Saturday, July 25, 2009
Late last night, with the electric blanket on 'three', I finished reading Orhan Pamuk's unusual chronicle of his life in the city, Istanbul: Memories and the City. I was introduced to him by Paul Theroux, who dedicates almost an entire chapter to the writer in his own Ghost Train to the Eastern Star. I am now adamant to visit Turkey.
Theroux writes that he'd been invited to give a talk in Ankara, and it was hinted to him that the setting would be formal. "That meant I'd need a necktie, an article I did not possess. I bought one for a few dollars, and that night, to the invited guests, I enlarged on my theme of the return journey, how it reveals the way the world works, and makes fools of pundits and predictors. How it showed, too, the sort of traveller I'd been, what I'd seen, what I'd missed the first time.
"I was not in search of news - had never been, I said. I wanted to know more about the world, about people's lives. I wasn't a hawk in my travels; more a butterfly. But revelation was granted to the most aimless traveller, who was happier and more receptive to impressions. 'An aimless joy is pure joy,' I said, quoting Yeats.
'And wisdom is a butterfly
And not a gloomy bird of prey.'
To give you a bit more of an idea about the stone ruins around Waterval Boven, Machadodorp and Carolina, visit the Makomati Foundation's website. The photos above, also the information below is from there. Author Michael Tellinger has also founded a small but fascinating museum at his Stone Circle Bistro in Waterval Boven.
In the heart of southern Africa lies the scattered evidence of a lost civilisation whose people built some 20,000 stone structures. These breathtaking ruins constitute the largest continuous stone settlement ever built on Earth as it stretches over thousands of kilometres from South Africa all the way to Kenya and beyond.
These mysterious ancient ruins consist of dwellings, forts, temples roads, irrigation systems and agricultural terraces that cover thousands of square kilometres. It is our estimate that more stone went into building these features than went into building all of the Egyptian pyramids. It is an archaeologist’s dream that will unveil even greater and more mysterious secrets in years to come.
If you're travelling the N4 from the Machado Toll Plaza eastwards towards Waterval Boven, take the Lydenburg/Nelspruit (Schoemanskloof Road) to the left. When you're almost at the summit of the hill, on your left, along the side of the forest you'll notice in the distance some small ruins. Just after that is a sand road to the left, take it, and travel with it until you're above the ruins... there's a gate in the fence and you'll find that you have an incredible view of the entire valley, all the way to Imemeza (SeSwati for "place of shouting"), the mountain behind Waterval Boven. Either before the sand road or not long after it is a signpost for the forest on the left, which I believe is 'Camelot'. Next time I'll take a GPS reading to highlight the entrance to the sand road. Let me know what you think.
As yet no one really knows just how old these ruins are. If you clink some of the rocks together you'll hear that they are like iron stone and are very heavy. Respect the space and leave everything exactly as it is - take only photographs, leave only footprints. And enjoy...!
Monday, July 20, 2009
Tellinger also maintains that Waterval Boven, Machadodorp and Carolina lie in the heart of the ruins of a city that was larger than modern day Johannesburg. I visited just some of the ruins close to the town; the ones photographed above are just off the Schoemanskloof Road.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Acording to veteran climber Gustav Janse van Rensburg, the best single pitch rock climbing crags in South Africa can be found on the quartzite cliffs surrounding the town of Waterval Boven.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
Beauty comes to the inner soul of a man as tenderness becomes his outer expression. He who finds it has captured the atmosphere of heaven and has brought to his human relationships the essence of God's holy love. Never shall he search for peace, for he creates within his own heart a pool of restfulness because his every attitude is benevolent. Nothing on earth can shatter his joy, because God's Spirit within his own soul has become his source of happiness, and he is ever richer in sharing.
None who looks to him are denied, because the love of God embraces all. Gentleness has become his language, and kindness his speech. Christ is the expression of his life, and He has become his deliverer from all that offends His grace.
From Frances J. Roberts' "On the High Road of Surrender".
[The photos were taken in the late afternoon and just hours before one of the severest cold fronts in years hit on 26 June. It's the stretch of road between Dirkiesdorp and Wakkerstroom, which is on the R543 between Piet Retief and Volksrust in far south eastern Mpumalanga.]
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
In retrospect I learn't that God gives us a vision, and then He takes us down to the valley to batter us into the shape of that vision. And it's in the valley that so many of us give up and faint.
God has to take us into the valley and put us through fires and floods to batter us into shape, until we get to the point where He can trust us with the reality of the vision.
Ever since God gave us the vision, He has been at work. He is getting us into the shape of the goal He has for us, and yet over and over again we try to escape from the Sculptor's hand in an effort to batter ourselves into the shape of our own goal.
Forty years of desert and wilderness time, also sheer worldy abandon, has meant that I'm more than ready to relinquish every single one of my own goals.
(The middle three paragraphs are from Oswald Chambers' 'My Utmost for His Highest' - thank you!)
Sunday, July 05, 2009
My friend, a truly 'wealthy' man in the worldly sense, certainly has no material need. In terms of possessions has everything, and much more. His walls are higher, his house is larger, his cars have seats that "even heat his balls" (quote, unquote), and his electric fencing most likey even electrocutes at a much higher voltage.
Yet, I realised last night, he has nothing. Brittle-hard, incapable of kindness except when in expectancy of a return on his 'investment', he told me that he sometimes views the humans around him as no more than dogs (I've experienced some incredible, life-changing moments of enlightenment and creation-authenticity in the presence of animals).
Without love and the capability of kindness, life I've realised is empty and meaningless, no matter how extensive your share portfolio. Of this I am beyond convinced. I am thus even more determined to pour my life out for those seemingly the most unworthy.
After 40 and a bit years in the wilderness, only recently have I begun to understand the meaning of life. La chaim!
Saturday, July 04, 2009
The programme includes Carl Orff, Carmina Burana and scenes and extracts from classical masterpieces of international ballets. Aaah...city life!
Friday, July 03, 2009
Brooklyn Mall, Pretoria.
The last few weeks have been challenging ones. Lots of introspection, staring into the abyss.
Today is a turning point: my mission going forward is a simple one - to change the world into a better place one humble word at a time.