Braai (BBQ). Full moon. Lunar eclipse. Genet. Yes, I’m about to write a post that contains them all!
The scene is Matopos, in Zimbabwe. We are having a lovely braai over an open fire and have just finished cooking our meat. The full moon is incredibly bright, but then a small, strange cloud passes over one corner of it. My binoculars are still round my neck, so I take a look and realize this perfect circle covering the edge of the moon is no cloud. Its getting darker; stars are starting to appear; the milky way covers the sky; instead of a world full of sharp contrast and moon shadows, we are sitting in a strange gloom, with a halo of pale light visible behind the moon. A full lunar eclipse!
While we are discussing the unexpected eclipse, we hear munching nearby. In the darkness we can just make out the beautifully spotted and striped coat of a genet who, while we were distracted, had helped himself to a piece of meat from the braai. Even though we were surrounded by fallen leaves, he seemed to be able to move in almost utter silence – only the white of his coat gave him away.
Slowly, the night sky brightened again as the ‘cloud’ disappeared from the face of the moon; the milky way receeded; stars popped out 1 by 1; and we were back to the brightly lit jumble of boulders and crooked trees that is Matopos. We looked around for our guest the genet, and he too had gone, almost as if he’d never been there. But there were a couple of pieces of meat missing from the braai, so we knew we hadn’t imagined the whole magical event!
Until next time…