Monday, September 11, 2006

The Magnolias that Lost their Way

I recently traveled to a land where I discovered magnolia trees that had lost their way. Standing around in obvious dismay, glorious pinkish blossoms animating an otherwise arid landscape, they have no purpose. No place. It is said that they once marked the elaborate pathways to lavish farmlands and farmhouses. A tribute to the barren landscape that is Zimbabwe, nowdays they congregate rather forlornly beside the heavyset baobab trees that stand as skyscrapers throughout the region. Displaced prettiness in a land of a darker and deeper kind of beauty. Driving out to Zimbabwe from South Africa is like crossing over the time barrier. The roads are dilapidated. A drive along the main routes is an obstacle course of pothole-dodging and caution regarding ambling livestock left to graze unattended. We were wisely advised to travel only during the day. The fuel situation is another cause for concern. Arriving in Masvingo, enquiring at two fuel stations proved fruitless. They were running on empty. Our destination, Mutare, was in a similar plight. Our hosts had pre-arranged fuel reserves for the arrival of all anticipated guests. They were to be hosting a wedding. My mind kept drifting back to the plight of the magnolia trees. Like the lavish wedding in the midst of an abjectly poor country, they too seem displaced in the natural grassland, without a notion of allotting blame to anyone in particular.

No comments: