Alfred Brendel worked out that the words “listen” and “silent” have the same letters in common. Now, apart from the fact that this suggests that old Alfred had a lot of time on his hands (clever chap), it has got me thinking this morning… that, in the very busy and noisy world many of us now inhabit, people have actually become afraid of being alone in silence… and listening to their own (inner) voice, let alone those of others.
The fires came again three months ago, rushing through the range,
The mountain-glow glowed nearer and near, inducing fear.
We heard the crackling, the roar, the burning in nostrils raw,
Dogs and clothes bundled into cars and hope left crumpled on the floor.
Then yesterday, driving into the smell that has never left me…
“The moment you know
You know, you know…
As long as there’s sun,
as long as there’s sun…
As long as there’s rain,
as long as there’s rain…
As long as there’s fire,
as long as there’s fire…
As long as there’s me, as long as there’s you…”
“Where Are We Now?”
(The Next Day, 2013).
Pictures: Fred Hatman
On this day I shall find out how tea cosies changed the world.
Ref: “How Tea Cosies Changed The World” (by Loani Prior) wins 2013 Diagram Prize.
Once a month I am afforded the privilege of writing what I like about what I like (or sometimes don’t like) in our little gem of a local newspaper, Stanford River Talk.
What I had planned to write about this month was my most recent roadtrip, one which was meant to take Lucille and I to Montagu and beyond, to places I had never seen. Instead, I got as far as a retreat in McGregor and stayed. There was a reason for this, as there is for everything. I was taken on a journey of the spirit and soul. And left feeling replenished and uplifted. I had been taken to a place within me which I was required to look at.
But I can’t write anymore about this. Because my experience of two even more recent journeys have occupied my mind. And heart. And soul.
They were certainly not planned. And they happened within four days of each other.
On the Tuesday, I found myself driving to Bredasdorp, To stand at the very spot where a 17-year-old girl had had her body taken from her. In every terrible way imaginable. You will know the story of Anene. It is a story which South Africans must never forget. Because if we are to even begin to scratch the despicable surface of reversing the pandemic of rape and abuse of women in our country then Anene Booysen, and the countless and unnamed others like her, must never be forgotten. Bredasdorp was another trip I had to make. And it still haunts me.
Four days later I stood on a beautiful farm just outside our village and, with you and you and you and you, paid tribute to a little life lost. There is little comparison to be made with what I had experienced a few days before except, once again, I was taken on a painful and extraordinary journey.
This makes me feel very small. And our planet very big. And absurdly beautiful.
Sorry. I just can’t get you around the world quicker than that. I know you’ll understand.