Recently I drove through the Karoo desert with friends. For miles and miles the road travelled in straight lines through the brown countryside. A hill in the distance was a landmark that was visible for half an hour. An occasional road – sometimes even a track – was worth noting for the variety it brought to the journey. Now and then a car passed us going the other way – a reminder that we were not alone in the world. It was beautiful in its own way, and it made our destination even more appealing. For towards evening we approached the little town of Graaf Reinet. Here we found an oasis of a green and pleasant land, promising rest, refreshment and beauty. And here, early the next morning, before the sun became too hot and the demands of the day became too strong to resist I sat in the garden and wrote the following piece. May it bless you in the reading as it did me in the writing.
The sun breaks through the dense shade as I sit in the garden in the early morning. There is arid desert around this small oasis. Scrubby bush, dry sand, windmills pumping desperately to raise water to the surface that man and beast and plants may survive. Life is hard there; a never-ending challenge in the brown dry land.
But here it is green, in this small historic town, in this lush oasis. I hear water running in fountains; roses and peonies bloom in all their glory. Shrubs flourish and inviting paths wind through the massed plantings of verdant life. Someone has been out even earlier to fill the bird feeders that hang invitingly from every tree, so the air is bright with birdsong. Sparrows, weavers and red bishops vie for the best place to eat – but there is room for all, even though they clamber on top of one another to find the most delectable seed. The bishops shine bright in their full breeding colour this early summer morning, splendid in cardinal red. The other little diners are brown – dull in comparison – yet equally charming as they scrabble to eat.
And on the ground, below the bounty in the trees, small flocks of doves – ground feeders – contentedly peck up the seed spilled from the enthusiastic feasting above. They move serenely from one seed to the next and I see, in a hollowed grinding stone, they have their own supply so there is a feast of plenty for them too.
Now I catch a trace of orange blossom, blooming profusely and releasing its perfume as the day begins to warm up. It will be hot later, but, for now, I revel in the cool breeze and the delicate sounds of bird song and water.
I breathe in deeply, enjoying the scent of the orange blossom. But wait – is that … ?
I inhale again with my eyes closed, testing the air.
Yes, yes it is!
The enticing smell of bacon wafts towards me and I know that I will pack up my writing things and leave the birds to their feast, for my own breakfast awaits and it is too enticing to resist any more.
Just as God feeds the sparrows with their mouth-watering seed, so He is providing breakfast for me.
Bacon is calling …