Stoep sitting after the rain
In the Karoo, when the weather is fine and you’re feeling really placid, you find a stoep, sit down, and count your blessings. Luckily, the weather is nearly always fine in the Karoo and we feel really placid most of the time, so when you come to visit us in the Karoo there’s a very good chance you will find us on our stoeps.
Stoep sitting is not a rigorous sport. You do need to bend your elbow frequently, when raising glass to lip, but most of us are happy to endure this discomfort as a small price to pay for the benefits to mind and body of this singular pastime.
The activity is not for everyone. Those for whom the thrill of leaping out of planes or abseiling down treacherously high mountains gives them the adrenaline rush that ignites their minds should steer clear of this relatively tame alternative. We get our rush when, once the curtain has fallen on the day and the nightly bioscope projector has been switched on by Zeus in his universal wisdom, we look up and our eyes are taken yet again by the splendour of infinity. We catch our collective breath, as though we have never before seen these wonders that shine above us despite our worthlessness in the greater scheme of things. We are reminded, once again, of how infinitesimal we are, and how infinite, how unfathomably vast, is everything that is not ourselves.
Sit on the stoep after the rain, and there’s an even more magical aura about everything. The scents of the dry earth unleashing its bouquet of leaf, blossom and soil as the rain releases it from its scorched aridity is to be savoured like the finest wine. “After the rain” has so much meaning, and is such a compellingly beautiful phrase in Afrikaans, that a singer even named himself after it: Joshua na die Reën.
So we gather on our stoeps, with our friends or neighbours popping in to kuier, and we tell stories of the land and the sky, of the trees and the creatures that scurry among the karoobossies. I share my stories of my cooking adventures, of the jam I made with the figs that a friend gave me or how I learnt to cook a Wagyu ...