It is my hope that putting this voice out into our world has value, not only for me, but for others, as well. I admit to sometimes entertaining dreams of it going viral, of infecting the world with my vision. But most of the time I am content to be motivated by Gandhi's assertion: whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Rim of Africa: Day 9

Day 9 (21): Roelof's Dam to Vredelust Dam, Kouebokkeveldberge

If each of the 7 billion of us on this planet could possibly walk along the western edge of the high expanse of water that is Roelof's Dam, at dawn, and in silence, I think it would change the course of our evolution. Unfortunately most cannot, and of those who can, few will choose to. I am grateful that I am among those who can.

Photo: Galeo Saintz

Along the shoreline, the turbulent ruggedness of quartzite butts up against a motionless serenity that reflects whole mountain ranges and skies. A meeting of opposites in the pure air of altitude. We leave the water behind us and below, and ascend into the ridges. Before we begin the steep descent beyond Roelof's Berg, we reach a high point from which we can look both forwards and backwards along our journey. Tafelberg stands like a beacon on the most distant skyline - five days walking behind us. Below us is the secluded, hollow beauty of Disa Valley, awaiting us, and across it, the precipitous pinnacle of Olifants River Dome, pointing skywards. Even on this high ridge, the air is still.
Photo: Charles Powne
This morning's silence, wandering across the bones of our earth, is the perfect space to reflect on the skeletal in one's life. This is the poem it inspires:

My life is the layers of quartzite over which I walk,
jagged and exposed here on the ridge-lines that they hold,
important for now,
and beautiful,
forged in a heaving in-breath
on the other side of time and experience,
a gathering of particles,
pressed together,

My birth is the slow weathering of what is above me,
a wearing away, a release of pressure,
a rising to the light,
a crack,
made ready for life.

My growing is a precarious balance,
a falling down, a sculpting,
a chisel strike by life's large hands,
shards of shattered stone, the smell of flint.
And what remains, stands proud on the skyline.

My ageing is the dissolution
of the physicality of what holds me together,
a rusting into rivers,
a salty journey to the sea.

And then a re-gathering of particles
far below me.
And amongst them, perhaps,
a small rounded nugget of quartz,
smooth and milky white,
my hardest, strongest part,
released into the gathering
and the heaving in-breath
of the next generation of mountains.

Photo: Charles Powne

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