Words and Images Grant Spolander, Additional Images Michael Wilson and Hillary Fox
The silence was deafening. I’d never quite understood this phrase until, one day, high in the Anysberg Mountain range, I heard it for the first time: Deafening Silence. To be clear, I’m not talking about finger-in-your-ear silence; what I’m referring to feels like a weight pressing against your eardrum. I was still deciding whether or not I liked the sensation, when, in the extreme depths of my inner ear, I heard a faint buzzing sound. At the time, I was leaning against a slab of sandstone, staring at the plateau’s low-lying shrub. My eyes twitched back and forth as I tried to discover where the noise was coming from, and then I saw it – at an impossible distance from where I stood, a lone bee was hovering over a late-blooming autumn flower. I suddenly felt like a madman, transfixed in a world of impossibility and superhero hearing. I started humming the Spiderman theme song to distract myself and hurriedly returned to the Isuzu to continue our drive home.
We were nearing the end of our Anysberg 4×4 tour; that plateau mentioned at the beginning marked the start of our final descent. Before that, we had negotiated dozens of rocky climbs, ploughed through clumps of dense reeds and, on the odd occasion, found ourselves veering off the track. I’d phoned the reserve manager, Marius Brand, just a week before, to ask if the Anysberg Mountain Trail was still open.