The lonely Karoo farmyard appears like an oasis in its rugged landscape.
Skills honed over generations ensure production to feed both farmer and a share of townsfolk. Agricultural methods improve in living, learning systems over time, or decay. Buried ancestors would gape or turn in their graves at the practices of those that came later, be they offspring or newcomers; progressing or losing the plot. Some farmers have to lock their doors at night. Sometimes in vain.
When the farmer drives to town he is greeted and respected, sometimes envied for the assets he visibly has. The share owned by the bank doesn't show when he strolls down the main street.
Back and alone on the farm he surveys the fields of drying grass, the water level in the dam. Failure, disaster, extinction touches his back. No matter how much was done to make it all work, a time comes when there is a reckoning and the weather wins, even if the rains come tomorrow.
Times change, sped up by science or slowed down by social and economic realities. Is the lifestyle sustainable? Civilisation does not progress in linear fashion. It is finite, but recurs cyclically and adopts forms that hold surprise.
Some peaks represent rhythm and progress, not always supported by nature. Some troughs last longer than the capacity of the resident population… and nature unperturbed, breathes again.