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10 September 2014

Winter 2014

Durban, the city that is always green. With a subtropical climate and the ocean breeze, its always warm and moist. Its the place I grew up in, and until I visited Jo'Burg I never understood the value of moisturizer.

The coldest we ever get in winter in about 8 degrees Celsius, and we're generally still comfortable to walk around in jeans and a t-shirt.
It is often said of Durbs that it never gets winter, it only has 3 seasons - Spring, Summer and Autumn. Our summers get so hot that you wish you could peel your skin off, alas it is not a recommended solution however. And they last 6-7 months long. I often watch movies and TV where you see a stark contrast between winter and spring, where almost overnight everything starts flowering, but I have never before seen it in Durban.

Things have changed as the years go by though. Each year the summer has been getting hotter and the winter colder. This year it was not so cold, surprisingly. This year, it has just been dry!
Your average Durbanite may know it is dry because his grass is gone brown, but then he just turns on the hosepipe. Those living in the city might not even have noticed it, other than the pollution in the air.
But I have noticed it, because I have 25 hungry horses who need to eat. They live on grass and other vegetation. And usually winters are a tad tough, but nothing to worry about. This year has been different. This year we haven't had any rain at all to speak of (5 minutes of hail in Umhlanga every few months doesn't count or a ten minute drizzle every few weeks), not since about May 2013!
The city that I know, the one that is always green and turned to brown. Well brown and black where there have been fires. I've never known this place to get so many fires! I also have never experienced static electricity like this before, every day I'm getting little shocks and sparks with this lack of humidity, and everyone is needing moisturizer at the moment!
Worst off though, the grass is all gone. There is just sand everywhere. The horses have nothing left to eat in the fields. We are bringing in hay to feed them every day. But the province is even experiencing a hay shortage right now.

My garden, or what was once a garden is now nonexistent and the jungle I one lived in now looks like a typical "forest in fall" like you would see in pictures of America or Europe.
The streams and marshlands I once rowed a boat in are now solid ground that the car can drive along!
Its scary, and if the rains don't come soon, there will be no more food for the horses.

But in all of that, I can feel spring is in the air again. The birds are giving a chorus in the morning, the trumpet trees are all blooming bright yellow. The saringa trees are just starting to bud, the scent of their lilac flowers wafting through the air.
In the evenings even the crickets and fireflies are out and about. And somehow, with a prayer, a hope and a wish, I know the rains will come, I know things will get better soon.

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