A Valley Existing for it’s Own Sake ~ Piketberg, West Coast, Western Cape


Coming through the Piekenierskloof Pass on the N7 tonight, at around 6:25pm, from Lambert’s Bay, the sun was setting on the Piketberg valley below. Awash with golden light, the grasses and farms shone in shades of yellow, brown and gold, with touches of red. The warmth of the light created a glow, seeming to suggest that the valley existed purely for its own pleasure and not for the farmers who had created the fields. There was a kind of vibration of peacefulness and perfection, as if nothing painful could touch such beauty, in that moment unsurpassed. The rounded forms of sheep, grey and moving, walking with direction and pure purpose, created eddies of dust, stirred by their feet, in the otherwise undisturbed and silent valley, interrupted only by the occasional windmill. A moment of breathtaking beauty, so sweet.

I attach the eerie sound of the windmill half forgotten from childhood holidays, spent on karoo sheep farms. City girl, listening, with eyes wide open, to the singing metal whine, in the cold and pitch dark:

“A recording of a metal windmill. You can hear the resonant sounds of a metal pole slowly going up and down, lightly rubbing on a metallic disc, changing in tempo, pitch and volume with the slight breeze that was powering the windmill.”

Here is a Vimeo video with the sound and the wind:

Listen to the windmill here from just as I remember it.

Image from Pinterest Kansas by Mary Sue Sander 


Binding Judgment | Beatific Smile no Black and White

Binding Judgment | Beatific Smile no Black and White

brett and carol

Does it ever make sense to judge a book by its cover — literally or metaphorically? Tell us about a time you did, and whether that was a good decision or not.

“…the men I have noticed, the ones with the particular blend of nuances that speak to me with a silvery cord, a unique alchemy,” (from an earlier post: List Lesson | Things I Remember).

The first time I saw him, I just knew. A kind of knowing you have little control over. I think it happens on many levels. Pheromones definitely come into play, as well as mostly subconscious linkages that hook into a kind of emotional, unspoken secret, that which attracts one to another. It has happened this way a handful of times and in my experience, only happens this many times in a lifetime.

It was his height, at least 6’3″ that first caught my eye. A lovely construction of the face and the beatific smile. Just as one can imagine a thousand ships launched for Helen of Troy, so this particular construction launched my ship. His hands, sculpted, like the hands of David. And, that smile! In matters of the heart, the rational mind does a kind of disengage. So, even though one knows on an intellectual rational level, that this may not be workable for you, it is overridden by the primitive brain, the basal ganglia do “get it” first. Researchers at the MIT Picower Center for Learning and Memory in the Feb. 24 issue of Nature, 2005, found that the primitive areas in the basal ganglia, do seem to have a greater role in high-level thinking processes than thought before. However, it takes some time for the cerebral cortex to catch up.

By the time my cerebral cortex caught up, it was too late. The pathways were already carved. Did the original response to the judging of the book cover link to a good or bad decision? I prefer not to think in these matters in black and white. Love is something beyond these climes and for me, was a valuable and life changing experience, a kind of honesty, never mind the fallout. In the words of the timeless Viktor Frankl:

“Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. By his love he is enabled to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; and even more, he sees that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualized but yet ought to be actualized. Furthermore, by his love, the loving person enables the beloved person to actualize these potentialities. By making him aware of what he can be and of what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true.” 
― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Did I grasp the “other” innermost core? Yes, I did. Did this person actualise his potentialities? No, he did not. I can still glimpse him in others, many years later, a particular walk, height, bald head, build, but never again that beatific smile.

Brett and I with our precious teacher Geshela Damcho

Brett and I with our precious teacher Geshela Damcho

Images courtesy of Carol Knox.

Brett Pelser: May he find peace. I discovered this notice in the Sunday Tribune of 2007. PELSER Brett, father of Trinity-Ann. Service at Glenwood Community Church, Glenwood on 28/03/2007. Now I know when to remember his passing.

To see some information about the Venerable Geshe Damcho Yonten, see the Lam Rim Buddhist Centre.

Weekly Writing Challenge | List Lesson | Things I Remember


List Lesson | Things I Remember

This week, girl in the hat writer Anna Fonté challenges you to write a list that transcends its orderly or numbered format.

I Remember:

…steam train whistles, rhythmic clacking, coal in the eye

…farm boys in tight shorts and ‘veldskoens’ in the brittle Karoo, epitomising a strange and unknown masculinity

…gamboling lambs with long tails

…walking out of the High Court sun on my face

…a shoe lost in a puddle of semi-frozen frost

…a moment of transcendence, eddy of water in a smiling round

…the moments of birth, new, tiny, perfect, brilliant flashes of light and possibility, unspeakable and breathtaking, tears in the eyes

…the grey crisp dawn and scalding chai tea

…numb hands and frozen water pipes

…the moment of meeting after many years lost

…moments of possibility, those one could miss if not paying attention

…the breath of a child on my face

…baby feet moving like creatures from a precious world, all emotive

…cats, dogs and birds and animals precious companions enriching life

…unspoken breathless undoings

…the eyes of a lover, limpid with unambiguous desire

…sitting crossed legged receiving teachings in India, grateful, blessed

…simple things in loving moments

…crystal forms perfection

…the men I have noticed, the ones with the particular blend of nuances that speak to me with a silvery cord, a unique alchemy

…the soft transparent skin on the hands of older people I have loved

…the heart pangs of both love and loss

…the joy and sensory delight of just baked bread

…the eyes and hands of connection

…moments of stillness and AHA realisations, coming fully formed without thought

…the peace and liberation of acceptance

…reaching the high place of a waterfall

…dreams and hope made manifest

…Ouma’s prescience and the birds with a message

…crisp white sheets and billowing mosquito nets

…kintsugi and the history of broken things, embracing flaws and imperfections, embracing change.

Image purchased at Creative Market

Tell us Your Story | Reflections | Smell of Acceptance


Daily Post: Nosey Delights – The Smell of Acceptance

I am linking here to an earlier post which fits exactly with today’s prompt.

365 Days of Writing Prompts: Tell us your story. Tell us about a journey — whether a physical trip you took, or an emotional one.

Ouma, tiny in stature, warm, loving, kind. I can smell the cooking from the minuscule, can’t turn around kitchen. The smell of acceptance and safety. I remember seeing her, I did not know it would be the last, fragile, yearning to go to her place in the heavens, (a deeply religious soul).

“…en ek sal in die huis van die HERE bly in lengte van dae.” (Psalm 23 – I will stay in the house of the Lord for the length of days).

Staring at the coffin, my heart constricts, fluid pouring from my eyes and nose, I wonder why it does not come out of my ears, I feel I am dying myself. It felt like the end, end of a home, a place of safety, an unconditional love. I felt I would never know such a place again. Not so much a place but an attitude. Years later I see her and feel her and I miss her, my grandfather, I miss him, (man of few words, teddy bear of a person, shrouded in pipe smoke, kind), wishing them well in whatever rebirth they have taken. Both my grandparents, down to earth, uncontrived. I have not met such people again. They were innocents in a complex manipulative world. Thank you Ouma and Oupa for your heartfulness. Life really only offers a few such opportunities if we are lucky. Lady luck, turn your gaze on me now.

Ouma and Oupa standing, first and second on the right.

ouma and oupa with family


Sign outside the cemetery, isn’t life ironic?

cats crossing


Oupa: 21-10-1900 to 01-09-1985, Ouma: 05-01-1902 to 26-08-1999.

ouma and oupa

Image purchased with my website template Theme Catch Evolution: Meaning and Mindfulness


DAILY POST | MEMORY ON THE MENU | Quintessence of Taste

Daily Prompt Writing Task: Which good memories are better — the recent and vivid ones, or those that time has covered in a sweet haze?

Gourmet Delights | Quintessence of Taste

The Koeksister: Sweet, divine and twisted, oozing drippiness delight, guaranteed to create a haze of sweetness | Walking on a balmy day, smiling, almost skipping, picking mulberries along the Dusi, flowing skirts, long hair, the sweet purpley twistedness staining our mouths and baskets.
Image below and recipe link from Justeasyrecipies.



The Sago Pudding: Hazy warmth and hugs, boerekos from the kitchen that couldn’t turn around | Tiny plump loving pouring forth from Ouma’s long past days.
Sago Pudding image and recipe from MyCookBook South Africa.


The Pickled Onion: Sharp sourness, guaranteed to create involuntary face contortions as the cheeks suck in | Sharp, now, unlikliness of encounter created, unfolded by the dream and firefly sight.

Not either or, but AND…



Posted in Uncategorized on May 24, 2014Leave a comment Edit

Dreams | Memory | How a Firefly can Help you See

roger and carol3


This search and first contact was prompted by a dream. I had a dream that I saw Roger in an exotic market, where I was browsing, possibly somewhere in Asia or North Africa, filled with colour, fabric and magical smells. I looked up and there was Roger in the distance, who smiled and waved at me. I was struck by how tall he was, (the viccitudes of memory), and prompted to look for him, which I had done several times before over the years, but never found him.

Blast from the past – 1970’s. While researching on the internet, I came across a newsletter which seemed to have Roger’s signature on it. Not knowing whether in fact this may be Roger, I mailed the school to ask for his mail address to reconnect again. They were kind enough to forward me his mail. Lo and behold it is Roger. Perhaps 30 years later. He forwarded this picture from the 1970’s, when we lived in Cape Town. I think this serendipity is amazing! He was about to start a journey from the United Kingdom, to visit friends here in South Africa and then to work in North Africa.

Mindfulness & “heartfulness”: Two days ago, I spent time with Roger, here in South Africa.  It was remarkable to be mindful of the preciousness of this encounter and the opportunity to meet and speak again after so much time had passed. I was entranced by the unlikelihood of this experience and was overwhelmed with a sense of deep gratitude. For me, this is clarified in the words of Pablo Neruda, one cannot: “…measure the road which may have had no country…”, and again from Bird: “…I had no more alphabet than the swallows in their courses…” there is no adequate language for this kind of experience, how can words describe such moments? They have to be felt with “heartfulness” and the presence of the moments with mindfulness. Unmeasurable, right now. Sharp, clear, real.

I spent more time with Pablo Neruda today and so connect with these words from Memory: “…but do not ask me the date or the name of what I dreamed – I cannot measure the road which may have had no country, or that truth which changed, which the day perhaps subdued to become a wandering light like a firefly in the dark.”

This firefly helped me to see and connect.