Oh to be free of myself,
With nothing left to remember,
To have my heart as bare
As a tree in December;
Resting, as a tree rests
After its leaves are gone,
Waiting no more for a rain at night
Nor for the red at dawn;
- Sara Teasdale, The Tree
Here in South Africa we are still tightly in the grip of Winter, with each day seeming to be colder than the next! Winter Solstice is long past, yet the days don't seem to be getting any longer at this stage.
This old Blue gum tree on our property was dealt a death blow by last year's veld fires, and is now home to and food for termites, who are in turn food for various birds - such is the cycle of life. It also offers a great vantage point for the Fiscal Shrike, who loves sitting in the top branches, surveying the ground for any movement and tit-bits. Last week I spotted the Gymnogene (Polyboroides typus - Harrier Hawk) feeding its young in this tree, which prompted me to do the sketch.
I didn't manage to get a pic of the Gymnogene, but found this one on the web at Bushveld.co.za