Sunday, January 25, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
To my left a baboon barks on a cliff face basking in gold treacle morning light. Straight ahead massive-scale sunshine beams have transformed the Three Rondawels into a surrealistic set for a phenomenal piece of on-going theatre. Far below the Blyde River is His voice as it storms through the canyon and then, simultaneously, also His voice, is the serene, immensely deep and rippleless lake that tugs and draws on the dark, silent place of my soul that is eons old, universal.
My life, all life, is miraculous. I rip out my heart from my chest and offer it in both my uplifted hands - because never was it mine.
This time around my hands will be a faster reacting, more obedient extension of His.
From The Rock - that even this very minute is my foundation, perched anything but precariously over this canyon - I'm going to launch my flight.
Now to simplify further, to travel even lighter, to sleep in the forest with one ear alert.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
We watched in awe the reflection of the sun setting against the 'three rondawels'. Shortly before that I finished Theroux's 'Ghost Train to the Eastern Star'. Then we went for a celebratory dinner where we sat under the stars drinking champagne. Now to bath and then bed. As you can read, I'm out of words tonight....
Don gets up and is a most unlikely Don - he's very short and squat; it can't be him. Damn, because there's some compliments I wanted to pay.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Thursday, January 15, 2009
A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all else it teaches entire trust. - Gertrude Jekyll
While in Jozi earlier this week I took out some time from the rat race I immediately found myself in and walked around Emmarentia Dam and the adjoining botanic gardens.
I've been coming to this garden for inspiration and solace since 1981, also to shed buckets of tears, to make my important decisions - about work, debt, money owed, relationships and those I've allowed to break my heart.
There I've walked many kilometres just out from under the shadow of the two phallic towers - Hillbrow and Brixton - that citydwellers hardly notice on the Johannesburg skyline, but I'm sure have played prominent roles, unconsciously or not, in many lives. At one time they used to inspire me, for all the wrong reasons; I used to wait anxiously for them to prick and puncture the skyline of the great city as I robotically travelled towards it from wherever I was: erotic semi-naked beach holidays on any of the coastlines, a pent up cricket ball of testosterone returning from weeks away in the army, back from university in Grahamstown.
At Emmarentia I've walked into reality the wispy, candyfloss fabric of my dreams - first those related to my life in a city I loved and that inspired me, then related to a life outside and away from the city, where I find myself now.
At Emmarentia I was never alone: here, along the many paths and parts of the massive garden (one for every mood, from sexual to holy) I developed my relationship with God. There I moved from a one-sided space of begging, cajoling, bargaining to an enlightened space of love on the top of the montain at the horizon's very edge, visible even from the gutters I constantly slid back into. Above all else it provided me with silence and solitude, the essential foundation of everything, and the invisible step ladder out of the gutter and away from the abyss.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
(Pamuk, author of 'My Name is Red', was the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2006.)
Friday, January 09, 2009
The bird's are chirping, the trucks are pumping out diesel fumes and the weekend's beckoning... I couldn't be happier.
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Having read Edwin Cameron's 'Witness to Aids' (published in 2005) and then having met him, I have nothing but the utmost respect for this man, his humility, humour and his accomplishments:
On the 31st of December 2008 President Kgalema Motlanthe announced he had chosen Justice Edwin Cameron to take over the position left vacant by Constitutional Court Justice Tholakele Madala, who retired at the end of 2008.
Cameron, who has been serving as a Supreme Court of Appeal judge, commented that he was "humbled" by his appointment to South Africa's highest court.
"I'm overjoyed at the opportunity to serve in that court because the Constitution is the bedrock of our democracy and that court is the guardian of the Constitution, so it's a very humbling opportunity and a very exciting one," Cameron said.
An openly gay man living with HIV, Cameron was described by Nelson Mandela as a "hero" when he became the first prominent public official in the country to reveal his HIV positive status.
HIV activist Zackie Achmat told The Star newspaper that he had spoken to the judge after his appointment was announced on New Year's Eve. "I think this is one of the most important events in his life," he said. "The Constitutional Court needs judges who will continue its legacy of independence and rigour."
"I happen to be white, male, gay, living healthily with HIV (and 193cm tall, and bald). None of those incidental attributes defines me as a human being - but each helps me appreciate how precious our constitutional scheme is, because it grows our strength through affirming our diversities as South Africans," Cameron told the Weekend Argus.
In addition to Judge Cameron, the Judicial Service Commission recommended three other nominees to Motlanthe, who made the final decision after consulting Chief Justice Pius Langa and opposition party leaders.
There are eleven Constitutional Court justices who serve a non-renewable term of 12 years.
Judge Cameron will move into his chambers at the court on the 12th of January 2009.
Source (with thanks): South Africa: The Good News (www.sagoodnews.co.za)
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
As I said it's been a long day. I've driven to the petit satellite Seattle coffee shop about 17km from me for a cafè mocha and the front seat at the sunset. At my feet, just through the plate glass of the shop, a common sparrow, commonly known here as a mossie, is scrambling for crumbs.. its the most humble bird of them all. And my favourite.
I'm lingering here because, like the cat I suppose, it's good to be rubbing up against people. There's also something erotic about these anonymous stop over places on the edge of the highway, not unlike a border post.
Monday, January 05, 2009
This he writes in 'Ghost Train to the Eastern Star' as he leaves India;his words punch me in the gut because he writes so bloody well, because his words drag me screaming and squemish (I'll check spelling in the morning) along its "hideous and impassable roads", because they're frightening:
"One day I saw a round fruit by the side of the road. It was crawling with insects, alive with big ants, blackened by them. Was it a coconut or a durian? Whatever, it represented a little world of hunger obscured by its eaters.
... "What sent me away finally [from India] was something simpler, but larger and inescapable. It was the sheer mass of people, the horribly thronged cities, the colossal agglomeration of elbowing and contending Indians, the billion-plus, the sight of them, the sense of their desperation and hunger, having to compete with them for space on on sidewalks, on roads, everywhere - what I'd heard on the train from Amritsar: 'Too many. Too many.' All of them jostling for space, which made for much of life there a monotony of frotteurism, life in India being an unending experience of unconsensual rubbing.
"And not because it was India - Indians were good-humored and polite on the whole - but because it was the way of the world. The population of the United States had doubled in my lifetime, and the old simple world I had known as a boy was gone. India was a reminder to me of what was in store for us all, a glimpse of the future. Trillions of dollars were spent to keep people breathing, to cure disease, and to extend human life, but nothing was being done to relieve the planet of overpopulation, the contending millions, like those ants on the rotten fruit." (p. 236)
Friday, January 02, 2009
This is how he starts the book:
"You think of travelers as bold, but our guilty secret is that travel is one of the laziest ways on earth of passing the time. Travel is not merely the business of being bone-idle, but also an elaborate bumming evasion, allowing us to call attention to ourselves with our conspicuous absence while we intrude upon other people's privacy - being actively offensive as fugitive freeloaders. The traveler is the greediest kind of romantic voyeur, and in some well-hidden part of the traveller's personality is an unpickable knot of vanity, presumption, and mythomania bordering on the pathological. This is why a traveler's worst nightmare is not the secret police or the witch doctors or malaria, but rather the prospect of meeting another traveler." (p.1)