Saturday, June 15, 2024

Eye on Life

Broad interest online magazine

Random musings

Nature wins!

About 6 years ago, construction began on a new intersection where the 4-way stop existed in Sun Valley/Kommetjie Rd. For years this narrow road was the cause of major traffic delays in rush hour and on busy summer weekends, with it taking up to two hours to pass through three sets of traffic lights and a dreadful bottleneck where the traffic turned right just past Capri. It was a massive undertaking to widen the single lanes to two, three and even four in all directions, and took nearly three years to complete, culminating in a magnificent intersection with mostly free flowing traffic and many accidents as taxis jostled cheek by jowl to enable four to turn into two lanes at a time. The unfortunate flaw in the design was to suddenly bottleneck the double lane into a single lane in an area where a vehicle making a right turn into a small shopping centre would cause havoc, and an exit from a commercial property on the exact opposite side often had a vehicle blocking any would-be overtaking manoeuvre on the left. Many fender benders have resulted and it is inevitable that the road must eventually continue as a double lane until at least past Masi to allow overtaking of the queues of cars trying to turn in there.

Most of the above serves only as an opportunity to vent the collective frustration of road users on the Kommetjie road, but is necessary as a preamble to the point of this little blog. Before the single lanes were bulldozed to oblivion, the wide verges that would be replaced by two and three lanes of tar were home to the beautiful indigenous shrub, lobostemon fruticosus (eight day healthbush), and late winter/early spring were a sight to behold in all their pale blue magnificence. Suddenly the construction machinery arrived and within days the verges had been scraped and heaped and bulldozed until just bare, level ground remained. If I had known this would happen, I would have spent time digging up as many plants as possible (aware that transplanting fynbos is not always successful) simply to rescue them for a chance of survival elsewhere. I was surprised that nobody else appeared to have done it, or perhaps it all happened too suddenly for action to be taken, but it points out that development of land seldom takes into account the original inhabitants – in this case, lobostemon.

This took place perhaps six years ago now, and I travel this road almost daily, without too much opportunity to enjoy the landscaping which replaced the wasteland as the traffic is entirely free flowing now. The other day, my eye was caught by a large patch of shrubbery up on the bank where the lobostemon thrived, and the colour of the flowers gave it away immediately – a delicate blue-mauve smothering each shrub. The tough seeds had survived the carnage and, no doubt helped by the record-breaking rains of the first six months of this year, had germinated and thrived unnoticed with their discreet grey foliage. Now they are as splendid as ever, and will bear new seeds to be cast in the strong southeasters that sweep across the valley, reclaiming their place in our landscape. Two separate plants are growing strongly further along, and I can now look forward to passing this way with less haste, to admire Nature’s resilience despite Man’s interference.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *