Wednesday, 1 June 2011

My HeartVeld

I could tell you why I love grass and grassland (veld, as it is locally know), with all it's constituent, intimately interrelated biotic and abiotic elements and manifest beauties and mysteries -  I can go on all day about this, as you know - but let me just leave it up to Oom Jannie Smuts (South African statesman, general, and intellectual) who coined the word 'Holism"...

Jan Smuts on Grasses, Veld and Ecology

“Give me the grasses, the rolling veld, the bushveld Savannah, with bush and trees dotting the endless grass scene in all its variety of shade and tone, with scents and sounds of bird and insect added, and shy animals stealing through the grass cover...

...This is the grass pattern of life, and there is no fascination like it.  It is the combination of it all, the ecology of the grasses with their associated plant and animal life, which gives it such a unique interest.”

Foreword by the Right Hon. J.C. Smuts in “Grasses and Pasture of South Africa”

Tim Dee (in Four Fields) goes further, wider … 

“Let [the Masa Mara ] then be one field. The sun splashed down between great cakes of cloud on to countless communities of grass-life: spread acres of tall grass and of short, herd after herd of mixed animals, browns and blacks and fawns, scattered trees and their tethered shadows. Every yellow, every green, every brown surrounded me, running from my feet to the edge of the world.”

“The grass which covers everything is not just superficial – it becomes the Earth as well as growing from it, for the movement and shape of the land rhymes with the movement and shape of its outgrowth; the grass is both the world’s body and its gesture”.

Behold the wonder, the joy - the ever-unfolding living creativity of Darwin's tangled bank:

It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us... 

There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity,  from  so  simple  a  beginning  endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

Darwin (1859): Origin of Species

(Photo: @plainjerry)


  1. Love the veld too. Enjoy the feeling of the landscape and the space in between.


  2. Jannie Smutts may have an unfortunate name, but he certainly has a great turn of phrase!

  3. Remembering ...