Sunday, August 21, 2011


It's a beautiful day. Spring in all it's glory has, again, arrived. I have a large plunger of coffee next to my bed; the aroma of fine, dark roast arabica is wafting through the house and waking all of my imaginary guests.
The laptop on, funny enough, my lap is nicely warm in anticipation of all the work I still have to do today for our September issue newspaper, which will print later this week.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Beautiful mind

On Saturday afternoon I was walking around the garden in just a pair of shorts and my armpits were sticky with summer.
Because it was the fifth day of great weather I dipped my guard by naively believing that winter had seen its arse. Spring comes early to this part of the country; it has been here even earlier than this, so my thinking was reasonable.
Three days later and I'm already in bed, on top of an electric blanket, next to a heater. Two cats are tucked up close.
Winter's back in full force: it's icy outside and snow began falling in Dullstroom, a mere forty or so kilometers away (if you take the scenic backroad), last night this time. It last snowed there 11 years ago, and in case you you're not batting an eyelid, just a reminder that this is Africa.
These pics were taken by my friend Colin Mann. He lives in Dullstroom with his family, all of whom were out until late last night building snowmen and having snowball fights. His daughter's school was closed today, they've never seen snow before.
I'm also in bed because I feel burnt out and need to recharge my batteries.
I'm working under a lot of pressure at the moment; the newspaper is growing, I have many other ideas for a wide range of projects, and I'm exploring the concepts of 'location independence' and 'digital nomadism' (more about this another time).
I'm also failing to get to my writing, journalism and photography passions. Because learning about business, and publishing has, necessarily, consumed my last two years. Rightly so, because journalism remains a mere ideal if it does not make business sense. I know that my writing too remains an ideal if it cannot support me. Sustainable idealism is, I believe, what transforms the world into a better place. It's also real. Sustainable idealism is neither of the valley nor of the mountain top; rather it's the midline of the graph, but with the best of lessons ingrained from the troughs and peaks. From heaven and he'll. As I said, it's real. I'm in a place of my life where real works - materialism, superficiality and pretentiousness sounds my alarm and sends me in an opposite direction.
Everyday I attend a funeral, for my ego.
I ask forgiveness for any pride or arrogance that might surface in me.
I pray for humility. I seek streamlined simplicity. I choose to live differently.
I choose to love. Anyone who is living that choice knows that it's not an easy choice; but that while it's the only choice, it's a choice nevertheless.
I seek to live in the world, but not to be of it.
I need no more than to have been vaguely remembered for having a beautiful mind.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Secret garden

Today I decided I'm going to start a gardening blog. I'm also, but linked to the blog, going to start writing a monthly gardening column for the newspaper. I'm still deciding on a name for it; I have a few ideas though.
I've just taken this photo of the collection of succulents on an old blue gum stump at my back door. The late afternoon sun is perfect lighting.
Although blue gums are persona non gratis in SA I love them. I always have. I've always tended for the loneliest, quietist places in the remotest parts of the country; often in those spaces I've discovered eucalyptus-family specimens. I love their scent on the wind, also their pungency when I've crushed their leaves and breathed it in deeply. That is the scent that drives a desire in me to explore Australia. I can't wait for that day....
I'm sitting on the porch, in just a t-shirt and shorts. Earlier today I had just shorts on and eagerly lapped up the sunshine of an almost-perfect almost-spring day.
I've watered the garden with two sprinklers over the course of the day; in fact they're still on even though the sun will be behind the hills within 15 or 20 minutes and that, soon, I'll need more than a t-shirt to keep out the chill.
I'm oozing simple satisfaction.
And I suddenly remember that on 1 August I have owned the newspaper for two years now.
I'm all over the place like a jackdaw (we don't have those in SA), maybe I should take a walk. And give thanks for the day, and my life, as the sun slides over the edge of today.

Monday, August 08, 2011


Tonight, as dusk wrapped itself around me like an old and comfortable scarf,
I knew that spring was close, that nothing could hold it back.
It's the first time in a long time that I was able to remain on the porch
reading, even in the poor light, long after the sun had set behind the hills
behind the house.
I nuzzled into the couch, pulled the book nearer and sipped on my wine.
And a sense of new beginnings, which is what August's 'eight' is symbolic
Eventually, because I could not pretend to ignore the pinkish light, I ran
indoors and grabbed my camera.
The seasons are changing; this I know because since the weekend I've had the
urge to change the house around, moving furniture hither thither. Also the
desire to open windows and doors, and to breathe in deeply.
My head, in a good way, is all over the place. My thoughts, not unlike the
furniture, are rearranging themselves. And moving out of the way for new
ones. They're popping up all over the place.
I'm choosing to live out of the box, because I've never been able to bear
cubicle life.
But before manifested in reality, they have to be clarified in my brain.
And I long to travel. And to streamline my life.
It's Monday night...

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Underlined advice

John Brierley writes in a note to the 7th edition (2011) of his "A Pilgrim's Guide to the Camino de Santiago":
"The one piece of advice I would pick out from the first edition and underline is simply this, 'There are no guarantees in the life of a pilgrim and we are well served by developing an attitude of gratitude for all learning experiences found along the path.'"

Rough or smooth

It's a beautiful day outside. Although a winter's day, I know this season has seen it's ass, is on its way out. I'm not up long in the morning before the first light touches, like a lover, the eastern sky.
But I'm sitting next to a heater in my bedroom, where I come to regularly during the day to sit in silence and breathe. I have a 'daily hours' regime (in the best sense of the word) that sees me unlock from the world, and from technology. It's part of my desire to simplify and streamline my life. To live.
On that note, the pilgrimage guide I ordered online arrived last week after a slight delay. But I've been so busy that I couldn't even open it. I'm doing that now. I'm yearning to be on foot on the road to Santiago.
The book is John Brierley's 'A Pilgrim's Guide to the Camino de Santiago'.
In the intro he writes:
"This guidebook is dedicated to the awakening of human consciousness. It was born out of a midlife crisis and the perceived need for a time to reflect on the purpose and direction of life. We have a sacred contract, a divine function and reason why we came here. Pilgrimage provides an opportunity to delve deeper into that purpose and the time to reorientate our life towards it's fulfillment. We have been asleep a long time, but alarm bells are ringing for young and old and there are signs that we are collectively waking up. There is a new yearning to break free from our self-imposed imprisonment.... May your journey be blessed along your chosen path - rough or smooth, long or short - whichever route you take, know that you are loved and your destination is assured. God speed Ultreia!