I returned to Cape Town yesterday after six months in the USA. In an attempt to lessen the affect of jet lag I went for a walk in the afternoon. It was a fairly typical summer’s day in Cape Town. Warm with a fairly significant warm wind. Thankfully it wasn’t overly hot.
What struck me as I walked along was the familiarity of the space. It is a walk along a canal near where I live. But it wasn’t just the visual familiarity but the but the familiarity of the quality of the air that struck me. The gentle absence of humidity. The warmth of the sun. The strength of the wind. The warmth of the wind.
I have often said that one of the things I miss about living on the highveld is the innate familiarity from childhood. The glorious tension in the air before an afternoon thunderstorm in the summer. The smell of the rain on the soil and on the hot tarmac.
And yet, over the years this place has gently got under my skin. I can’t say that it feels like the place that I am ‘from’. But it is far more a part of me now that I had realised.
Then I began to count the years – I have lived in Cape Town for 13 years. Just a few months shy of a third of my life! It is hardly surprising that it is now familiar. There is something comforting about that.