Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Work ? What work ?

I was lost the moment I woke up and walked out on to the bedroom balcony.  The tide was out, the wet beach sand gleamed and the air was fresh and salty.  All resolutions about Work That Had To Be Done Today flew out of my head and wafted away in the soft breeze.  Ten minutes later I was down at Silversands Beach.

I'd  thought I might have the beach to myself but as usual, the early-rising fishermen had beaten me to it.  Blue cooler boxes mark the spot and lay a claim to this particular patch of paradise.

Knee deep in icy surf, intent only on waiting for the fishing lines to twitch, I imagine that this must be one of those experiences to savour and enjoy during colder, more bleak times.  I remember how my dad loved to cast a line out into the surf whenever he had a chance.  I asked him how he felt if he didn't catch anything and he said something I've never forgotten - "It's not the result that's important, it's the experience".  Everytime I wander around with my camera, losing myself in the joy of just being at one with the world around me, I remember my dad and, yes, it is about the experience - the pictures are a bonus but they're secondary.

Mirror images and intrepid walkers way further down the beach.  With the sun behind my back I couldn't get my shadow out of the picture but in a way it kind of balances the reflection of the mountains.

Turning round and walking back the clouds started to drift over and the light on the shining sand softened.

The walkers caught up and passed me, obligingly adding some scale to the image.

Back at the beginning, the fishermen were still out in the waves, the cooler box hadn't been washed away and someone with tough feet was walking over the extremely sharp rocks.

And the Vital and Important Work?  Alas it was still waiting for me.

Friday, March 23, 2012

March Lillies

One of the joys of my new fynbos garden is the discovery of  a new (to me) flower that I didn't know was hidden beneath the rather dry and sandy soil.  When I reversed out the driveway a few days ago my eye was caught by a glorious pop of colour and when I stopped to investigate I discovered clumps of Amaryllis Belladonna popping up all over the place.  Later that afternoon one of my lovely new neighbours dropped in and gave me a bouquet of the same lillies.

From an internet search,, I learnt that other popular names for this bulb are Belladonna Lily or Naked Lady lilly.  The interesting thing about them is that the flowers are borne on the end of a long purple/red and green stem about 50cm high but the strap-like leaves are only produced after flowering and remain green throughout the winter period.  Apparently this strange phenomanon is known as hysteranthy.

Up to twelve flowers may appear from the flowering stem and the trumpet-shaped pink (or white) flowers are softly scented and delicately curled at the end of the petals.

"Amaryllis is Greek feminine and is named after a beautiful shepherdess.  The specific epithet belladonna means beautiful lady.  The appearance of the tall, flower stalk without any leaves accounts for the common name "naked lady" "

The swirling sugar pink colors of the petals in close up remind me of the gauzy tutus my girls wore for ballet and eisteddfods all those years ago.  At the time the endless fetching and carrying for ballet, tap, tennis, hockey, and singing was absolutely exhausting but I look back on them very fondly.  Any transporting I do these days is when I'm in visiting the grandsons in Brisbane so the activites are soccer, rugby, tennis, cricket, chess, guitar, orchestra and choir.    Nice to know that the musical gene is being carried on in the family.

The flower pix are mine and the information is from

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Peak Times

Casting around for a topic to write about today, I found some notes I'd made sometime ago on blogging ideas.  I subscribe to two daily Word Press newsletters and one of them had suggested writing about a peak time in your life.  And this was one of the first memories that came to mind.

A few years ago my husband and I made a leisurely trip up the Garden Route, a particularly beautiful section of the East Coast of South Africa.  Storms River Mouth was one of the stops along the way, a spectacular meeting of the river and sea, and slung between the two shores is a long suspension bridge.  At the time it was prior to my knee replacements and the long steep hike to the bridge made me pessimistic about my chances of getting there without the total collapse of the knees.

I'm an extremely stubborn person so once started on the path I refused to give up despite quite severe pain and eventually we arrived at the spot where the bridge began.  To my horror the bridge was swaying and bouncing slightly as other people walked over it.

I'm terrified of heights and water.  I can't swim, not that it would help me if I fell into the churning waters below.  I sat on a rock watching others walk across, trying to summon up the courage to take that first step.  I thought "Right, I've come this far, I can't give up now".  So holding on for dear life, I started across the plank walkway which afforded all too vivid glimpses of the boiling cauldron below.

Half way across I was swept by a feelng of utter exhilaration and joy, of being strong and invincible.  After a short rest on the far shore I began the return journey, this time feeling confident enough to snap off some pictures - one-handed of course, because I wasn't going to let go of my death grip of the rope holds.  When I got to the other side my husband was there to capture the moment and I've never felt so proud of myself as I did then.  The fact that I limped for several days afterwards was worth every ache and pain.

I was thinking about why this achievement meant so much to me and I realised that my life had become quite small and constricted for a long time, thanks to the knee problems.  The fear of pain and falling had made me reluctant to tackle anything so strenuous but I had pushed myself through it.  I'd had so few really physical challenges in my life at that stage so this was definitely a peak experience and one I will never forget.  I felt that I had experienced a small taste of the euphoria that climbers must feel when summiting a mountain. 

This was my "mountain" and I had climbed it.


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