Thursday, September 5, 2013

African Joy and Sorrow - Maree

"The triumph of life is the joy experienced thereafter." 
- Maree 

Guinea standing on the wall, forlornly calling his missing wife.

A couple of years ago, one of my guinea fowl sitting on eggs was killed by a dog, leaving 10 eggs, on the point of hatching, without a mother. I gathered all the eggs and put them in a basket with a hot water bottle, trying to keep them warm to see if any of them would hatch. Two days later still nothing, but on the third day I heard a weak peep-peep from one of the eggs. None of the others showed any sign of life, so I decided to take matters into my own hands and open the one that was peeping. I gently peeled away the shell and lifted out a perfectly formed little guinea fowl, and placed him on the warm towel, drying his little body with a soft cloth until he lifted his little head and stared me straight in the eye. 

That was the beginning of a beautiful, long relationship with "Guinea", who spent five years following me everywhere and providing us with endless hours of pleasure with his surprising antics. He even lured a wild guinea fowl female from the wild (they used to pass through our property in large flocks, travelling from one field to another) and together they reared 5 clutches of beautiful little guinea fowl, all of whom stayed on our property for many years. 

When Guinea's wife disappeared one day, he was inconsolable, standing on the wall and calling for hours in that haunting 'phe-twee, phe-twee, phe-twee' that is so typical of the South African bush. After that, he would often disappear for a day or two until, one day, he didn't come home at all. I hoped and presumed that he had found another family and was happily roaming the fields surrounding our property. 

“This life as you live it now and have lived it, you will have to live again and again, times without number, and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and all the unspeakably small and great in your life must return to you and everything in the same series and sequence -- and in the same way this spider and this moonlight among the trees, and this same way this moment and I myself. The eternal hour glass of existence will be turned again and again -- and you with it, you dust of dust!”
 - Friedrich Nietzsche 



  1. Wonderful, touching story, Maree, thank you...and what a beautiful painting.

    1. Thanks ever so much Kate! My heart still aches when I think of Guinea...

    2. Oh yes, I can imagine. These loving creatures become so much a part of us. I had a goose out on our farm that was incredibly affectionate...he'd follow me all over, even into the outhouse! He loved to have his neck petted...I was devastated when the neighbors' dogs killed him, but there was no keeping him fenced in.

    3. Aaah, sorry to hear that Kate. Dogs (and other predators) are always such a worry.

  2. Such a touching story and a beautiful sketch! :)

  3. ...beautiful painting, and I really enjoyed reading the story about Guinea!


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