Aloe Arboresence at our bedroom window
Aloe Arboresence at the Miners Canteen
Paardeplaats Nature Retreat
Aloe Arborescence – May 2019
May 2019 – Nature is quite remarkable to put it mildly!
Each year we go through all our seasons, with all their ups and downs, with droughts and floods, but nature never fails to do her bit. Quietly, mostly without even being noticed, until the final presentation, that is – the Magnus Opus!
We have been through a good summer this season. We have recorded about 80% of our normal summer rainfall. We have sufficient water in our streams – the veld is healthy and looking beautiful. The protea caffra, the protea ropelea, the watsonia and the whole range of veld flowers and ‘fynbos’ and the forerunner of the aloes, the wild dagga, have all been stunning. Late summer and autumn have been quite fantastic.
Every year at the end of April, as we begin to feel the coolth, of the new season, set in, the ‘aloe arborescence’, quietly sends out its new flower buds. They peep out between the healthy green leaves, shy at first, and almost unnoticed. The whole of Paardeplaats, waits in anticipation.
In a matter of 2-3 weeks, they have made their presence known. The fronds have filled out, like a beautiful young maiden reaching maturity – like a swan. They have started to change colour from green to a very light orange – then gradually becoming a brighter orange from the bottom up. All the birds, from the sunbirds, to the Gurneys sugar birds, cannot conceal their excitement in anticipation of what is to follow. The incessant chattering and darting around, busily checking the new flowers for perhaps just one or two open flowers.
Then almost overnight the flowers start opening en mass, and turn orange. The bottom bells open and begin to release their much sought after nectar – the time has arrived – the elegant feeding frenzy can commence. In a matter of days the green has changed to a full spectacular, splash of bright orange, and natures promise has been fulfilled!
This spectacular display with all its benefits for the birds and insects, will continue for more than a month – up till beyond the end of June, into July.
Our bedroom window opens out onto, and overlooks one of the prize specimens of these aloes – just 2 meters from our bed. The display is unbelievable – there must be over 100 flowers open. We awake in the dark, at 5am, have our coffee in bed, under our double down duvet, ensconced in our warm cocoon, and we await the suns appearance at about 06h30. That’s when the birds fill our window with activity and chatter, while they enjoy what nature has provided, and while we enjoy their show.
To pray under these circumstances, is most inspirational, while we talk to the Maestro – the conductor of the show. Through the day we are fully aware of the aloes, the bird song and the beauty around us. It never stops.
To live through this Magnus Opus year after year, one can only realise that the Lord does provide. To all His beings. To us, the birds, to His full creation. We are all truly blessed. We only have to see and appreciate, all around us.
I must admit that Paardeplaats seems to have a bit of an over- supply of the beauty that surrounds us!