The hadada ibis chick in my garden is getting ready to fly. The sole surviving hachling after his sibling eggs were blown to the ground in a storm, his arrival surprised and delighted us (we had supposed the whole brood was lost). In the three-plus weeks since he emerged from his shelled incubator, the hadada’s world has been confined to a single branch on a tree from where he has watched our comings and goings, tilting his head to follow me with his eyes as I tend the rabbits. And we, in turn, have watched him grow from feathery babyhood to the size-able fellow that he is now.
Monday January 16 2017. I climb into my car and drive against the chaos that is homecoming traffic, heading to Spanish class in Sea Point. School has just reopened after Christmas break. It’s the end of yet another glorious Cape Town summer day and holiday makers and residents alike, people the promenade in droves, determined to enjoy the last glow of sunlight as night beckons.
I have known for some time that there are hawks on the meadow. Some days I would hear a distinct cry from the tree tops and occasionally, be blessed with a rare glimpse. A solitary raptor returning from the hunt. The sudden, silent spreading of wings in hasty ascent as I turned a corner between the trees.
I drove home from the appointment shell-shocked. At 46, I had just been told that I should never run again! It turned out that the back pain that had grown from a niggle to a whining complaint over the past twelve months was my spine letting me know that it had been invaded. Arthritis – advanced enough to be visible on a normal x-ray, – had taken up residence in my lower lumbar vertebrae (along with its companion – Spondylosis).
Watching “Through the Looking Glass” last weekend with my daughters, I found myself eyeball to eyeball with Humpty Dumpty in full 3D roundness. Which reminded me of a time in my life when I felt a deep connection with that hapless egg.