An Artist's Journeys in Nature

Archive for March, 2018

The Plains Of Africa 2

Moreover, this journey has its own unstoppable momentum. Days flow into nights and nights flow into days.

There are no ‘sleep stopovers’, no hotel rooms. no packing and unpacking bags, no break in the inevitable flow of the steady heartbeat of this mighty continent, transmitted through these shining, silver rails.

When night falls, living space is transformed into sleeping space: bunks let down that rock the traveler into slumber almost before his head hits the pillows. And the journey goes on.

Up ahead, the loco still puffs its way through the darkness, slowly gaining altitude as it heads towards the central plateau lying beyond the Highveld. Final destination altitude is over 4500′ (1500m) above sea level: a long, slow climb of over 1100 miles (1800 km) from Cape Town, and that’s as the crow flies.

The route passes through the South African diamond town of Kimberley – viewed only as a skyline during a short station stop – and then heads more directly north. After Kimberley, no major towns are in evidence as the loco strikes out across the eastern plains of Botswana, with the Kalahari Desert lying further over to the west.

All around the train the open canopy of trees – mopani, msasa, acacias – drift past the traveler like ghostly sentinels under the moon, illuminated by the glow from the carriage windows. Wildlife goes about its night business, probably with barely a glance at the familiar string of passing lights and muffled sound, soon to vanish again intp the vast spaces of the dark.

Digital – vector art. For more details, click on images.

Patricia

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The Plains of Africa

To travel north from Cape Town via railway into the wilds of Central Africa is to discover mile upon mile of veld stretching interminably as far as the eye can see – a vast ocean of grasses and trees that goes on for days.

Traveling by air can’t even compare – what can you see from 40,000 feet?  That kind of journey doesn’t make much of an impression on the mind, let alone the soul.

But train travel is a different story.  The slow rocking of the carriage on the rails brings a sense of peace and timelessness: three days of suspended animation in which the demands of the modern world are laid aside.  Back to the era of Burton and Speke – and Rhodes?  Not quite that far – but far enough to realize we have seriously compromised ourselves with the modern fads of ‘fast’ and ‘instant’.

This land teems with wildlife, rarely visible in quick glimpses from the train – and much less so today than formerly. But the wildlife is there, as it has been for centuries – living out its own dance on the hot, shimmering plains that would swallow us up if we were to step away from the lifeline of the two slim, steel rails beneath us.

africa-plains

Digital – vector art.  For more details, click on images.

Patricia

http://patriciahowitt.com/