Wednesday, December 17, 2008

After the Fire

As Cathy Gatland noted in her post, yesterday was a holiday here in South Africa. Now known as Heritage Day, it was originally known as Dingaan's Day in honour of the battle of Blood River when the Boers and the Zulus came to blows and so many thousands died. It has gone through a few changes - from Dingaan's Day to Family Day, Day of the Covenant and finally now, Heritage Day. But more importantly, it is still viewed as a day of peace.

It also heralds the start of the 'silly season' when we get hundreds of visitors from upcountry to our lovely beaches and mountains, where the beach parties are in full swing, sun drenched bikini clad bodies soak up the sun on Clifton Fourth Beach, tanned muscular bodies play beach volleyball, surfers in Muizenberg, hikers on Table Mountain, sometimes losing their way - and of course, everyone eats too much on Christmas Day.


But the summer 'silly season' is also Fire Season. The wind blows, someone throws out a cigarette butt and, whooosh, the mountain starts burning. It's just taken some very brave firefighters five days and nights to bring the fires in Gordon's Bay and the Strand, just outside Cape Town, under control. It wiped out three houses in the process. Out of control fires are also the nightmare of the informal settlements where not just one, but usually up to 20 shack dwelling
s can be destroyed.

The fires also have their uses. The king protea (which is the national flower of South Africa and the official emblem of our cricket team) and all the other species of protea, need fire to germinate. This also applies to a number of indigenous flowers in the Western Cape. Whilst walking near Greyton, I came across the result of a fire. These burned out proteas were so stark against the new grasses growin
g nearby.



7 comments:

RameshJhawar said...

Thanks Elizabeth for appreciating my paintings!I liked your "Karin's Boots" and other portraits as well.

Susan Martin Spar said...

Few folks understand that little known fact about wildfires. They allow the Phoenix to rise from their ashes in new growth. I'm originally from Southern California,and CA really gets it's share of wildfires. They take out whole communities. Your painting brings back memories to me of burned out hills and fields just coming back to life.

Dianne said...

Thanks Liz, for your interesting words! The fires are such a worry and people can be so careless. You have expressed the burnt protea beautifully here.

Marian Fortunati said...

Really lovely, Liz...
Sounds like your Christmas season is something like ours here in SoCal... Usually no snow and lots of wind which sometimes bring fires.
Right now though we've got rain and not too far away even some snow!
Happy Holidays to you!

Cathy Gatland said...

This painting another example of how loveliness can come out of something so devastating - the angular shapes looking stark but hopeful against the blue and gold.
We'll be some of the Joburgers (though we still consider ourselves Capies having grown up there!) trekking south soon - after Christmas, and a bit further up the coast. I'm so looking forward to some sea air!

Art with Liz said...

Ramesh, thank you for your comments.

Hello Susan. As you so rightly say, out of the ashes ........ Where there's life, there's hope!

Thank you Di - we are so close to the fire hazards here, but remember the devastating fire of a few years back and how it wiped out Ou Kaapse Weg? And look at it now - more lush and beautiful than ever.

Hi Marian, thank you. Our windy season is in the summer so combined with the heat and the dryness, the Cape Peninsula can turn into a tinderbox. In winter it rains and rains and rains.

Enjoy your holiday in the Cape Cathy. As a Capie you'll always come home to your roots. Thank you for your kind words about my painting. This is one I really enjoyed doing and is currently one of my favourites.

Sheila said...

Oh my... I didn't see this on my first visit to your blog. This is FANTASTIC! I love the lines, texture, composition, color...okay everything about this piece. I could stare at it for hours. love love love it.