I have been in South Africa too long. When I look out of my window and see a streak of fire in my neighbors’ yard, I do not race out with bucket of water or call the Safety and Security Officer. Instead I contemplate, “is this a prescribed burn or an actual fire?”
My area is active in agriculture and one of the practices to maintain the soil and create a fire buffer before lighting wet season starts. Still the New Mexican sees fire and thinks that it bodes instant doom.
I was returning from a mid-afternoon stroll and along the road to the house, a family started to burn their field, as spring is approaching. The women and girls carefully ignite a boarder of the field while the men sit under the tree and wait and a gust of the wind sweeps the valley. The fire, inspired by the movement, builds itself into a millisecond frenzy and crashes against a wooden fence pole. As I run from the fragments of ash and plume of smoke flying into the road, the women start to pound the fire with all their might. Clenching their shirts, they fiercely slam the blazes with consistent blows. Their firm action stifles the conflagration within minutes and protects the community from a possible disaster.
In the Drakensburg, there is no need for electronics for entertainment. The wind provides it.