I bless the rains down in Africa; Baobabs, Beauty and Baubles in Zimbabwe; 

Travellers and residents of Africa, we are all familiar with the iconic ‘upside down tree”, the iconic baobab of Africa which stands much of the year bare and sculptural against the clear winter sky in Zimbabwe.

Its branches twist and turn in the dry air, despairing roots seeking moisture; the thirsty supplications of a gothic giant princess from a Grimms Fairy tale….

Baobab.

Ponderous leafless princess

with advance guard of thorns 

to slow the march of time. 

She slumbers 

awaiting a kiss 

from the first rain.

Lin Barrie 2021

Much as I love sketching and painting this stark dry tracery of branches beneath the cloudless skies of our Zimbabwean lowveld winters, I bless the promise of a wet summer.

Before the rainy season even truly begins, the baobabs pull resources from deep within themselves and spring into fresh green leaves, palm-shaped and joyous in anticipation of cloudy skies as they drop to the ground at our Tsavene house in the Save Valley Conservancy.

Adansonia digitata leaf and stamens…

Starry starry nights are ours as baobabs shyly explode their bounty of frilly white flowers in the darkness of the African night, dancing to beetle song, brushed by bats’ wings….

Baobabs are my icons, representative of all that I love in the wilderness. Providing sustenance and shelter to a myriad creatures, including man, they are icons of the ecosystems of birth and growth and death all around me.

Their tracery of branches and baubles of buds, flowers and then pods are all the decoration a naturally festive tree needs! Pure and joyous inspiration for my artworks.

Zimbabwean storytellers, dreamers, poets, artists, and craftspeople embrace the baobab.

I collect the wonderful wire baobabs that are sold on the side of the road. These wire trees grace my home and many tourism lodges such as Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge, all year round.

In the festive season we merely add more beaded baubles…….

I see baobab flower imagery everywhere…

On the edge of Gonarezhou National Park, Mahenye Village hut paintings seem to celebrate the shape of this beauty…

I bless the rains down in Africa….

The first smatterings of fat drops that escape their prison of cloud and hit the dry red earth waft an unforgettable scent into the air. Redolent of herbs, bare earth and dusty sunsets, this smell is called ‘petrichor’ and of course can be smelt worldwide with the first rains on thirsty earth, but it seems nowhere more powerful, more nostalgic , more sweet, than here on our own home ground!

A season of rain, renewal and hopefully abundance is our hot hot summertime in Zimbabwe, A time of flowers, butterflies and crops growing in the ground.

I bless the rain down in Africa…
I bless the rains down in Africa…

Christmas, the festive holidays, bring families together in normal times, but in these covid times travel is restricted and many families have to rely on photographs, shared memories and messages to be together. Handmade baubles that I have posted to far-flung family grace their Christmas trees worldwide every year.

I have a treasured wire baobab that sits in our lounge year round, and at Christmas the children decorate it with the knitted Gogo Olive animals and beaded embroidered ornaments that I have collected over years…

Our house is a place of memories, of nurturing. Baobab stained glass windows and baobab muesli if you want to eat healthy….

The rains of Africa have brought us a green horizon, a midsummer night’s dream of hope, renewal and future plans… accompanied by Jackie’s handmade fruit mince tarts of course….

A time to celebrate the festive season and the coming New Year…..

New starts, resolutions, and letting go the old….

Africa!

I hear the drums echoing tonight
But she hears only whispers of some quiet conversation
She’s coming in, 12:30 flight
The moonlit wings reflect the stars that guide me towards salvation
I stopped an old man along the way
Hoping to find some old forgotten words or ancient melodies
He turned to me as if to say
“Hurry boy, it’s waiting there for you”It’s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I bless the rains down in Africa
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had (ooh, ooh)The wild dogs cry out in the night
As they grow restless, longing for some solitary company
I know that I must do what’s right
As sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti
I seek to cure what’s deep inside, frightened of this thing that I’ve becomeIt’s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I bless the rains down in Africa
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had (ooh, ooh)Hurry boy, she’s waiting there for youIt’s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I bless the rains down in Africa
I bless the rains down in Africa
(I bless the rain)
I bless the rains down in Africa 
I bless the rains down in Africa
I bless the rains down in Africa 
(Gonna take the time)
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had (ooh, ooh)

About wineandwilddogs

Lin Barrie The Save Valley Conservancy stretches along the upper reaches of the great Save River in the south east of Zimbabwe. The Gonarezhou National Park laps against the southern banks of the Save River and between these two nestles the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve. These three celebrated wildlife areas form part of the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area, (GLTFCA)- a unique wilderness jewel which is home to the “Big Five” (endangered Black and White rhinos, elephants, buffalo, lion, leopard) and the ”Little Six” (Klipspringer, Suni, Duiker, Steenbok, Sharpe's Grysbok and Oribi). Endangered African wild dogs, Cheetah, Brown hyena, Bat-eared foxes and a host of special birds and plants contribute to the immense variety of this ecosystem. Communities around the GLTFCA contribute to innovative partnerships with National Parks and the private sector, forming a sound base on which to manage social, economic and environmental issues. This is home to artist and writer Lin Barrie and her life partner, conservationist Clive Stockil. Expressing her hopes, fears and love for this special ecosystem with oil paints on canvas, Lin Barrie believes that the essence of a landscape, person or animal, can only truly be captured by direct observation. Lin Barrie states: “Through my art, and my writing, I feel an intimate connection with the natural world, and from my extensive field sketches of wild animals, people and landscapes, I create larger works on canvas. Lin's work is in various public and private collections in South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Australia, England, Canada, Sweden and the United States of America. She is represented by galleries in South Africa, Zimbabwe, England, Kenya and Florida, USA.
This entry was posted in abstract art, adventure travel, Africa, africa, African child, African flora, African Plant Hunter, African Safari, african trees, african wildlife, arid areas, art, baobab, beauty, bio diversity, bush camps, butterflies, Changana people, Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge, christmas, Christmas tree, citizen science, climate change, clive stockil, community, conservation, crafts, cultural beliefs, culture, Design, dreams, eco-tourism, ecosystem, edible plant, endangered species, environment, fairytale, family, festive season, flowers, food, food culture, Friendship, gardens, gardens and flowers, gonarezhou national park, Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park, Hogmanay, home grown food, homegrown, interior decor, interior design, landscapes, Lin Barrie Art, Lin Barrie publication, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to I bless the rains down in Africa; Baobabs, Beauty and Baubles in Zimbabwe; 

  1. Deryn says:

    Thank you LIn, for such a wonderful description of our Zimbabwe Christmas season! I love the petrichor, miss it so much. The baobab is indeed a magical tree!

  2. Jeremy Borg says:

    Really enjoyed reading this.

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