Nina this is written with you pictured in mind and soul.
The clouds have somehow outwitted the wind - and its relentless removal of the potentiality of itself. They are thick, billowing over the all-encompassing mountains and adding some dimension to what has been a flat blue sky, endless day landscape. Suddenly there is less visibility, everything takes on a mysterious tone, rolling, flowing, and dissolving.
In the car with me is the entire family. Very rare for us to journey out so far and exceptionally rare for us to all be together. We usually take it in turns, pairing up differently for different excursions. Like a mainly hardware trip would be for Sage and Tao and a fruit shop would be for Pieter and Iona would always do libraries and markets. But today we are all together in this car. Gliding smoothly through the well-known landscape. And yet still absolutely bowled over with the beauty that is everywhere. It never diminishes.
My eldest child, the daughter who got off the hamster wheel and found herself being violently flung off the hamster wheel and living a sustainable life on a farm wrote the other day on a page - I am so happy and so grateful. How profound is that. It touched me so deeply, deeper than any accolade or award offered to her could have done. Within herself, living in utter simplicity, she now tastes life in its fullness. Away from the carrot she follows her own wishes, which is basically for a lifestyle that encompasses children, requires simplicity and takes nothing too seriously. Oh yes and the ability to roll with the punches in fluid motions – except when you don’t of course.
Pia was one of those visitors that sat with me on the journey yesterday. Then you, Nina appeared. Looking at the parched landscape, I felt you under water, wet, sore, tired. Breathing you in, sending you love and warmth. So we were together some of the journey.
And just as we were about to go to the outskirts of the town I find myself asking my partner, Pieter, the driver to stop at the pet store. He sort of goes oh ho. But not once has he ever denied me custody of any creature. I really take my hat off to him for that. He says what with a fat smile on his face.
And I mention the stop will facilitate the liberation of guinea pigs. You buy them for R10 which is about 2 dollars. Mostly they are taken to empty children’s bedrooms where they live out their lives in small cages. Upon hearing the word liberation he steers us to the shop. You just got to know how to dress it up. Such is covert rescue work J
On the way to the store, down the oak lined lanes with Victorian homes, my heart becomes noticeable, it is moving differently somehow, or I am just more aware of it. My anticipation grows – it feels so absolutely right. There had been no prior thought about this. A spontaneous arising - and then we arrived. And once inside this shop – we know exactly where to go , which cage on the cement floor is most likely to start the founding members of a new tribe. We open the lid – and voila - by the most amazing subatomic physics, in front of us are these beings………..
We do what we need to do, with Sage holding the Jamaican and Iona holding the Nord.
Decide to add to the journey by taking a road unknown, A gravel road which would entail dropping our speed to a crawl due to gravel and loose surfaces. And yet because the sun is absent and we are not baking, we agree. A change is as good as a holiday. Cian suddenly asks us to stop. On the side of the road are clusters of lucerne. He stops and picks some. The freshness of the plucking permeates the car. I wish I could relay to you the perfection of light on this day. The way it magnified the might of the mountains, the way it perfectly framed a blade of grass against a pole. The way it sung the landscape into a passion play.
Everything seemed to be happening in slow motion. Iona and Sage have fallen asleep in the back. The Jamaican and the Nord are in their box with the lucerne. Krishna Das is playing over the speakers. Something I have loved dearly but unfortunately listened to death. Tao, Cian and I playfully told Pieter we would have to kill him if he did not change the music. God, how did that make us laugh? How can we be such cheap dates? How can so little be so entertaining. I start talking to Pieter about what else I have discovered about ayahausca. Ask him if he would read the piece on it that Ravi posted. He agrees. Cian and Tao tune in. Cian says wow – for your 50th birthday you take acid and for your 51st you take ayahausca. I say yes funny how it all arises. We talk about the plant and its origins, what they understand and what they want to know. There is an openness that I never ever stop valuing and savouring.
It is known from the moment I saw her that the nord would be called Nina. The kids looked at me as if to say – not very unusual. And then I tell them about you. And they remember our link and are in complete agreement. The black guy well at first glance Russian sprang to mind – but slowly a Jamaican revealed himself. But by them the meme for a soviet name had already sprung – so the patriarch of the possible tribe is Vladimir Eli.
Today the sun broke ever so slightly through the clouds, the wind was absent and I find myself sitting on the couch with Nina and Vlad. They are resting on my belly. And you know that is the beauty of winny gigs is their ability to just be still. They don’t have the usual rodent tendency to shy away or move suddenly. How you put them is how they stay.
So I place them close together, and gently stroke them. They have not been held. They are wild but not wild like in able to survive on their own, just wild as in unloved by humans.
The sun shines on them ever so gently. I feel what it must be like for them. God knows if they have ever felt this before. The birds call. The wit oojie is in the budhlia right above me, some distance away a pigeons croons, in between the fiscal shrike calls ‘kwerty, kwerty, kwerty. I don’t know when last they heard this particular music. They calm down. I stroke Nina along the back, she chubbles in delight on each downstroke. Slowly they are unfolding to something known in their genes. A way of being. They are absorbing these subtle nuances. I introduce them to plants just picked. They are unsure; they have only eaten dried pellets their whole lives. So in 24 hours they have tasted sunshine, a lap, a gentle caress, basil, thyme, freshly picked coz lettuce. Just after the solstice, this new tribe begins.
The year has gone by rapidly but the days have all been long. Rich, varied, with me of course always choosing the path of least effort. A yoga teacher who has just recovered from a bypass and I sat together this afternoon in the dappled light. He asked what I was enjoying reading at the moment and I mentioned how reading seemed to have fallen away. More and more time was spent in solitude. Sitting in a chair with light shining in gently, birds outside calling, breathing happening and very little else. An embrace with silence.
He told me how lucky I was for this to happen. I said it came with a price. It came with being labelled and self-labelling as lazy, inept and not very ambitious. It is just the love of idling that enables these labels to be taken on without much ado. No way am I going to become an active do-er – just so far away from this nature and programming.
Images that come of this past year all show a lot of attention being placed on children and creatures. Diligence, watchfulness and yet also allowing freedom despite the price come into the equation. In every article one reads one reads about the dastardly rats. The venomous vipers, the corpulent rabbits. And they attach this language to particular acts of humanity that are so not part of the rodential reality. Rodents don’t do to each other what people do. Snakes have an inherent wisdom and potential for transformation – not the blind danger that we ascribe to them. So here, in this little corner of the world, the year has been spent being hugely entertained, embraced and loved by this kingdom of rodents and honouring their beauty.
(the rats water bowl with a sprinkling of fresh herbs).
From my very first heart stopping posting on smoking mirrors, to gradually expressing myself on line – with you holding out a hand, a reassurance, a seeing. Thank you beloved for that – and thank you to all others who experience this…..
Peace………and goodwill to all………………
let the playfulness amidst the simplicity continue...