Saturday, August 25, 2012



I know I can't stay.

But how I am supposed to leave?

Today I had the most wonderful day with the most wonderful friend. 

We  just took the day off from the chaos and the countdown - went out into the bush and lay under a tree,  our own cool green pocket of peace and solitude, an oasis in the frantic grab for survival, a pause in the tick of time.  

Surround twitter of birdsound and the sun was slanting and rippling through the leaves. Looking up and tracing the intricate tangle of the vines curling around the rough everbranching twigs.

We listened to Nickel Creek and talked about life, love, death, and the color and detail and awe of the present moment -  the goosebump tiny splashes of laughter and detail that rest lightly, briefly in the palm like an iridescent bubble blown from the fat grinning wild lips of childhood. 

We ate homemade chocolate pudding cake, sopping the perfect sponge of cocoa with the rich tan of condensed milk from the can,  dipped perfectly crisped bits of toasted bread into the zesty spice of fresh tomato, pepper, and onion salsa, dripping red and heaping next to slathers of mashed avocado lime guacomole. 

We read poetry and ate almonds and watched as the sun slipped its circle around us. 

And then,

spontaneous, we wanted to go swimming in the river.

There is wide-spread flooding - 7 villages are underwater - but we decided to go swimming anyway.

We set out for the river - both somehow believing we would make it there (this is the kind of friend that I can believe something like that with), that we would find a path that led  there, and that we be able to swim when we got there. 

We set off charging through the sand - and halfway to the river - we met....the river.  We stopped.  We considered.

We could have turned back
but we didn't.

Instead - we rolled up our pants above our knees and waded in - we were going to the river.  We were going swimming.

We waded out through what used to be the road, past drowning cornfields and trees whose branches brushed a slight ripple onto the tip of the vast expanse of water,  the tiny waves sloshing around our knees and bleeding into the blues and purples floating fabric.

We could have turned back -
but we didn't

About 1 km later - the water was waist high - there was a break in the path - we were surrounded by the tops of bushes and the contrasting half forms of bold and twisted trees - and we could look across the lake of what used to be a field.

The sky turned a brilliant golden grey roil of fluid puffing glory, and we just stopped. 

We watched, breathless, and then we went swimming. 

We set the backpack and our shoes on the top of the nearest tree and sank down into the murk resting our chins on the surface, sitting on the bottom of the path. 

The yellow green of the cornstalk were perfectly mirrored in shimmering reflection, the clouds were zizag and fluid and watery upside down - the gnarled trees trembling stalwart in the breeze, staring back at themselves

It was placid, beautiful, like we had glided into the fairy jungle of another world. 


There is power and solace and danger in the water.

Water unlocks something in the bedrock of the soul that nothing else can.

Water is a voyager too - the first and the last to rip its canyons through the walls of time,

It has a constancy, an eternity, an agelessness, like the water that in the beginning formed the wave capped surface of the deep is the same that spilled over the banks of the Bere river, that goes downstream laughing and snaking in its current, splashing like raindrops back into our wind-chapped faces.

There is something about water that takes carries you away as it leads you home.

Something about its current that grounds you. 

Something enveloping, and wistful, and free. 

We could have turned back,
but we didn't.

We watched the grey in the clouds deepen and the brilliance of the gold begin to reflect a silvered hint of pink and everything about it was brilliant and glory and indescribable. 
I lifted my arms high into the sky and i felt reverence and gratitude and wonder, wading back dripping and soaking and peaceful and wild and free and barefoot, the sand and stray grass of the path cool and forbidden beneath my toes

the edge of the water turning to the slime of mud, a rippling voice singing sad and strong from the bush, the glutted stare of a bullfrog, and the sky, the sky, the kind of sky that held a rainbow of grey in its fleeting smile.

we could have turned back
but we didn't. 

moments such as these are rare in this lifetime
friends like these are rarer still. 

a friend  that, in so many ways,

could have turned back.

but didn't.

so tell me,

how am I supposed to turn my back

how am I supposed to leave?

1 comment:

  1. Your writing is simply beautiful!! Thank you for sharing of yourself so openly and honestly...

    Brenda-Louise (Bronwyn's sister)