Friends took me on a quiet ten minute ramble on the hill behind their house, in Noordhoek. Winter rains had filled a seep area, ringed with restios, clicking with invisible frogs. To reach the sandy path we walked across a neighbour's garden and through a gate where a rusty lock swung, about which Rosie was unhappy. Locks, gates, accessways, and domestic vulnerabilities are a part of many days' conversation, here. A raptor glided above us on a thermal, impersonal, waiting for prey to show itself, and for its opportunity to strike.
At the traffic lights people beg. Children hunt through trash cans. Under the arches of city highways the homeless sleep. In the brush the woodcutters make their camps. Behind the walls the well fed dine, and receive their crime watch newsletters, and count the burglaries for the last few weeks, or choose to read them no more. At home I prowl like a thief, checking the perimeters and the outer doors, their locks and their frames, trying to see familiar things with new eyes for weaknesses.
The perfect days pass and the rain returns, sweeping in on its winter wings. In the middle of the city the mountain rises, covered with fynbos, blooming now, with pin cushions and proteas, clean water dripping from the rocks and through the green moss.