Fire on a tinder dry vlei

Deaprojekt Die Welt der Puppen

Deaprojekt Die Welt der Puppen

Black ash, bruised light, broken sound in a shocked stillness – was there anything good left behind? Yes: black is the charcoaled colour of purification. There is a surreal snowstorm of twirling black leaf forms returning to the vlei: an uncanny backdrop for the cattle egrets, undertakers dressed in white, with bowed heads and feathered hands clasped behind their backs. They stoically perform high-stepped funeral marches across the carpets of ash, collecting all the dead bodies: crisp grasshoppers, heat-bloated ticks, and toasted centipedes. They leave the shrivelled remains of baby toads, field mice and weaver chicks for the ever-watchful hawks that hover above this al fresco open grill. Is that the marabou stork, the ignominious king of carrion? With his naked head, puce air sac, cracked and peeling beak, and long ashen legs, he looks as if he has been scorched himself; but it is his funeral finery. He is in fine fettle to carry away the larger mammalian, and reptilian carcasses. If they aren’t quite dead, they soon will be – a sharp beak protrudes from below his rapacious eyes.

Allan Taylor, author Luanshya musings


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