To my surprise, I was greeted by a symphony seemingly conducted by the wind.
Most city dwellers have a romantic vision of life on the platteland. It conjures up images of wide open spaces, fresh air, tranquillity, and a slow pace in which there literally is time to smell the flowers. And rightly so.
Having spent a day or so on a farm in the Eastern Free State recently, I must confess that I was mesmerised by the peace, and more than just a little surprised by the quiet.
To be honest, it wasn’t really the quiet that surprised me – but rather the lack thereof.
I was – most unrealistically I suppose – expecting and preparing for a deathly silence to hang over the farm. After all, I’m used to peak-hour traffic of various intensity, radio and television stations competing for eartime, open-plan offices where every conversation adds its own hue to the white noise we are so accustomed to. My world is everything but silent.
Then, having navigated kilometres and kilometres of dirt roads, farm gates and animals of various shapes and sizes, I stepped out of my car, with the town of Wepener the closest thing to what we call civilisation.
To my surprise, I was not greeted by silence, but by a symphony seemingly conducted by the wind.
And what a masterpiece it was.
The master conductor kicked off the concert by asking the trees to sing the opening verses of a gentle welcoming song.
They were joined by the choir of birds, who continually perform a perfect a capella programme in their open-air arena, even though there is very often not a single member in their audience.
While the trees and birds upped the tempo and intensity, the farm animals added some bass, and all the while the wind pump provided the perfect beat.
The conductor worked up to a climax, and with a final crescendo, the wind died down and it was quiet.
The lights dimmed. I couldn’t help but give a standing ovation.
And while I was applauding, the orchestra discreetly started Act II.
This time it was the crickets who chirped away at the opening bars before being joined by a pair of owls.
The sky lit up as the fairy lights were turned on.
I was asleep before the final curtain.
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