IT AIN'T EASY BEING GREEN !!          - 3/ 10/ 2004      <--Prev : Next-->

Heres a special thought for all of the Zimbabweans who have left their precious country and are busy re -colonising the rest of the world !!

The jacarandas are blooming !!

The jacaranda on the corner of our road in Suburbs, Bulawayo is always one of the first to bloom and we always anxiously scan the bare boughs daily for the exciting signs of purple. We have an annual vendetta with our Burnside cousins as to whose tree will be the first to burst forth in glorious purple profusion !!

An interesting little fact about the jacarandas is that they were brought in from South America where in fact they flower not once but twice a year !! Go figure that one.

Another interesting thing about Jacarandas is that some folk consider them to be vermin and indeed there have been moves afoot to eradicate them from areas of indigenous trees like the Matopos. Strange idea for environmentalists in a country bordering on the desert. A tree after all, is a tree and one should be grateful for all one can get to my simple mind.

This time of the year in Zimbabwe is always a bit bleak. The country is dry, brown, dusty and untidy. The paper and plastic that has hidden in the grass for the past few months is a lot more noticeable somehow. The winter flowers have gone, the spring flowers are looking tatty and summer has arrived in full force. So we tend to get a bit grumpy and irritable at this time of the year.

I suppose this might be from where the term "browned off" is derived !!

But once the jacarandas arrive and the slightest promise of the rains looms, life takes on a much more rosy tint.

One tends to watch movies made in England and Ireland during this season in Zimbabwe. Movies where there are endless fields of rolling emerald downs, where the mist falls gently on fields of the softest clover and where the women's faces are soft and smooth, creamy and unlined from the harsh African sun...

However the unrelenting browns, khakis and the burnished colours of the African earth will always have the stronger pull for us Africans. I will always remember a holiday we spent touring Ireland when She Who Must Run was just eleven and She Who Must Sing was only a twinkle in her fathers eye !!

He Who Must Be Obeyed (Or HEHOO as is affectionately termed) had just returned from a day of indulgence in the Irish countryside. He was all "Greened Out" after four weeks of unadulterated green grass. Green hedgerows, greens rolling downs, and little green people too.

He had eaten his fill of Irish pub fayre with the odd Guinness and Scrumpy thrown in for good measure ( In those days our holiday allowance would only stretch to a couple of Guinness and one Scrumpy a day perhaps but only if one gave up the after dinner kitkat )

He sat down and turned on BBC One and there before his green eyes, was a documentary narrated by Terry Wogan of all people, on Zimbabwe. It was filmed at the height of winter with all the browns, the sepias, the yellows, the ambers, the oranges of a typical day at Hwange Game reserve, and with typical firmness and reserve , he changed his ticket to return home the very next day.

He had had enough of the soft greens and was suddenly longing, aching for the browns of the land of his birth.....

And so it is in Africa ....its ours, its in our blood, we will always be happier here where the mopani trees stand proud and stark and the knob thorns mass like candy floss along the road sides.

If you need a lift, (you know the sort of lift I mean), the "my soul needs to be cosseted" type of lift, the "my heart is heavy" type of lift, , the "One foot in front of the other" type of lift, and you find the Jacarandas are taking too long to cheer you up, take a drive right now into the country along the Falls Road.

There it is like heaven, all the acacias are in full bloom, masses of creams, yellows and whites. The Knob Thorn, the camel thorn, the hook thorn, the monkey thorn all in full flower, like rows of comfy clouds or acres of cotton candy floss, and too beautiful to be true.

Oh my, its good to be home in Africa in the spring !!