Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Deep summer

It's the most perfect deep summer's day on God's earth, so much so that the day and the summer's beauty, it's in-your-face magnificence, shovels in deep to me and clutches and tugs at, and entwines it's tendrils around my heart.
I foolishly want to hold on to this forever. I foolishly allow myself the illusion that the autumn, followed by winter, will never come again; that the fact that it's now darker at 5am is but a fragment of my sun-battered imagination.

Head start

There's a power you automatically access by getting up at 5am, it's inherent in the dawn, and the rising sun infuses you, it, with.
I walked through the busy garden breathing in, it, deeply.
And I picked a double-handful of plump, bright green chilies.
Also a gem squash, and a bleeding mouthful of young-berries.
Then I poured a porcelain-white bowl of steaming green tea.
Then, searching for my centre, I sat in my single, old and faded deck chair (this is not my season for loving, it will come again) and met Him at the pages...and thus we walk through our secret garden.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dirty hands

Today was hard. It was also bleak and ugly. I've struggled to keep my chin up, and to continue believing that, behind it all, the sky is still blue.
Insipid and rancid, are the other adjectives that fritter away at the raw edge of my mind.
Alex and Colette have just left. They came to pick hard-green-velvet figs from the overladen tree at the back fence, there by the veld.
My hands are now horribly tacky with the hideous fig milk; we filled a green Woolworths packet with the milky-sticky fruit.
I fetched a ladder from the storeroom. Alex climbed up and into the heart of the tree. She's one determined French woman.
We walked around the garden, and past many of Steffen's touches. He's very much here today. But not.
Another storm threatens on the immediate horizon, the umpteenth today. I long for it to break loose.
I'm sitting by my window on the garden. Time to make coffee and read. I was given an unexpected respite today, I'm probably squandering it with procrastination. But, I suddenly remember while typing these words, I am human. Very much so.
I press a spade deep into the hard earth packed around the kilometer-long tap root of my procrastination; I shovel out more questions than answers.
Alex left me a bottle of green fig preserve on the kitchen table. The green baby globes in the murky bottle are from my tree.
It's very hard work making green fig preserve. Alex does stuff; she gets her hands dirty.
Maybe it's time I threw myself into the fray...and got my hands dirty?
The storm-chilled breeze cools my arms, and ironically the first hard drops fall as the thunder becomes more muffled.

Monday, January 23, 2012


Inside me the pressure of all that I need to do thrusts my insides hard against my outside; I don't know how I'm going get everything done. It's an awful feeling. Yet, like a living-dead circus animal, I plod methodically on, ticking one item at a time off my enormous to-do list.
It's a sticky, clammy, hideously humid day that makes my outside want to go inside; pressure all round, everywhere.
A storm hovers on the periphery of the afternoon, also on the edge of life, but - very worst of all - there's an unexpected week-old cyclone breaking at my heart's epicenter; most painfully of all is that the storm's deadly silence is deafening.
I rip off my limbs and self-cauterize the endless, sliced and jagged nerve ends as fast as I sever them.
I WILL get back to me.

[The photo is Steffen's, and the vegetables are the garden's.]

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Heart's in Hartwater

Why's my heart in Hartswater? Because life is stranger than fiction; and when you open yourself up to it, adventures will grab you by the throat and drag you off kicking and gleefully screaming.
I live out of the box.
Minutes before getting into bed I'm perfectly at peace on an idyllic Saturday summer's night. Crickets in un-rhythm.
The trickle of the fountain at the back of the house.
Cat paws rapidly on a wooden floor.
Wind in the branches, billowing the curtains and snuffing out the tsk tsk tsk of stars calling to foolish man on broken-perfect earth.
My heart's content. And happy. Even excited.
I see a face in my mind's eye.
A week it's been.
Most unlikely of places.

Character and superior quality

That last day of last year I walked from Delphino's, beneath the imposing St Blaize lighthouse, and along an almost main street of Mossel Bay. I was a road below the one I should have been in. (But I always maintain that the only way to find yourself is to get lost.)
The sun was blazing. My legs and arms were summer holiday bare, baking. The sky was cobalt. The ocean a deep blue, and extremely inviting. I remember, sharply and clearly, like it was this morning. And I was happy, with a spring in my blue and white slip slops.
Dirk picked me up in that 'wrong' road.
We had only met four years ago on the 'Net, swooping words, songs and poetry, never physically. By sheer coincidence we happened to both be in the town at the same time.
We had a marvelously long and lingering lunch, with cocktails and champagne, at the Cuban Havana's. We caught up, the connection was as if forever. Kindred souls.
At lunch he decided to begin a blog dedicated to good food and poetry, intermingled with exceptional photographs, which was born days later: 'Pomegranates & Poems' (www.pommegranatespoems.blogspot.com).
At lunch he shared some song words of Lize Beekman and promised me her cd, 'Ek het jou lief'. It arrived here before I did.
Sitting outside now, about to taste my first plunger of Sabie Valley Pure Farm Coffee, the words from Lize's 'ek was al daar' wafts outside from the darker, cooler indoors and caresses me just as the breeze caresses the fine blonde and brown hairs on my arms. Arms still brown from the holidays.
I'm reminded that life is about incredible connections with other human beings. Dirk is one of those incredible human beings, a man who has only love and goodness to offer our world; my life's enriched because of him. I'm looking forward....

Life is also enriched by the finest arabica coffee, I maintain. I grab the foiled coffee bag from inside and read the packaging:
"Along the Hazeyview Sabie road, nestled among the beautiful indigenous forests of the Lowveld, lies Rivrbend Farm, the home of Sabie Valley Coffee.
"This 100% pure arabica coffee is grown on the misty mountain slopes of the majestic Sabie Valley. After it is hand picked and sundried, it is roasted and packed by Tim and Kim Buckland who pride themselves on its freshness, character and superior quality."

Only and hour and a half's drive away at most, I know where my next exploration and road trip is going to be to. But for now it's to my desk and to wrap up the thesis for my masters: Damocles' sword.

Snapshots from The Artist's Way: Simply throbbing

Develop interest in life as you see it; in people, things, literature, music -- the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself.

- Henry Miller

I took these photos in Cape Town on 3 January.
First Derick and I visited Knead in Muizenburg for breakfast, the newspapers, and the morning pages. I loved the art deco coffee shop-bakery-surf shop-in-one experience.
Then we drove to Kalk Bay and easily, despite it being the height of season, found parking directly across from Kalk Bay Books.
There I bought a copy of Peter Godwin's 'Mukiwa'.
Looking at Derick in the photo, I believe we were both immersed in the beautiful day, in being alive, in books, and a rich world "simply throbbing with rich treasures and beautiful souls".
Now, 1700 or so km away, I open 'Mukiwa' and see the inscription, reminding me of the beautiful souls surrounding me, that I inked in there: "Thinking of Zim Alex, with Pretoria Derick, and anticipating Dutch Jesse - at Kalk Bay Books on a perfect day! Tuesday, 3 January 2012"

However, on the other side of my coin, I remember my 'manicness' those few weeks at the end of, and at the beginning of the year.
In retrospect I was completely spent, the mere carcass of an ashen firecracker fallen back down to earth, but desperately seeking meaning.
Alone at home, here beneath the billiard-table verdant mountain (Imemeza in Siswati, for 'place of shouting') and at the very edge of Waterval Boven, I am back at me, and with Him. I live here for a reason. I live here because I have chosen life

Snapshots from The Artist's Way: Height of stupidity

To believe in God or in a guiding force because someone tells you to is the height of stupidity. We are given senses to receive our information with.
With our own eyes we see, and with our skin we feel.
With our intelligence, it is intended that we understand.
But each person must puzzle it out for himself or herself.

- Sophy Burnham

(Photo by Torquepics; Ronelle took this outside Mossel Bay while I was there at the very end of last year. Thistle; I love thistle.)

Snapshots from The Artist's Way: Paying attention

My grandmother knew what a painful life had taught her: success or failure, the truth of a life really has little to do with its quality. The quality of life is in proportion, always, to the capacity for delight. The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention.
In a year when a long and rewarding love affair was lurching gracelessly away from the centre of her life, the writer May Sarton kept 'A Journal of Solitude'. In it she records coming home from a particularly painful weekend with her lover.
Entering her empty house, "I was stopped by the threshold of my study by a ray on a Korean chrysanthemum, lighting it up like a spotlight, deep red petals and Chinese yellow centre.... Seeing it was like getting a transfusion of autumn light."
It's no accident that May Anton uses the word 'transfusion'. The loss of her lover was a wound, and in her response to that chrysanthemum, in the act of paying attention, Sarton's healing began.

- Julia Cameron, The Artist's Way (and photo by Steffen Fischer, recently taken in his Dalecross garden)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Window on the world

When I was younger, and a lot dumber, I thought I had to search for the world. I have since learnt, from reading Buddha and the Desert Fathers, that in fact the world will come to you. If you wait, if you're still, if you sit in silence. It's a lot easier, and a lot less energy consuming.
Every morning I sit at my window with hazel eyes large and kid-like with expectation: so what is going to happen today?
I make few plans, definitely not a single-year, nor a five-year one, and I'm not even sure what's coming next month.
But I have never been let down, the world comes to me. Always. Without fail. I expect the best, and that's what my plate receives.
In my light blue, fine striped pj bottoms I sit here with two cats in my lap, my coffee on the sill, and watch the dairy truck pass, the birds in song, the garden tap trip, the red-chested cape robin and sharp yellow weaver stick-leggedly play in my paradise.
And the world comes to me, and I am in the world.
And I am filled with the fruits of the Spirit: Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-control.
I am blessed.
I give thanks for the gift of this day, and for being alive [no full stop, ever]

Warrior of light

The rain has stopped and a bright orb is visible in the thick bank of silver-gray cloud that's enveloped my part of this wonderful world since Monday.
It's rained non-stop and the evacuation of the tourists in the nearby Lowveld began yesterday as rivers broke their banks.
For me this was a glorious time celebrating my favorite weather, but especially a time of focus and dedication - from dawn until dark - of breaking the back of my work for the current edition of the newspaper, also my eliminating my list of admin-related tasks long neglected, and my dedication to becoming more streamlined, to simplifying my life, and eradicating debt from my life forever.
[That felt like the longest sentence I'd ever written, hopefully it's readable?]
I have to thank my father for his love and for his help, and that he has turned his expert focus on to me; I have the best brains in the business on my side. And, of course going without saying, divine assistance.
I am living this year differently, I can feel it. And more aware than ever I am of my failings and weaknesses - thank you to everyone whom has the balls to hold up the mirror to me, so that I can see my true reflection, as ugly at times as it may be. Thank you for your guts to be honest (I'm not scared); the truth inherently sets everyone free.
I need to thank Steffen for the more than two incredible, fantastic years he has shared with me; he has emerged from his cocoon an upright, steadfast, God-man who is changing his world, and the world at large, into a better place with each step forward he takes. Fly you, FLY, on eagle's wings...!
Steffen, I am honoured to have had my path cross and then intertwine with yours; I believe that despite our small-world self-centered needs, you are learning that you serve a much greater purpose on this planet: it's a story of love, and dedication, to the greater good.
Steffen, you are indeed a warrior of light. Thank you.
I am blessed [no full stop intended]

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Blue sky memories

It's approaching 39 degrees centigrade in the Cape today. The heat wave is moving northwards across the African sub continent.
It was in Cape Town at the beginning of the year that I tanned dark brown without evening trying to, beneath the clear cobalt sky.
Unlike where I live, Cape Town's climate is a mediterranean one. It's a winter rainfall region that I often visit to soak up the moisture so lacking here in the winter, when we are parched and tinderbox dry, when the vegetation changes from the luminous green of central summer, to lion tan and khaki of winter.
My thoughts have, unhappily for now, been on the winter. But that's still far away, relatively speaking of course.
But today I've woken late. I forgot, unusually, to set my alarm. I also got back home to Waterval Boven last night, and didn't get do and see that which I wanted to do and to see.
Wind is buffeting the eaves, whistling through and into the open bits; fine but hard rain is slanting against the home, and water again chortles in the tin gutters.
The summer garden is lush and verdant green.
Mika is curled up tight against my right leg as I sit in my favourite chair by the window in my studio. It's cool enough for me to be wearing my finely striped baby blue pyjama pants and a zipped up to my throat jumper.
The wind whistles like it would in a novel.
The lush pomegranates hang the branches low, the one looks ready to break. The tree will get hard hit again by frost in the winter. Valiant has pruned the wild olive round, I'm not sure that it pleases my eye, nor my sensibility. Manicured and suppressed, I was once that, while being readied by a bad state for the army... and to die for my country.
But it's a beautiful day in my eyes and my destiny is, more than ever, in my hands.
My thoughts are intertwined with the memories of the blue skies and bare legs of just-born January; and of Derick and Jesse, of Martin and Joe, of Ruan and Chad, of Alex and Alex, of Vi and Vince, and Ulrich and Kyle, and then Hardus. People who touched my life and soul.
In safe and good hands are they, I pray, as I fall into the vortex?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I bow down before You

Memories of mauve flowers and sunburnt legs, and my overflowing notebook, remind of my road trip and the crazy times in Cape Town, especially the walk along Sea Point's promenade; it's there I received my wings.
The view in front of me is my peaceful, happy and contented present. I have consciously chosen it.
The uplifted arms and open, receptive palms, taken on the promenade, represent freedom and new beginnings, also flight. And a combined stance of forgiveness, release, humility, thankfulness and worship.
I bow down before You [no full stop, ever

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


It's a morning storm, most welcome, and in from the west. The electricity has tripped and I've unplugged the ADSL. Marvelously terrifying thunder and lightning, just to put everything, and me, into perspective.
Water chortling trough the tin gutters; I could wake to, or sleep with this sound anytime.
I, on the other hand, have felt so barren and dry these last few days.
Just a week and a bit ago I was traveling through my soul's rest, the Karoo, on my way to Mossel Bay, then Cape Town.
It was between Graaf Reinet and Aberdeen that I stopped to breathe in the dry, hot air and imbibe silence. Also to take these photos.
Now to make some good coffee, to switch off my phone, and to meet my maker in morning pages.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Morning pages

Three thousand, seven hundred physical kilometers and this circle within The Circle is closed.
Then, later today, I return to my home.
A journey begun, and ended.
A year begun, and ended.
A new year begun, and in retrospect of my road trip, I know a vastly different life chapter begins too.
New relationships with souls too; wonderful, loving, creative and healing souls.
Support-and-love-structures have been put in place, not by me: I'm dazzled by the texture, color and intensity of the high definition vista before me; there's an immensely deep, calm pool of water at its epicenter.

I'm back in Joburg.
Lying on the couch I enter the pages (morning has broken, blackbird has spoken).
I return to my secret garden.
All across my country the national roads are filled with sun-kissed and lithe holiday bodies.
The holidays are over, thank God I'm almost sad to say.
Thank God.
(We journey so that we can look into the mirror, while holding up the mirror for those with balls enough to look into their own abysses.)
How on earth can I walk on water if I don't get out of the boat?
I choose to live my life getting out the boat every single day, every day.
While the risks are immense, I'd rather drown than be the living dead.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Sea. Point.

5am. Seapoint, Cape Town.
I wake with a jolt, on my back, and know that I must have been snoring. Self conscious; I'm a guest in a double volume, open plan loft apartment: feeling exposed.
I lie, frozen, for at least 20 hour-long minutes; the rat of my mind fritters, rips, tears away at all my larger-than-life worries.
Anxiously I eventually pluck up the courage to go to bathroom where, in the dark I knock over an electric toothbrush.
In the moment that I move from the toilet to the north-facing window, it, is, the, dawn.
I stand at the moment, at the window, breathing in sea air and moonlight, listening to my happiest sound of them all, especially here: shrieking seagulls.
Three small/bars/through/the/blind/slats /of/moonlight on my bare upper arm.
In that moment, the realization, of my exhaustion of the world, that I need to go home. It's the only place I rest, from the world.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Cape Route 62

Lunch first. Then the road.
Mossel Bay. Then Cape Town, the fairest Cape.
I hesitate, looking for an excuse not to leave, not to begin.
Then Ronelle, standing in her kitchen making a salad, spurs me on by giving me perspective:
"The stable tires the horse more than the road," she says, with her beautiful blue eyes boring into my soul.
The house is 83 years old. What age will I be when I die?

Harbour of my content

Ships are not made to remain in harbour.

After this welcome rest, at the end of my tether / last year, I know that it's back into the turbulent ocean, and the storms, I must return; that's where growth and soul stuff happens; scared I am not, although weary (and wary) I might be. Although I have found the eye of the storm, my challenge is to remain therein; I am my worst enemy.

This afternoon I leave the Mossel Bay (harbour) and drive the 4 hours left to Cape Town. I'm taking Cape Route 62, with anticipation.

The photo was taken by my darling friend, Torquepics, who has again made space in her 'summer home' available to me to lay down my head and to unburden my heart.
Coffee. The finest Cape champagne. Pizza. St Blaize lighthouse. Endless stream-of-conscious conversation (from the minute I arrive to the second I leave) about all that is The Source; which is where our separate journeys join, and blur, and love, and tears, and bleed.

For Him I lay down my broken life. To Him I return the words, the photos, and dedicate my heart. In the humblest, most simplest sense I am 'proudly' nothing.'

Tea. View. Soul. First day

Sitting at a blonde wood table drinking green tea, and procrastinating amongst my unwritten words and taken photos.
To put finger to screen is a difficult concept that I pussy foot around.
I stagger under the weight of my thoughts, my unwritten words, my taken and untaken photographs, and the desire to express myself...to me.
I stagger under the enormous burden of my un-lived life; it's the one I'm taking a lifetime to morph into.
Before me is the Indian Ocean.
Behind me is the continent, Africa.
Above me is the cobalt sky.
Below me is dry sea sand earth, also blonde; this is a winter rainfall region, and although the earth here is parched, I am not in a / my drought.
This is only the beginning (no full stop)