Thoughts, topics of interest, points of view, stories and poetry. Some posts also feature my own photographs - here, as well as on the 'valleyguardians' blog. While I don't mind my material being used, I would ask the courtesy of acknowledgement by name or link. A thank you would then follow.

Friday, 28 June 2013

There's this thing that I's called LIVING!

So true...the time thing. It's been more than six months since my last post, and my journey has twisted and turned in the most fascinating and enjoyable ways.

At first it meant going off-grid, into the mountains at Hogsback, and spending time reconnecting with nature. The harsh reality of seeing indigenous forests being 'invaded' by commercial tree plantations, was a most unwelcome intrusion though.

Wandering through the forests on the mountains at Hogsback, I learnt to recognise where young saplings were being removed so that locals could stay alive by carving walking sticks, other bric-a-brac and for making fires for cooking...the process means the forest does not have a chance to mature and the old trees are dying, with no young ones to replace them as they fall...our indigenous forests are in trouble!

I also saw a pack of hunting dogs, illegal but not mangy looking, and wondered at the life the dog handlers lead...similar practices are prevalent at home in the Transkei and I suppose, everywhere else in the rural parts of our country.

The difference in altitude meant the plant species were not at all like the ones at home, although some of the herbs and little wildflowers, found on the mountains in Port St Johns, also have a home on the Hogs.

The cottage where I stayed and cooked for a friend is set in a magnificent garden, and the property has a variety of fruit trees that are literally torn apart in the process of being ransacked by both baboons and Samanga monkeys, as they circle the area in search for food.

An online search and picking of people's brains, managed to get me a few different recipes for what to do with plums, and plum chutney, jams and jelly was all the rage while the season lasted. The fruit spoils rather quickly though, and needs a lot of sugar to satisfy my sweet tooth, but I even managed to gift some friends and family with a bottle or two.

At times, with tiny mushroom 'forests' sprouting at the edge of the verandah, or river frogs inhabiting the pond we completed, it felt as if I was living in the land of the faeries...with insects abounding, cicadas screeching their lovesongs and Loeries swooping in for a closer look at my leopard-crawling antics as I tried to capture wild bees burrowing in the lawn.


And just when the food gardens started to flourish and my hands almost got used to reconnecting with mother earth...a twist in the road appeared.

The retreat to Hogsback had to be cut short when I was invited to further my studies and do my Master's ongoing process, in which I will hopefully manage to find a way for thousands of Masters and Doctoral theses to be made more available to the public, so that dedicated student research can serve a better purpose than just gathering dust in a library.

Fact of the matter is though, that not all basic needs can be fulfilled by 'growing your own' and the commute between Hogsback, home in the Kei and Durban, in pursuit of 'making a living', certainly made for some interesting encounters and realities. Loads of new friends resulted and if you've ever wondered what to do with a little money and time on your hands...pick a spot somewhere in our beautiful country and then take a taxi or a bus, or several if the journey requires it, and make the journey! Believe me, on your way there and back, you are bound to meet people from all walks of life, with living experiences that are simply amazing, and when you take the time to listen to their stories, your life will be all the richer for it, and it does not have to cost an arm and a leg.

With still no electricity at home, and having recently been asked to write full-time for a web-portal as columnist, the last leg of my previous journey took me to Gauteng and brought an understanding of how to make better use of who I am and what I know and can do.

What I have gained will take some time writing down, but mostly I have reaffirmed that living is not written in stone, instead it lies in DOing and BEing all that I can, all that I am. It is no longer about finding a job or work...rather it is about making myself available and being open to where I can apply my skills and the work and jobs find me.

The shift in planetary energy is both invigorating and say the least...and riding its tidal wave, is allowing me to experience the essence of a little song I made up for my children, so many years ago...

There's this thing that I do
it's called LIVING
There's this thing that I do
it's called LIFE

Just take a breath and see
it's easy as can be

There's this thing that I do
it's called LIFE!

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