I often find myself thinking in terms of temperature when describing color in landscapes.
In Namibia, Etosha National Park was exceptional in its white-hot quality. Rolling and bumping over the gravel and dust in our rented 4×4, ours was several days of first impressions. A strange array of colors kept hitting my senses…rosy grays, pale yellow-greens, tan – silvery blue, white and pink…all moving across my line of sight like a mirage.
The season of our first impressions was winter in the southern hemisphere; June and July. Any bright green that had been produced by the rain in January and February had succumbed to the parched palette we observed.
I liked it. It had a brittle beauty – that I could feel. The days were short-sleeve warm, like the pinks, corals and tans of the plants and earth underfoot. When daylight left the horizon, we felt the coolness descend on us like a cloak. The air became a 3-dimensional veil of magenta, lavender, blue and silver. The earth became tones of cool brown.
Namibia delivered its winter weather like clockwork. Cool sunrise, warm-dry-hot days, sunset, cold nights…all at 3,600′ elevation. Our hats, fleece and puffy jackets that were on call were put into action as the sun dropped in Etosha.
The dry season drew animals to the remaining water holes. One hot afternoon, we drove around a curve in the road and up a slight rise to find ostrich and black-faced impala in our view. They joined together at a blue hole in the shimmering mirage of the Great Pan. (the Etosha Pan covers 1,860 suare miles)!
I loved this place! – Etosha with its thorn trees and rose-white-dust. I felt an aliveness among the expanse…and small, in relation to the giraffe, elephants and rhinos and hundreds of other animals and birds that I was privileged to watch for a few days. My awareness of the trivial part that I play, was heightened by a sense of reciprocity, with all that share this planet.
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