Yesterday a lot of the Tswapong Hills that surround the village of Lecheng, where I currently live, were on fire. Smoke could be seen along the ridges from Serule to Palapye. I dropped my daughter at Moeng Secondary School, the boarding school she attends in a valley deep in the hills and on two sides smoke could be seen. It was frightening. Today, we have no water since the man delivering diesel thought it not very wise to deliver in the middle of the fires, which was sensible. No diesel, no borehole pump, no water. I hope the fires are finished now. I don't see smoke from where I am. No water also makes us a bit vulnerable. It's good that by this time in the dry season most grass has been eaten or cleared away, that will hopefully slow down the fires if they come to the village.
One of my favourite things since living in Lecheng is climbing up into those very hills that surround the village. I'll climb high up and walk for hours and think to myself I may be walking on a patch of land that hasn't been stepped on since our ancestors walked the bush so many millennia ago, I feel a bit magical, as if I have secrets only for me, and then I'll turn and see a boy walking along the rocky top appearing out of nowhere herding two lost cows who have adapted some how to climb mountains and laugh at myself and my silly thoughts. I've wondered about those wayward cows up there in the hills. I know also that there are duiker and springbok up there as I've seen their faeces. There are baboon, rock dassies, and leopards too. I tell myself they all got away. Everything is fine. I just hope that is so.
I suppose, as my husband tells me, bush fires are part of the natural cycle. It is true that within days, where the dried brown grass was, fresh green will takes its place. But still a cold shiver runs down my spine when I see the fire eating up everything in its path and look at the wash of black burnt ash left behind in its wake.