Monday, December 29, 2008
The View...er...Away from my Bicycle [COLUMN]
After a 10 day hiatus, I am back. Over the past 3 days I have driven about 1200km. The last stretch, just under 400km between Bloemfontein and Johannesburg culminated in the RETURN FROM HOLIDAYS GRAND PRIX. Some very interesting driving out there. For my part in making way for a SUV attempting a new land speed record on the N1 I almost nosedived into a 50's CHEVY going about a third the legal speed limit. Try that - dodging a missile in the fast lane, only to find virtually motionless booby traps in the slow lane.
Yesterday I tried to weave around a caravan that was being pushed by a very strong wind into the adjacent lane...
These are some of the hazards on the way to bliss. I have slept incredibly well this holiday,thanks to overnight stops in plces like Mossel Bay and Nieu Bethesda. It has been a long time since I have seen the Milky Way in such fine stellar detail. You know, the silver mists of stars. And quite appropriately on this holiday I have read the authorised biography of Neil Armstrong, culminating, of course, in the moon the landing. I'm almost there.
The spell in Mossel Bay felt something like being in the confines of the LM [Lunar Module]. Complete with powerful atmospheric winds buffeting the capsule [whilst uprooting adjacent gazebo and turning various nearby tents instantly into floating jellyfish and colorful tumbleweed.
As I say, sleep was incredible these past few days. Virtually no noise pollution, and especially in Bethesda, despite the occasional nightmares of those nearby, sleep in the quiet blackness was what it is meant to be. A solid recharge. Other highlights included the Compassberg climb (2500m) and visiting Helen Martins' Owl House.
I will be writing more about these experiences when I have more time.
For now, I come away from the holidays with just a few salient thoughts.
Our world is filled with pollution: air, light, noise and news. I did not miss the internet or newspapers at all this holiday. I am not sure how much we benefit from poring over bad news before we start the day. I did enjoy the radio whilst driving, and listening to conversations on valuable topics on Radio Sonder Grense.
Our world is filled with wonder, so much of it unseen. And much of this wonder is in ourselves, locked away. I realised this again climbing Compassberg, a beautiful mountain, and being inside the very elaborate Owl House.
Everything is on course for fundamental change- and that change is rapidly underway already. At a toll gate today we waited for ages and when I finally moved through I asked what the hold upwas. Apparently some people were arguing because they had to pay toll fees. Fewer people can now afford to be on the roads.
On a more personal note, I left Johannesburg weighing 81.9kg. I am now 85.7kg. I was lucky enough to be fed some top dollar grub, and did some long runs along the beach, and around Bethesda. I am still limping from the exertions up Compassberg. Now the work begins to adapt to the change underway, and even more, to change ourselves.