Back in the suburbs after our travels, we still have the transcendent sky Paradoxically, as it arches above us, out of reach and sublime, it also reconnects us to Earth.

Even in the city, glimpses of the sky can return us to the rhythm of the turning Earth. I have read that long-term prisoners when eventually released from prison are initially overawed by the sky, the sight of wide horizons free from being obscured or denied by bars, fences, walls and containment. The eye has to adjust to distance that is unconstrained.

A paiar of crowned eagles soaring high over the suburbs, KwaZulu-Natal

Flying high and free, two crowned eagles ride the air

We are fortunate to live in a suburb on the edge of town. Our short road is surrounded by a timber plantation. Although planted mostly with exotic eucalyptus trees, it does provide a haven for a resident pair of crowned eagles.

The plantation also means that at night we look out onto darkness (even when the lights are on in the absence of the current load shedding, the rolling blackouts across the country when there is insufficient capacity for the power grid to supply the nation). The relative darkness in our suburb accentuates the sunsets as there is little distracting light in the neighbourhood. All of the photos in this post were taken over the past few years from our garden.

A lurid sunset taken from a garden in the suburbs, KwaZulu-Natal

Sunset sky with plantation forming the level horizon beyond our garden

Trees patterning a sunset glow in the sky

Tree structures against an evening sky

Weaver bird nests in fever trees against a sunset sky in a suburban garden, South Africa

The nests of village weavers in fever trees in our garden in luminous evening light

A rising moon with pink cloud in an evening sky

I managed to catch the edge of a pink cloud as it passed over the rising moon early one evening

Acacia nilotica coming into flower against a blue sky, South Africa

A flawless blue sky provides a seamless backdrop to an acacia tree, which is just coming into flower. I think this is an Acacia nilotica (now named Vachellia nilotica). Sadly, this tree blew down in a storm two years ago, uprooting completely at ground level

Hadeda ibis calling from a roof top against a blue sky

Not that it needs much encouragment, an immaculately blue sky provides this hadeda ibis, perched on our roof, with something to crow about

A village weaver collecting nesting material with wings spread against a blue sky

I just like this snapshot of a village weaver with wings spread against the sky as it collects leafy twigs to line its nest

Dappled clouds high in the sky

These scudding clouds are unusual. Even though the sky is not the colour of a brindled cow, these clouds still make me think of the Gerard Manley Hopkins poem Pied Beauty

Cumulus clouds building against a blue sky

Some days in summer there are slow builds of cumulus clouds against the blue sky

Storm clouds starting to gather over a suburban garden, South Africa

There are days when the cumulus clouds precede the gathering of darker storm clouds

Grey storm clouds gather ominously

Unusually ominous and billowy clouds loom above the house late one afternoon before a storm

A storm starting over a suburban garden

The beginnings of another dramatic storm – the trees are already being buffeted by the wind

Sunrise in a suburban garden, South Africa

And finally, I took this photo of an unusually striking sunrise earlier this year from our bedroom window. I don’t usually have the presence of mind to take a photograph before I’ve had my first coffee, but there was something that morning that made me pick up my camera

I realised later that strangely enough, this sunrise was on my mother’s birthday – the first birthday since her death last year when she died two days before her birthday. Coincidentally, last year I photographed the sunrise from her window the day after she died. I posted that photograph here.

Posted by Carol

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