Wednesday, August 21, 2013


The house has a life of its own, all houses do. It's settling down now, into calm, it's arms protectively around the slumbering bodies below.

Creak. Shudder. Silence.

Water drips outside the lead pane window, the one alongside the eggshell white chest of six drawers.

The only other sound, this instance, is the omniscient hiss of my blood through my ear drums.

Other than that I lie on my back in silence, in warmth, not at all aware of being part of a city.

Alone with my thoughts, dreams, memories amd half-memories,  aware that they may no longer be the truth. Whatever that is.

The path that lies behind me is obscured by many things; sometimes I see my tracks in bright sunshine; often it is murky darkness that obscures them; other times it's Yeats' 'half light' that treads across-and-through my dreams. Either way I find myself wishing for the 'cloths of heaven'. That's my one constant.

I'm alone with my journey tonight, sleeping in the woods alongside my path, which stumbles, stalls, falters, but always constantly. Before sleeping,  despite how many people or animals surrounds one, we are always alone.

I try to imagine my death moment, of course I'm not at all sure it'll be a deathbed one. I'll be alone like now, and fearless. What is there to fear? Alone, but more intense than now; even much more peaceful and content.

This attic, the pinnacle of this house, is cozy on this late winter's night. Cozy with the body warmth from the sleeping bodies below: two cats, two children, two adults, and a dog.

There's a car that I can hear in the road below.

The mountain looks much smaller than reality in the photo. Much smaller. That is the view from one of the many attic windows. On a sunny day of course.

Spring approaches. It's already arrived in the north of my country. Still 1600 km away, plus minus.

I give thanks for all that I have. Most of all for my peace. And for wisdom, especially grace.

How blessed am I.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Keep on walking for yourself

The sun is shining brightly today, it's a paradise-like kinda day. My spirits are lifted, they have been for a few days now.

Not so the first half of last week. It was a low level depressed murkiness that I listlessly waded through. The weather played a part in that, not that I'm in any way averse to rain and moodiness and Mordor-like storms darkening and threatening my particular view of The Mountain.

I've also promised myself not to be hard on me: I've been a cruel taskmaster to self for most of my life. Enough of that now. That ended with last year's breakdown.

A year ago I was preparing myself for my - major - move to Salt Rock. Last August this time I was barely walking on extremely shaky legs, fear ruled me, the ashes were still smouldering. There was hardly any belief in the return of a phoenix. Although I am, eternally, an optimist.

One thing is for sure: last year this time I could not have ever forseen myself living and working in Cape Town a year later. My plan did not extend that far. Nor did it need to.

What I have let slip these last few months - for the first time since early 2001 - is my daily Morning Pages excerise of writing three full scap pages upon waking.

I wrote them this morning though.

The cost of not meeting beneath the tree, at the centre of the pages before taking a walk with my Creator - through our secret garden - is extremely high: the second I commit my heart and pen to the pages is the instant that I'm connected and intrinsically know their invaluableness; never a second before.

The cost is an awful disconnection that clogs my life and aliveness, veins and arteries, with the stagnant green muck that mosquito-owned Dead Sea swamp soups are made of. I become my descent into the living-dead.

In that space, like 99.9% of the population,  I am open to the God-awful influence and seduction-pressure of, for the one, the media. I move into a space of struggling, striving and pleasing so as to carve myself a space.

That's as opposed to remaining centred and calm - praying daily for peace, for enough, also for wisdom and understanding - and faithfully trusting that I'm on my life's path.

Trusting that everything will be taken care of, that like the veld flowers or the wild birds, I can cease striving and struggling, that it is safe, and right, to live fully in the moment.

Fully seizing this day, for - wonderfully - it's truly all I have.

Photo: On 9 August I took a drive up the West Coast to spend a wonderful day with family in Hopefield.

Snow capped mountains in the near distance, and a country sand road beneath a blue sky, does things to me.

Like exciting me to start walking, with just a pack on my back, and to never stop.

Monday, August 12, 2013

The water is wide

Whale Tale. Naturally brewed. In Kaapstad, naturally. 

Yesterday I woke to a wonderfully winter Sunday that gushed and frothed with unexpected and sharp gusts of wind. These rattled the skeletal trees around the suburb (Newlands is often referred to as Mordor, not least because of the stormy-turbulent darkness maelstrom that invisibles the terrifying peaks above us) and lead panes; so I remained in bed reading, also dozing off, the entire day. 

Eventually, at 7pm, I forced myself up and into the shower and then my scarf.

Then to Cocoa Wah Wah in Rondebosch, which in good weather would be a pleasant but long walk away.

That's how I got to wash down this "light ale that boasts a soft caramel maltiness, complimented with a typically crisp Hallertauer hop finish". 

I used to live, unconsciously, in broad sweeps of my artist's brush; now it's the immaculately-fine brush-details of life intensely lived that brings me enormous joy, satisfaction.

Yet it feels as though I've lost my edge. Perhaps it's the price I'm paying for my prayer, daily, for peace. Perhaps, I'm still unsure, I've had to exchange my extremely sharp-edged sword for peace. Not yet quite sure if I'm at peace about my barter deal.

Perhaps the question I need to ask myself is whether I've compromised my soul, or whether I've sold it down the river.

I'm reading, just started, The Water is Wide by Pat Conroy. I'm relatively new to him via South of Broad. Speaking of rivers that is... .

Voluntarily cannibalising Me//Self

I feel invisible. In the corner of the coffee shop-restaurant. I feel far away and unnoticed,  that I haven't - quite/yet - found my groove in this secretly-textured city. It's fine to be invisible while seeking myself. While deciding which role, exactly, to play in this particular short novel of my life. Or is it a full length novel.

I've ordered breakfast to partner my cappuccino.

It's a low-slung grey afternoon with fine but steady rain that has soak-ability. I awoke with the cold front arriving, and with it's glacier slow march across the city and northwards across the country, my melancholy levels have shot the bucket.

[Don't edit now Charles. Come back with your left brain later; please don't get in the way now.]

I peer at me in the industrial-like mirror in the makeshift toilet, with its badly painted hardwood walls: I look at my stranger's face, at the red blemishes on my face from previous stress times, recently resurfaced. I shaved with a razor yesterday, the first time in years; I'm uncomfortable with my visages.

Scrambling to get my words down, the metal, square, triangular, circular words will not be forced throught the jagged mesh of my mind: nothing is sitting comfortably. Nothing is sitting at all.

Back at my table - for maximum two - in the furthest corner of this coffee/food realm I bite the complimentary baby chocolate brownie and bitterly gulp at the americano. I'm tasting myself in objects.

I participated in the Getaway Travel Blogging Conference last Saturday. I learnt not a thing new. Instead I realised I was there to question what my writing future holds; the future of this blog. 

Why on earth should I be blogging at all? 

I lost my focus a while ago, is what I was going to write as truth. However the truth is that my life has, in the last year, turned upon itself and began a process of self devouring: the voluntary cannibalism of self. All good though.  I've long highlighted that I certainly screwed up the first half of my life, that the segind half I will continue doing things utterly differently.

To write? If so, to write what? And why? Who gives a fuck?

Thursday, August 01, 2013

The trees are in their winter beauty (or substation blues & reds)

The woodland paths are anything but dry; we've not seen the sun, on this side of The Mountain, for at least a week. But today the sun is blazing: 26 degrees centigrade, a pleasure.

Not that I'll ever have a problem with the wide-flat squalls of rain lashing the roof, slating the house's lead paned windows in irregular batches.

It evokes life-passion within me - I am more alive in those moments, when my skin crawls with both my aliveness and deathness: I am so alive that my death hums-breathes-roars-and-curtsies through my veins and arteries like the energy surging through the cables from a substation.

I attempt to choose my exit from the house carefully, as if by squinting heavenwards I can read the downpour gaps - mind the gap! - in the tumultuous-ominous elephantine cloud banks that rage over-against-upwards the mountain.

It's in those ill-predicted gaps that I squirrel through the wet tar streets voyeuring through modern double glazed windows - and ancienter windows too, glass rheumy with history-age and the withered-white families that have ghosted these dank passages and living [s]places - looking for life and curiosity.

Everything is new to me: these bare European trees of the Cape, the different looking people that every then and now catch me staring, analysing, wondering; I quickly look away - I'm innocent my game proclaims! The birds, the different-many angles and peaks of The Mountain, the luminous tailed squirrels that leap springbok like from there to here and back again, then zig-zag zig-zap up a tree, across,  and then back down again

I leave the peace of the house, my room in the roof with a view, for the cluttered steam-windowed coffee shops and bistros, where I sweat blood to put down my words. And to walk with my ever faithfull Maker through-and-across-and-over the pages... in-and-then-out-again of my heart of darkness.