Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Five yellow flowers floating on a pond

A veil of sadness has trawled behind me this entire day. Just enough of it to steal my joy. Unexplainable. Now, I'm home, hollow, and the promised rain has arrived: there's been a 100% chance of rain promised since 2pm. Juicy wetness and puffs of pigeon-grey fog finger my window-on-the-world as I try to work; the lamp on my desk on is a warm and welcoming glow. From six stories up I can clearly hear the splatter of overly ripe fig raindrops on the inky tarmac below.

I walked a long but favourite route to my bus after my last lecture. Via the Company Gardens at Cape Town's heart. Where I go to saturate my soul. It's a few extra but welcome kilometres of solitary wandering in a busy world.  I wonder where the many homeless folks that were sleeping on the well-clipped lawns are resting, waiting now as a soaking wet and cold winter's night's being served up.

Egyptian geese - which I grew up surrounded by in the far north of the country, which I too got to know via my solitary wandersings - confidently strutted about while protectively showing off the feathered clumps of newly-born chicks. Tiny. The old garden was vibrant with their unique calls.

I've spent much time in many gardens in this country, this one is the first, the oldest, the most filled with lingering ghosts. The first ground here was was readied for sowing seed on 29 April 1652. It's 364 years old. The oldest cultivated tree, a Pyrus communis (Saffraan pear) planted around this time still exists, protected and supported like a very old woman who's not all there, in the garden.

Someone had thrown five yellow hibiscus flowers on to the surface of the large pond.

Walking slowly, peacefully to console me of the unexplainable, I soaked up both the greyness and the homelessness around me. Only the pigeons bathing, showering in my favourite fountain seemed unperturbed as I picked myself through the garden and it's less travelled paths and walkways.

This was so starkly different to my last visit just short of a week ago. Then the city was bathed in bright winter sunshine beneath a champagne sky. Those days I adore: it's when the very oxygen molecules seem to individually vibrate and shine with exuberant life. It lends days like that an awesomeness, a surrealness that leads you to believe you're living in a miracle.

It's 17h29 as I type these words and dusk is upon me as I cocoon myself in this post, and in my mind, and in my apartment. Although I've a night of work ahead me, I'm grateful to be both home and for this home. Even so, I can't but help thinking about what life would be like tonight on the cold, wet streets as another Antarctic cold front ghosts, not unlike the reaper, across this province and deep into the interior.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The girl on the train

Saturday, I took a train to Kalkbay. It's a favourite place of mine. There the wind, reeking of Ocean and Ozone, blows through my mind. It untangles my convoluted thoughts. These are the long, thick, voluptuous seaweed trunks that crisscross my tempestuous winter brain. These are the trees that obscure my vision and reduce my perspective, preventing me from seeing the wood.

The journey is a pleasurably slow one, just short of an hour long. Time to think, read. To finely observe people, mountains, the ocean.

I met a young woman on the train... We started talking. Spontaneous combustion. My life is richer for having met Selina.

She aspires to be an oceanographer, is already a teacher. She adores God. Has never had a boyfriend.

Her eyes, two shiny black velvet berries. They glistened with tenderness and love.

My heart is wide open to Life. So is Selina's.