Woke up and it was cold, a distinct chill in the darkness. Faint smell of woodsmoke in the air. Snuggled back down under my brilliant patchwork quilt and thought about the autumn, season of mists and bonfires and new planting, long cool blue days, the leaves tumbling from the trees, nuts and berries and fat golden pumpkins and ridged squash, squirrels gathering acorns, the birds departing for warmer climates …
Last night a lovely drive through to my meeting in the market town in the Breede River Valley. Long shadows over the wheat fields, the bundled stacks asymmetrical against the sweeping mown contours on the hillsides. Intense blue of farm dams locked in with pale green reeds. In the far distance the mountain ranges golden and purple like a mirage. Arrived to find a group of new members — the others had relapsed. One member two days sober and cracking his knuckles as he talked, sitting in a small room, unemployed, clinging to a group that scarcely exists. An angry despondent woman just out of a neuro clinic after attempting suicide. Moslem mother and daughter: the daughter addicted to a crude form of crystal meth, the mother wanting to support her but furious and enmeshed.
We sat and talked a little, keeping it real. No platitudes. Alcoholism degrades. Drugs kill. The messy anguish of lives that can’t be fixed by good will. My private unvoiced hatred of the rehab centre and local neuro clinic, recalling what a close friend went through, the careless, heartless treatment, the ineptitude. Greedy unprofessional helping services. Here in South Africa it is so often all about the money, fleecing the medical aid.
Afterwards, coming back, a meal at a village restaurant, calamari (grilled squid) and a Greek salad, the happiness coming up suddenly in me as I had my grape juice — feeling centred, that this is where I belong, that I can be of service here. My brokenness and truth has a part to play. We need one another.
Waking several times in the night, compassion like toothache sharp and sweet in me. My home group, my fellow sufferers. Trudging a long road together.