Eve Palmer celebrates the Karoo

The Mid-Karoo region is using the works of author Eve Palmer, a “child” of the area, to promote the route. In The Plains of Camdeboo she writes: “Few people have the good fortune to be born in a desert. I was and all my life I have been conscious of my luck.” Like other deserts and semi-deserts, she wrote, “Ours is a country of life.” She adds: “We have only to walk or ride into the veld to know this and be caught up in its pattern: the squat, fat, angled plants; the hunting spiders that flicker between them; the ground squirrels upright beside their burrows; the vultures; the pale wild gladioli; the cobras; the scorpions; the mantis coloured like a flower; the black beetles rolling balls of dung; the koringkrieks lurching on immense crooked legs. Here moves a steenbok, a duiker, a springbuck, a lark clapping its wings above us; here are the tracks of an ant-bear; red dust and mottled eggs; arrowheads; the smell of rain, Karoo bush, wild asparagus, mountains and hills floating in a mirage of water, a white hot sky, the sound of cicadas and wings and wind. This home of my childhood lies on this vast plateau, rimmed by mountains.”

© Rose’s Roundup, vol. 2, no. 52, January 2008.

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