When I started learning about blogging, one piece of advice I found was: “Tell people what your blog is about”. I’ve tried several times to do this by encapsulating, in word picture or parable form, what seems at the time of writing to be the very heart of the matter.
It’s like trying to catch a greased pig. Every attempt to define this blog by writing about it changes it. And I’m getting fed up with baring my soul in sidebar and then having to delete what I’ve written because it Just Doesn’t Fit. I want to be done with that and get on with the act of simply writing the blog!
I thought maybe I’d just skip this part, and then I realized that every time I read a blog post I enjoy I skip to the “About Me” to decide whether I want to hit the Follow button.
So now I’m just going to stick a fork in the pig and throw it straight onto the braai without further fuss. (By the way, this is a truly terrible image. I have strong feelings about commercial pig farming, which I will probably share sometime, and never eat supermarket pork products because of those. So I just want you to know, this is a pasture-raised, antibiotic-free, non-GMO, humanely done-in Happy Pig, okay?)
I started this blog because in more than half a century I still haven’t figured out how to answer the question “Where do you want to be five years from now?” and in consequence I find myself not entirely sure of where I am, or what I think about being here, or which way to point myself next. Some moments I know I am rich beyond measure, others I am overwhelmed with grief for broken dreams and missed opportunities. This blog is a place I have made for myself to unpack my baggage and decide what I want to keep, and what should go.
I write because that’s what I do, and when I stopped doing it for a while I did myself harm. But while I greatly admire those bloggers who can remain consistently entertaining / challenging / thought-provoking / on topic, this blog is intended to be a catch-all for pretty much whatever I feel like writing about.
If you’ve stopped by, I want you to know that you’re welcome. I don’t have any answers for you, but I’d love to share the questions. So pour a cup of rooibos tea and grab a koeksister (or throw a burger on the BBQ if that’s what you prefer – they’re made with Happy Beef raised right here on our farmlet). Kom kuier ‘n bietjie. Even if we don’t manage to figure out The Meaning And Purpose Of It All, It’s always good just to take time out to ponder.
Transplantation hurts. Roots break, leaves shrivel, trunk bows and limbs bend at the onslaught of unfamiliar winds. The older the tree, the greater and more lasting the damage.
I was 40 when I pulled myself out of the rich earth that, over eons, has filtered to the bottom of Africa, and set myself into the stony ground at the top left corner of the USA. I have been here now nearly half my adult life. And I have learned to love the furnace of summer, the icy blast of winter, and the lingering blush and glow of spring and autumn. I have learned the subtle beauty of sagebrush, the fragrance of wild roses and the the brief profusion of daffodils and tulips, and the extravagance of a river that, it seems to me, could slake all Africa.
And yet… And yet.
It is hard to breathe the thin, dry air of this place. The shade I cast seems distorted by the low-rising sun. My fruit shrivels without ripening. The seeds I let fall are few, and do not set root. My heart cracks with longing for hadedas and braai smoke and koeksusters and township jazz played too loudly in the street on Sunday afternoon.
I imagine carving myself into a boat that will float down the river and across the ocean, all the way around the world.
I cut sticks and carve them into pencils. I will draw a map. I will write my way home.