The Dumb

May 7, 2011

The scene that presents itself to me as I sit here percolating in my thoughts is criminally beautiful. I’m sitting on the porch of a thatch roofed bungalow. The naked beams and rafters wind their way up to large support pillars hewn from gnarled  and ancient arbor. The tan plaster walls are soaking up the dying rays of the sun setting over the Zambezi river basin. The 5 Jack Russells are lounging lazily… strewn about in haphazard orientation… ears and tails twitching to swat the equally lazy flies that dizzily wind their way through the cooler evening air.

that lucky ol’ sun hangin over the Zambezi

Sheep. That is the sound that is most prominent to my senses. The gentle and persistent bleating of a herd of exactly 531 sheep. Exactly. I know this because I counted them today… twice. I watched 531 of these brainless beasts stumble their way out of their foal, down the chute, and into the big wild and dangerous world. Then at the end of the day I watched the same 531 dim mammals noisily clamor back up the shoot into their nocturnal habitation. Hopeless animals. Counting sheep DOES actually make you drowsy though… I can vouch.

Not that sheep aren’t cute in their own way, but the owner of these sheep once said that he has to beg these animals to stay alive… and he wasn’t exaggerating. They are just about the most dense creatures  envisionable. Say there is an open gate and ten sheep need to go through it, you can bet that at least a couple will attempt entering through the solid wire fence. The expression on the face of a sheep appears just a shade smarter than the expression a bag of rocks might have if you asked it directions to Albuquerque. There really is not much positive that can be said of them in the way of mental capacity. They do stick together… that is a nice feature. Hold on a minute… if Jesus is our Sheppard… and we are his sheep…. HEY!

The scene I described earlier and the setting of all this sheepishness is none other than the fast growing farm of the illustrious Hein and Melissa Myburgh. Hein had to make an emergency trip up to Uganda and ,wouldn’t you know it, we were in the neighborhood… so we got the opportunity to help out at the farm for about a week. Melissa showered up with gourmet cuisine and regaled us with tails of marriage, love, and Hein for the duration of our stay (which was actually quite entertaining). To say she missed her husband is a gross understatement. The week was filled with such activities as sheep herding (also known as idiot wrangling), cement slab pouring, block laying, dog petting, porch sitting, tea drinking, and all manner of other enjoyable tasks.

Mukuyu (the farm) is a supremely serene place. I think my resting heart rate lowered at least 3 beats per minute while I was there. The sounds of hippos laughing and splashing in the swirling currents of the Zambezi is washing over me and lulling my into a sublimity that shouldn’t be possible on this earth. Untainted… that is the best word I can ascribe to this place.

Before we came to Mukuyu, Bjorn and I had spent most of the week building one day churches with Alan Knowles of Riverside fame. I can’t express the joy I have garnered from again spending time with such good people as the Knowles. Alan and Pauline are that rare breed of good that is both magnetic and contagious. People are better for knowing them and interacting with them. This weekend will be spent fraternizing, laughing, and nostalgizing with the likes of these people. Then Bjorn and I will board the Toyota Hilux of Hein and Melissa bound for South Africa and the finish line. The end is near and our time is dear.



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