Inspired by Nina Sankovitch’s nostalgic account of childhood summers, hot sunny days, blue skies, lazy hours lying on the grass, looking up at the sky, I did just that, this morning at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Which, by the way, is one of my most favourite destinations in Cape Town.
It was magical. I found a secluded lawn, fringed by a couple of acacia trees with thick foliage, and I carefully lowered myself on to the grass. Old ladies with hip replacements don’t get down to grassroot level as easily as they used to do, let me tell you. I used my floppy sunhat as a pillow and lay back. Gazing up at the cloudless blue sky, through the delicate leaves , listening to distant voices, listening to birds calling, insects buzzing and whirring around in the undergrowth, and – for once – only a very distant hum of traffic. Do you know how difficult it is to be outdoors in an urban, or peri-urban area, and not hear any traffic? Practically impossible. In fact, I have been out in the veld, with no houses or people anywhere near, and you can still hear the sound of vehicles from distant roads and highways.
The grass was thick and lush, and mercifully free of inquisitive ants. Not that I have anything against ants, but they do tickle when they start exploring. I lay there, enjoying the changes in the air , enjoying the respite from days of blustering winds. Today the air was gentle and warm, followed by short bursts of cooler air – perhaps it was an adventurous sea-breeze that had drifted over the top of Table Mountain from Hout Bay. Every now and again there’d be a brief whiff of warm, humid air carrying with it the rank odour of decay: maybe a deceased lizard, or a rat, quietly mouldering in the surrounding bushes.
It’s very relaxing lying on thick lawn grass on a bright, warm sunny morning, gazing up at the sky. Nowhere to go, nothing to do, for a change. My mind was happily blank – the occasional vague thought drifting through, but nothing too taxing.
We should all do this a great deal more often. I highly recommend it.