Out of The Hat column, Stanford River Talk (October, 2013)
There are a plethora of reasons why we Stanfordians have been drawn to live in this little, old village.
I have a plethora all of my own.
One, one that I have grown to hugely appreciate and cherish over the past three and a bit years, is simplicity.
This is never more beautifully apparent than when I sit at my kitchen window in the mornings and look out over what I call “my back garden sanctuary”… and beyond that to the fields, where rainwater lakes have formed, and where Howard’s horses graze along with a group of fallow deer and guinea fowl and geese and ducks. And whatever else blew in overnight.
Beyond all of this are the magnificent trees that line the river. And the river, flowing purposefully towards the lagoon, now an estuary blissfully married to the ocean.
In a previous post on this blog I told of the conceptual photography artwork I wanted to create, illustrating the story of two young girls who lost their father six years ago.
Ruby and Sara are now 12 and 11 and they have travelled an unimaginably (to me) painful and tortuous path since Richard took his life. I won’t expand on that because two people much, much closer to him have told their personal stories in books and I will later direct you to places where you can find out more, if you so wish.
All I wanted to do is create a triptych of photographs that might illustrate, in simple terms and at least in the realm of my imagination, the spiritual journey Ruby and Sara have had to undertake to get to where they are now — the sweetest, most affectionate, openly love-expressing young children one could be privileged to meet.
Out of The Hat column, Stanford River Talk, May 2013.
I can see it now.
Queen Victoria Street, Saturday morning… people milling about at the morning market, Brydon’s lemon tart in one hand, Elsa’s mozzarella in the other, and complaining in a genteel and socially decorous manner about what happened to Tracy’s trees and the fact that the Municipality sat fatly by and did diddly-very-squat about it.
Then a hush falls over the small gathering. A lemon tart makes a ka-plop as it falls, lemony side-down of course, on cold, hard concrete. A Yorkshire Terrier squeaks as the weight of a Stanford Info leaflet drifts gently past its ear.
Many faces all turn sharply in one direction and reflect absolute horror. Well, OK, not horror… more a face-mash of wonder and consternation, lightly garnished with escalating anxiety.
Stanford’s children, practically all of them and from every corner of the village, are coming down Queen Victoria Street. And not just strolling, as they usually do in that somewhat directionless we’re-not-quite-sure-where-we’re-going-but-we-are sure-we’re going-to-have-fun way that Stanford’s children appear to have perfected. No. Not at all. Not today.
It was my day off – released from the pixel-searing underbelly of The Argus building – so I hopped on a spray-paint-clad carriage for Kalk Bay.
One of those gloriously still and sunny days occasionally gifted Cape Town by the whimsical windstreams and K Bay showed its most flirtatious face.
I lunched in the heart-warm bosom of the Olympia – and within perfume range of the delightful Dame Janet Suzman – before unleashing my camera on myriad shadows, reflections and warmly-lit walls.
It was then that it dawned on me that we might have wriggled free of winter’s grasp… and, when I saw this young boy playing on the wall of the tidal pool next to the seemingly ancient Brass Bell, I mused that summer had indeed kicked off.
Pic: Hatman Photography
Shot. But so, too, did summer’s wicked wink shoot by and grey drizzle returned the following day. No matter. I had captured in my mind’s eye the golden glow of a majestic and memorable day and that will sustain me until my return to Stanford. And the promise of diving naked off the Jetty of Love into the Klein River by the light of the moon.