A wandering bird's-eye overview of most things even vaguely related to travel, and an opportunity for writers, artists and photographers to contribute the historical, the hysterical, the quirky and quixotic... anything with heart.

lostboys
3 years ago
On a lake of tears
On a lake of tears

In the cool of morning there's a lone giraffe staring this way, the great Etosha Pan his palette backdrop - a 120km blurred horizon.

By afternoon we're between sparse breaths of wind: canvas walls and mosquito netting hang limp, the  air hot and heavy, the country in the grip of a drought where even good years yield only millimetres of rain.

Outside the sun sears salt flats bereft of life, other than a whirligig spiral - a local 'dust devil' - twisting north to who knows where, the shimmer of rain a cruel illusion on the distant melting mix of land and sky. My throat is dry.

After dinner and drinks there's the wail of approaching wind, and I wait, until finally it breathes life into canvas walls and mesh windows of this elevated treeless treehouse. Round posts and beam joints creak.

Parched wooden decking bakes on connecting wooden walkways that hover high above scatterings of thorn-bush scrub and drifts of white Etosha sand.

A pair of black-back jackals follow the stale baked tracks of some death-bent ghost of an animal, maybe a wandering wildebeest, eland or Oryx; an aged trail hugging this waterless shoreline.

I sleep with the doors open to the silence of the salty pan, but wake to the distant howl of those jackals, and thoughts of a peace-loving people straying this way; those men and children murdered by a tribe of brutal hunters. And I'm captive to dark visions of a distraught young woman with a dead child cradled in her arms. She cries in the night until this giant lake fills, awash with the flood of her tears.

 

Photo: Lake of Tears - Etosha Salt Pan, Namibia _ Ian Cochrane