Life is lived together in the company of kin at all times in camp on the Homelands (almost without exception).
It took me some time to adjust to the lack of solitude and privacy. There were a few months where I quietly raged against it. I would wake well before sunrise, careful not to wake anyone, and walk along the gravel airstrip down to the water’s edge and back and forth and back again. The night sky is so vast and I’d watch it wash over into dawn. This was a completely stupid thing to do given how many buffalo are around at that hour but I cared not at that stage. I had a couple of dogs with me.
Anyhow, the following is an excerpt from my field notes from May 2008. I am writing of one of these pre-dawn jaunts, of stealing a moment to myself.
There’s only a short window between night and dawn.
The eastern sky becomes black-blue. But still the stars and the moon glint and glean.
And then without a thought for the west (still blanketed in night) the East lights pink, a dim lit yellow, and they seep across the sky.
The dawn is spilt; the day alight.
~ Field note Book #3, p. 30.