Ink sketch and W&N watercolour on Amedeo 200gsm – from my imagination
There was this large grey Karoo tortoise trudging across a public lawn in Cape Town followed by a young woman with a sad drag in her feet.
“Yours?” I asked. She looked at me mournfully, and said, “A traveller picked her up on a dirt road near Beaufort West in the Karoo and left her at my backpackers. She’s dying here.”
“I could take her back,” I offered. “O please,” she said.
Two days later, when I pulled up outside her backpackers, the tortoise was in
a big box, her head and feet inside her shell.
The woman wept and said, “My husband says, how can I know you will take her back? But I know you will.”
Just inside the Karoo National Park, I put the tortoise down on arid earth. She pushed her feet and head out, sucked in the dry air, and powered over rock and bush to beyond a small bult … and I thought of my own small home surrounded by stony hills…
- Clive Lawrance