward the dam.
Pepper tree
Another look.

During the braai I also did a quick, silly photoshoot with Tanya and Sean, who organized the Melville Food Program and provided support to so many Melville-area residents during the covid-19 lockdown.

Tanya and Sean Gardiner
Their outfits matched perfectly and looked so nice with the summer-green grass.
Tanya and Sean at Westdene Dam
Tanya and Sean
Tanya and Sean laughing

If you’d like to know more about pepper trees, read this lovely article by Kathy Munro in the Heritage Portal. If you’d like to learn more about Westdene Dam (something other than the sad accident story), read this informative post in the Lagos to Jozi blog.

Pepper tree again

I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief U.S. Election Day distraction. I’ll go back to panicking now.

%d bloggers like this: