The Green Desert
Of course, the Kalahari has a host of personalities and they're not just seasonal but ephemeral too. Occurring perhaps just once in a lifetime, once in a generation or once in an age.
In this part of the kalahari, bound east and west by the dry beds of the Nossob and Auob rivers, the ephemeral is defined by one significant event; the rare and fleeting, flow of water.
The histories say that the last time the Nossob flowed was 1964, nine years before I was born. What can it have been like to witness this natural spectacle? I can only wonder because even in the years it doesn't flow, the desert is never dead.
During the summer months and meagre rainfall, the land seems to breathe deeply and then exhale a sigh of purest green. Shoots push up, flowers burst, butterflies flicker, the young are born, the bullfrogs emerge and the land is washed, dustless and clean. It's as if the desert must do all its living in these few short days before winter comes again.
Of all the faces of the kalahari, summers' face is my favourite; made more precious because it is so short-lived. At summer's end, the grasses turn and fade, the young become older, the migrants find their way home and the relentless dust returns.
The vast Kalahari, with all its silences and ageless sands, its soughing grasses and watchful camel thorns, waits for the green desert to return.