Went out last night and sat with a young schoolteacher dying of cholera. Only 33. All through the night I woke in tears. Blazing heat this morning, no shadows, no shelter.
And there are two French members of an American cult on the run in the Karoo Hoogland after shooting two policemen, one of whom died on the scene,, so everyone in country areas is on alert. The couple who have gone on the run were staying on a remote farm and belonged to the Ramantha School of Enlightenment cult started near Washington by an American called Judy Knight who claims that Ramtha, a 35 000-year-old disembodied entity from an ancient civilisation, channels through her. The Ramtha movement belives the world will end in 2012. The runaway couple are in possession of a .22 hunting rifle, a 9mm pistol, a semi-automatic rifle, two revolvers (a 765 Magnum and a .38 Special) and a pump action shotgun. Violence and apocalyptic are natural companions.
The craziness of violence and the craziness of alcoholism are kin. Sanity is such a quiet and patient quality. Grace resides in the ordinary, the everyday, the small heroic routines carried on for a lifetime. Thinking of a poem by Joy Harjo:
The world begins at a kitchen table.
No matter what,
The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table.
So it has been since creation, and it will go on.
We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe
at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.
It is here that children are given instructions on what
it means to be human. We make men at it, we make women.
At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.
Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms
around our children. They laugh with us at our poor
falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back
together once again at the table.
This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella
in the sun.
Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place
to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to celebrate
the terrible victory.
We have given birth on this table, and have prepared
our parents for burial here.
At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow.
We pray of suffering and remorse.
We give thanks.
Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table,
while we are laughing and crying,
eating of the last sweet bite.