The cool of the night

The cool night air drifts through the open window, bringing with it the heady scent of the jasmine that covers the naked limbs of an old tree below, and the shushing sounds of the sea lapping on the rocky shore not 50m away. In the distance, the strident call of an oystercatcher cuts through the softer sounds, rising and falling as it passes by in frantic flight, who knows where.

The last rains have left pools of water in random receptacles, a perfect breeding ground for the mosquitoes that also come through the open window, buzzing at decibels seemingly impossible for such an insubstantial creature, silenced only by the self-inflicted slap in the face as I swat wildly in the direction of the sound. Silence. The bats that roost by day in the eaves feast nightly on these pesky insects, immortalised in that perfectly descriptive Afrikaans poem by AD Keet, ‘Muskietejag!’ learned by heart in Std 3 and never forgotten.

The swifts and swallows have arrived from the north and can be seen swooping and soaring high overhead in their hundreds as they, too, feast on the multitude of bugs that herald the onset of summer. Without the bugs, the birds would have no reason to migrate, as everything depends on food sources for breeding – as the climate changes across the globe, vegetation and accompanying flora and fauna have lessened, and over the decades a marked decrease in bird numbers has been recorded. We must remember where the food chain starts – micro-organisms in the soil, feasted on by the crawlers, then the ground-dwellers and then the winged creatures, bees, moths and butterflies. Without these tiny beginnings, we cannot exist and so we must learn to appreciate the loathed mosquito a little more, rather than succumb to man’s passion for poisons. Nature must take its course, and those itchy bites will soon pass. The sea will continue to lap on the shore, and the jasmine will perfume the night air.

One thought on “The cool of the night

  • Nov 6, 2022 at 6:08 am
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    How do you do it Pamela,your blogs are all a joy to. read and digest. Bx

    Reply

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