This week I’m feeling generally upbeat and that all things are possible. It’s nice. I saw my pal Theo for supper – he lives in the UK and we catch up each year when he comes over for the Argus Cycle tour. The cross-peninsula bike ride has been rerouted this year by the disaster that has been a week-long fire – burning through our mountains, fanned on by an unseasonal South Easter. March is usually the time of year that the wind drops, but not this time. The smoke and loss made us all take a look at our lives and be grateful.
Small acts of kindness have been popping up all over, one of which really touched my heart. A woman told me today that the baboons who live in an extended tribe above her house have come down into the garden. They can be pests because they are smart as hell and can figure out how to get into houses and cars. Taking what they want and strewing the rest around. They are big, ugly buggers and can be aggressive too.
“I have put out food and water for them”, she said, “I know we aren’t supposed to, but they were sitting at the bottom of the garden, and I could see some of them were burnt. Their fur was singed. And when I went out today, some of the mothers were sitting nursing their babies and they had nothing to give them and there were tears running down their cheeks. I promise I am not making this up. They were tears. None of them came towards me, and my dogs didn’t chase them. It’s like we all understood that things were bad. So I put out fruit and loaves of bread and carrots and fresh natural things. And they took them all and sat together and ate them. It broke my heart. They have no-where to go. I just don’t know what they are going to do.” No-one knows how this fire started, and the loss has been immense to humans and to our environment. But even more so to the animals. The woman was right – they have nowhere to go. I also don’t know what they are going to do.
So the first thing I want to celebrate today is the effort made by Capetonians to put the fire out. To the fire fighters and helicopter pilots who battled the blaze – I salute you. To the regular folk who provided sustenance, clean clothing, water and (in one case) live piano music at dawn – I am proud to live among you. I know the rains will come and Cape Town will be reinvigorated, and the fynbos that covers the mountain will regrow. And I hope we will remember that we are better together than we are apart.
Second: There has been a lot over the past week about the horror that is ISIS, and the extrapolation of that is a generalised blaming of a religion, of a people and of an ancient culture that has given us great thinkers and poets and writers and painters. I saw this quote and thought it was worth remembering that there are people stained by these events, who neither have nor want any part of them. Who despair along with us, and who are also desperately concerned that this situation is not going to end well. Let’s think before we damn.
Third: I’ve been having a Stevie Wonder week – I might even have been seen grooving around the kitchen with Jack barking at my heels. I defy you to sit still to Superstition or Higher Ground. Time for Stevie to make a new album.
and lastly: Whimsical Paper Sculptures by Harriet Aston. Makes me want to try my hand at arty things.
(Images of Flowers and Sunset copyright campari&sofa, image of Harriet Aston Sculpture from Livingetc. Fire photos uncredited from Facebook. If either of those flowers is your, please let us know, we will credit you with joy.)