Despite having spent, by now, more of my life in sub-Saharan Africa than in Europe and the USA, I still am not a great fan of heat.
Winter brings much more bearable temperatures, and crisp, fresh mornings when the air tastes of ice. Plus, here in Joburg, it’s Highveld-dry for almost the whole season, which -being a person who sweats a lot and easily – I appreciate.
I’ve been known to praise Winter for its cleanness. The sharp edges of the bare trees, their duat-shaped cores now exposed against the brilliant blue sky; the shorter, drier, more crunchy grass; the reduced number of flowers and pollen and weeds. That sounds a little anti-life, but really it’s seeing wonder in the withdrawal of all those riotous processes, to hibernate until a warmer climate calls them forth again.
I like the feeling of the vegetable kingdom slumbering.
But I realise that that attitude is only a knife’s edge from the fanatical worship of clean…nay, sterile environments which we seem to be developing as a species.
I refer to the enthusiasm for killing germs, removing body hair and sanitising every square millimetre of open public space.
What is this illness our minds have fallen prey to now? When disinfectant dispensers await our morning arrival at the office and beauty in the human body is seen to be clean-shaven to within an inch of its life?
Plastic Barbie-women and literal men of steel. Are we yearning for a melding with our soulless artifacts?
Photo: Jeanette Verster