The promise of Proteas

“Remember that wherever your heart is you will find your treasure”  – Paulo Coelho

On most days the mountain whispers, softly, reassuringly. Then there are those rare days where it will declare itself with such an exclamation of exquisite beauty that you are lost for words.

A few short years ago I found myself at a very low point in my life. The details of that are not for this blog as of course I have long moved from that unhappy place and my life is immeasurably rich and full, for myself and my children. It was during this sad time however that I found myself once again taking refuge on my precious mountain.

I had climbed up a new section abandoning any paths and made my way up through the long grass and rocks. I had no destination point in mind, I just needed to climb, mechanically, one foot in front of the other. As my route became more difficult I leopard crawled, pulling myself over rocks and roots, avoiding the brambles and trying not to think about snakes.

The section near the top was quite difficult and I remember thinking at that point that I must be mad. There were two Pine trees near the top, whispering in the beautiful way that  Pine trees do. As I made my way up and over the lip of the koppie and out on to the top, I remember just standing there, mesmerized, gazing at the treasure before my eyes.

There was a little copse of Protea bushes, I think ‘Protea caffra’ or perhaps ‘Protea simplex” as they were not very big. They were at the height of their flowering which would have been beautiful enough, but each flower was a buzz with so much life. Various insects – bees and beetles of all kinds, were busily gorging themselves on the sugary nectar. As for the sun birds, they were so busy feasting on this smorgasbord that they paid no attention to me. This was my first sighting of a Malachite sun bird. His beautiful gem green feathers shiny and iridescent in the sun. I was awestruck.

I have safely kept this picture memory stored in my heart. I take it out often. I have cherished this experience as a gift – a precious promise.

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