Friday, March 30, 2012

I look to the hills

It was a scene so photogenic, so visually powerful and mystical and ... strong.
Art directors the world over would weep.

That field in the background is deep and wide and golden with the setting sun. That mountain range behind it is blue-grey and long and high and portent. The clouds to our left were heaving and black, to the right fluffy and white, and just off frame, half a rainbow dipped down from the heavens.
That minister spoke, those two people pledged and all the while thunder rumbled in the distance.
And just as they came to the vows, so came the big plop-plop of the first drops of thunderstorm rain. By the time they were man and wife we were nearly drenched.

I attended two Christian religious ceremonies last week.

One took place in a church. Surrounded by the trappings of culture and ritualised belief, protocol and decorum and stand now and sit now and say this now. I understand some people take comfort from that.

The other, in a place far more holy than the first. Free, true, tangible, fresh, dusty, exposed, timeless. It was still not my god, but it made much more sense to me there.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

things from the day

Realising, during the eulogy, that you can know someone your whole life and not, by any means, know everything about them. Not at all.
Coupled by the instant stab of pain at how much you didn't ask them when you could have.

Sitting in the front pew (we came in late) knowing my whole extended family was right behind me. Hearing a cough and recognising it as my mother's, a whisper from a cousin, a nose-blow which could have only belonged to a man.
Feeling the presence of all of them behind me.

The young undertaker's assistant dropping his small change all over the carpet in front of the coffin trolley. My uncle's look of resigned disdain.
The knowledge that it wouldn't have bothered my grandfather as much as it did his eldest son.

The pallbearers - my father, flanked by his older and younger brothers. Opposite each of them their eldest son. 4 of the 6 wearing ties from the same prestigious Cape Town boy's school. A momentary pang that I have no sons, no men to stand, proud in their grief, in formation at my funeral.
A momentary respect for patriarchy.

Changing the meaning of the minister's words in my head so that each time he mentioned god I substituted my grandfather.
He is good, merciful, kind. He brings us comfort. We are here to honour Him.

The strange, yet oddly comforting way the minister followed behind the coffin, still preaching, accompanying my grandfather out to the hearse.
The heavy thud of the vehicle's door punctuating the end.

The ribbons on the hymnals fluttering in the breeze ...

Later, in my uncle's study with all my first cousins. 10 present, just one missing. We're here on my grandfather's bidding, complying with instructions he left in his last days. 10 adults - all married, most of us parents, most of us with very little else in common - all briefly reminded of days gone when we tumbled on our grandparent's lawn at Christmas-time, tussled over the coins in the Christmas pudding, performed Beatles songs for a family concerts.
Days when we frolicked through family gatherings filled with happy adults and so much love.

Even later, exhausted, sitting outside with my man, a ridiculously bright and spectacular shooting star shot across the sky.

These are the things I want to remember from that day.

Monday, March 19, 2012

got air

We're just back from our annual family retreat - the 7th year we've been back to the same house out near Hermanus for a birthday celebration weekend in March.

My Grandad passed away last week. My sister-in-law's been really ill with glandular fever. Our baby turned 2 last weekend. It's been a busy, emotional time.
But despite all that, the weekend was light. Easy. Fun and relaxing.
'Cos that's what family should (mostly) be.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

a tally ...

... of my recent injuries:

On Friday I got kicked in the face. By accident naturally, during a wild pre-bedtime game of, um ... Kick Mum in the Face as far as I can make out.
Lesson learnt: those little heels are hard and also, never get in a bar fight. My face hurts.

On Saturday I stubbed my toe against the edge of the exhaust pipe for Husband’s ‘project bike’ which was on the floor of the study because, um ... that’s where it seems to live now? I lifted a big flap of skin and may or may not have said bad words in front of my children.
Lesson learnt: buy house with garage, make Husband live in it (garage) and also, fuck.

On Sunday I moved the dog’s bed (made of a repurposed 4x4 tyre) and managed to drop it on my foot. I think I crushed one or more small bones. I may have said some more bad words.
Lesson learnt: get a chihuahua.

And also, feet are over-rated.