Under an African tree they sat. Two people, silent. Absortbed in their own thoughts. Conscious of the coolness of the shade beneath the tree and the shimmering heat beyond. Heat, cool, silence, the sounds of Africa. Peace.
They sat in silence, subconsciously listening, watching, while their thoughts drifted this way and that. They had come into the veldt to think deeply about decisions that had to be made. Two people - not born of Africa - but with Africa in their souls.
Nearby, some rocks. A jumbled heap, looking as if they had just been tipped there by some past giant who had tired of carrying them. Nature had done its best to dress them with a few plants and lichen. And long ago, some birds had dropped seeds in the crevices. After a long struggle to survive, the seeds had developed into seedlings. Now the saplings were beginning to win the battle against hardship and develop into small trees and bushes.
A slight rustle of brown grass and a dassie appeared on the rocks, moving quickly under the shade of the little African trees on the rocks. A slight nudge of one person to the other and two pairs of eyes followed the progress of the little dassie as it hopped over the rocks before it disappeared again into the deeper shade and grass on the other side.
In the distance, impala browsed. Closer, a small buck surveyed the territory, scenting the air, before leaping away.
They sat, under the tree, and watched and thought. He, back leaning against the tree, knees bent, feet flat on the dry earth. She, leaning half against him, half against the tree, legs straight. They were relaxed, away from the hustle and noise of city life. Away from the pressures and frustrations of everyday living. Away from the problems of approaching retirement. This was Africa. Sun, heat, dryness, animals, birds, space, peace. And the spreading cool shade of the African tree.
But, the families were calling - making good in Europe. Come, they called, come to the land of plenty. Come to a cottage in the country, they called. Space there, no heat, no dryness and the grass is greener. Lush green grass, fed by frequent rains. Come to us, they called, plenty of everything here, money, grandchildren visiting, social life, fast modern cars, everything you can ever need. Come, they called, we’ll take care of everything. Come. Come.
Stay, called Africa, stay. Africa is in your blood. Africa needs you, you need Africa. Stay ... go ... stay. Hearts and minds in a tug-of-war. Europe ... Africa. Rain ... drought. Cold ... heat. Noise ... peace. Pushing pushing for space ... space for everyone. Countryside ... veldt. Green grass ... brown. Europe ... Africa. Go ... stay. Decisions.
Under the African tree they sat. They watched, listened, thought. No need to talk. Attuned to each other. Talk would come later - explanations to families, friends. As they sat, they each made their decision. She reached out to take his hand. He grasped it, with a slight pressure. They looked at each other and smiled. They had come to a decision. No need for words. They knew they had each come to the same conclusion. Now they could relax - under the African tree.
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Our guest today, Sheila Eames, comes from Kent, England, and is now in her 70s, with over 50 years of marriage to the same man. The stories she could tell! She is so young at heart you can't keep her down. I met her first at Themes by Sheila, but where she thrives is at Themes Photographs & Prints. As if that weren't enough, in her spare time she sells second-hand books, does book searches for out-of-print books, and sells postcards, stamps, and ephemera at Coney Collectibles. Welcome to V&V, Sheila! We already feel like we know you from all your wonderful comments.