Sunday, November 22, 2015

Playground ants and cracks

A peaceful Sunday. I've much marking to do. At five I'm going to Nic and Mike for dinner. With wine. In their construction site of a house; they've been renovating for as long as I've wonderfully known them.

No music playing, my flat is silent. I'm alone with myself and the low-level shred and tear of the wind as it grows in forcefulness; judging by the hefty table cloth being thrown over Table Mountain it's most likely to develop into a full-force south-easter before long. I care not.

A distant siren, a not so distant train hurtling past in a low shriek-and-swoosh of sound. Many distant voices on the street; African voices in languages I don't recognise, Central African voices I'm sure. Also taxi hooters and, specifically, horns. Traffic sounds too. But distant and welcome. I'm alone but not lonely in a multicultural community that is, mostly, at rest today.

There're four vehicles in various stages of dilapidation with their hoods up and in a shaky line on the pavement alongside but not part of a (closed on Sunday) second-hand car dealership. They, and a group of smiling, talkative men are overseen by a socialising mechanic: a gleaming ebony skin and bulging biceps, baggy oil-smeared grey pants and a faded blue but sleeveless T-shirt.

This regular gathering takes place just off Lower Main. It's in direct line of sight of my reading and mountain-viewing chair at my floor to ceiling window. It's a vast flatscreen TV on my immediate world that, as it's central structure (of my life too) has the ever-changing flat-topped granite seventh natural wonder of the world. This phase of my life, in stark contrast to that which lies before it, is - relatively speaking of course - epitomised by solidity.

There's also clumps of sedate and well-dressed family members, all black, heading off to the ample churches in the mix-match of buildings along both Main and Lower Main streets that, like two fat and juicy veins, run parallel through Woodstock and Salt River, never joining. Bibled and with gleaming shoes they stroll confidently pious towards worldly destinations but with their eyes set on  heaven, wherever the hell that might be.

I feel like a cool and disinterested god watching erratic ants on a playground-sized slab of cracked cement.

As we've all had driven home the last few months, weeks, nothing's solid; heaven's in the now. Right now. Neither past nor future counts for anything.

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