*photograph from private archive
A ginger cat called Flash slinks through my garden regularly ignoring me as if I am vapour.
It’s four in the morning and I sit at my desk and thinks.
The streetlamp across the road is in a forty-five second on/off cycle.
Suddenly, poof, I have found an answer.
The answer is the SUN.
However, all the other questions I have, sadly, remain stubbornly unanswered. Two things generally happen to me: Either I am flooded with opinions or drowned in silence.
Instead, I really want to be surrounded by clarity and then engage with resolve.
I think that if I separate myself into an infinite number of parts it should be easier to become part of the whole, go with the flow and emerge with the answers.
To do that I cease thinking. Now I am not. The ‘I’ becomes an ‘It’ without an ego attached or a particular outcome expected.
I realise quickly that if this was the way it should be I would be a brainless grain of sand on a beach or a rock. After all, I am only one in a few billion not a googol gazillion. I’m special. Although…from a uni/multiversal point of view I’m so small making out I’m such a big deal, and in competition to the dumb universe, that my brain blows a fuse every time I try comprehending just a bit of this magnitude.
I start thinking again and I decide to ignore stuff like the Brexit.
I always wanted to live on an island and I trusted the wisdom of age to make visionary decisions and not create a dystopia. I just revised that.
Some things are so stupid they stick out like a grumbly square wheel with a puncture.
Democracy: a 49% – 51% guillotine; a really worn out flat tire and no wizzkid, political scientist or other boff rewriting that dusty, outdated bible. Ouch!
I still want to live on an island, but not that one.
I wonder what the sun thinks every day?
Just warm them up and give them life, they’ll come right some time.
Clearly, when you come from a sunny (dis)position, you can make better decisions. You gotta blame it on the weather. It would drive anyone bonkers and vote ‘Exit.’
And, in hindsight, to decide matters of such profound importance and far-reaching consequences during or after a full moon, when the sun is past the solstice and in pouring rain, shows a disconnectedness and ignorance, dare I say arrogance, towards all of nature’s powerful forces.
Now what? Another illusion? More reality?
Nothing, clueless, lost?
Hop on board.
You’re never alone. Not in the winter season. There’s always a shadow around.
Sunrise is two hours later and sunset is two hours earlier. It doesn’t sound like much but it’s four hours less sunshine a day or four hours more no-sunshine. Whichever way you prefer.
Far more obvious to me though is the path of the sun through the sky, and you can call me a liar, but I’m not far off when I say that it sets in the north and not in the west.
It rises dead-on in the east, shines into my kitchen, skips the centre of the zenith above entirely, and heads straight for the north. In that process the shadows get no break, being stretched to the limit from dawn to dusk, and then they work overtime deep into the night because the lights are switched on early.
For me, there is something incredibly magical about winter here in South Africa. I mean hey, you can run around barefoot, in shorts and t-shirt most of the time and get a tan and hardly work up a sweat. You can make a lunch time braai and relax because the next thunderstorm is still three months away. And no, a braai is not a barbeque! That is some American grill-thingy using gas, burgers, and sausages. We use wood from our gardens to make a fire and then braai on the coals and the carnivores here eat real meat like beef and not that refined supermarket mash of dubious origin.
It’s the best time of year to see the animals in the bush because the grass has stopped growing and the foliage thins out and everyone enjoys the sunshine.
It’s the safari season.
The ancient dust of Africa is like an aphrodisiac to the soul and winter is the druggiest time. The mornings might touch freezing and early afternoons can reach +30C (+86F). Such are the extremes that await and bewitch the courageous adventurer.
Another log on the smoldering coals, an old kettle boiling the coffee and puffing away, woodsmoke, and coffee smell, you’ve come to the right address.
Unbelievably so the Lion’s Tail or Wild Dagga as it is also called here, Dagga being the local name for Marijuana, is a huge attraction for the most magnificent, colorful Sunbirds.Obviously, the flowers are intoxicating because the Sunbirds will visit every day and don’t mind that I sit a mere two meters away and watch and wonder if there is more than just a sugar attraction. But the Wild Dagga has very little if any THC and therefore is legal in most countries.
Winter in these parts of Africa is just summer in another way. It is a Longshadow serenade. Even some of the roses bloom and bees buzz around. While some deciduous trees leaf and the grass might go brown in patches from the morning frost, the sky is a bright, light blue and the clear nights bring infinity onto my doorstep. Did I hear paradise? At least until the next cold front.
South Africa what a beautiful home!