After the Fire

“It was always such a relief when fire season was over. We hold our breath during the hot dry summer, with its relentless southeaster gales, waiting for the inevitable blazes.

Fynbos needs fire to regenerate, but before the city crept up around the base of the mountains, those fires had natural causes. These days, too many of them are set by bored, pyromaniac hooligans. Or by mindless tourists tossing cigarettes out of rental-car windows. These days, there are too many fires for the fynbos to recuperate; too little time between blazes for the plants to regenerate, mature and reseed. Burned too young, they edge ever closer to extinction.”

That’s a quote from my forthcoming novel, The Seed Thief, which will be published by Umuzi in August 2015.

This week, those words felt prescient.

I took these pictures with a heavy heart. But this last was the most hopefull pic of all. Because these are seeds. Lying in fluffy piles on the sand, waiting. Soft rains are coming. (Soft, please, soft…)
Already, a week after I took these pictures, there are green shoots on the mountain moonscape. Watsonia bulbs that will bind the soil. The leucadendrons will follow.

We’re watching.