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.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Witness to an eclipse

This article was written for the September issue of SA Mountain Magazine.

The Cederberg has the best climbing in the world. I don't know this because I've compared climbing destinations around the world. I know it because I've climbed in the Cederberg. That is enough. It is hard to imagine having a better friend than your best friend. Climbers are not objective route quality measuring devices. We are human and part of what I love about climbing is that it engages so much of my humanity. However beautiful the rock and the moves on a route, our experience of climbing it is about much more than just that.

Friday, July 19, 2013

On the day my father died

I am driving towards the small city of Port Elizabeth in the winter darkness. The eastern horizon, dead ahead, gradually defines itself in increasingly lighter tones of orange, outlined between the dark earth and sky. There are raindrops on the windscreen. The new glasses I am wearing define the world around me more sharply. Everything is slightly more beautiful.

This is what I am thinking: The actual world beyond the windscreen pays scant attention to the models we use to understand it, whether they are models that attempt to attribute value ratings to agricultural land, or religious models that attempt to understand the mystery of human existence. I think we believe too much in the models. But of course if we don't, we set ourselves adrift in a spinning world. And that can be uncomfortable.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Farewell to Ernie

On Wednesday 3rd July a crowd of family and friends gathered to bid farewell to my dad, Ernie. We were at the Llandudno Lifesaving Club on the beach in Llandudno, where my dad had lived for more than 50 years. Ernie died on Friday 28 June, aged 80, after a gradual deterioration compounded by his spinal injury, from a mountain biking accident, and the subsequent 15 years he spent in a wheelchair. This is what I and others said at the gathering: