Firefighter

View from the deck on Sunday

Most days, my life consists of bed-car-work-car-tv-bed.  Not hugely inspiring, but I think most of us urbanites enjoy the same thrilling existence in one form or another.

For Christmas we went to visit the in-laws, who live on a farm in Greyton.  It’s not just a little farm, DH’s stepdad has bought a piece of land, built a mansion on it and made it his mission to let the land return to it’s former glory.  There’s no farming, spraying or any other environmentally degrading activity going on.  My in-laws are also animal lovers, and can’t say no to a rescue, which in Africa can result in a well populated home.  At the moment I think they have 6 dogs, 2 cats  and 5 donkeys.  All rescued except for the Jack Russell.

Their house really is spectacular, these are not people who sit around dreaming, the thought no sooner enters their mind and their reality is created.  They aren’t even exceptionally wealthy, they tend to just find opportunities and make them happen, then work out the details as they go along!

So yesterday morning, I was contemplating the difference between my life and theirs, sitting on the deck, taking in the spectacular view, and eating my yoghurt with blueberries and nuts and bananas.  The view, which consists of uninterrupted rolling hills and mountains from left to right, suddenly looked a little odd.  Behind one of the mountains came a plume of smoke and a flicker of flame, and in seconds, it became a line of fire.  Like a little red frill on the mountain.

My father in law was in Cape Town, about two hours drive away, climbing Table Mountain with his son and grandsons.  I called my husband and mother in law, and we sat for a while, watching the flames sweep across the hills.  The wind seemed to be blowing the fire away from us, to the right.  And actually we spent a large part of the day watching the flames in the distance.  At some point FIL came home with his son and grandkids and the three of them, DH, FIL and the son went off to fight the fire, while we watched from the balcony.

Line of fire approaching, tractor and firetruck visible on the right

To be honest it was fruitless, the view from our balcony told the story clearly, little ant sized men beating tiny sections of a fire which spanned kilometers.  But you can’t really watch your neighbour fight the fire while you drink your tea, it’s human nature to do “something”.  And MIL and I ran around the kitchen making lunch ready for our firefighters when they came home (in truth our firefighters were having the time of their lives, they came back all pleased with themselves in spite of the futility of it all).

I had another one of those moments of truth – it felt so good, making lunch and watching my man out in the field.  Almost, but not quite, barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen!   I had the barefoot in the kitchen thing down in any case.  I wondered to myself, what was it that we actually gained from the whole women’s liberation thing?  Was it bed-car-work-car-tv-bed?  Of course, it’s true that it has given us the opportunity to grow and learn and it certainly is something I am very grateful for.  But welcoming my firefighter DH home to his barefoot lunch making wife, I could gladly do that on a more frequent basis.  Oh go on, throw pregnant in there!

We had to leave after lunch, since bed-car-work-car-tv-bed was calling.  But apparently this morning at 5 am the fire did reach the house and the two remaining “firefighters” and all the neighbours had to fight for a while to gain control of it.  I think I speak for us both when I say we would much rather have been there than back in our city life.

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