A storm brewing outdoors, clouds boiling up black after a vivid sunrise and a brief intermission of blue skies and sunshine. The wind rising. Acorns and the prickly pods of the liquid ambar tree crashing down onto the corrugated iron roof of the stoep. The dog expectant and hopeful that the hot-water cylinder might explode again or the roof fall in. What else might go wrong?
No point in anticipating disaster. The gardener Boetieman is cutting back long tangled branches of the lilac-flowering Podreana ricasoleana or Port St John’s creeper, a beauty but invasive. It grows at the mouth of the Mzimvubu River near Port St John’s in the Eastern Cape and is closely related to another Podreana found growing near the Zimbabwe Ruins and Nova Sofala on the Mozambique coast. It is believed they were brought there by slave traders and originally from South America. Every plant has a story. On the wall behind the garage, the Orange Trumpet Vine is flinging down branches of orange and gold flowers. The Brillantaisia or central African giant salvia has over-powered my small washing line. The garden is streaming colour and tropical splendour despite a dry cold winter. If the garden was left to its own devices, it would be jungle in less than a year.
Over a bowl of Kellogg’s cornflakes, I muse on a skilfully written article by Christopher Page, pondering the tensions and synthesis of rational thinking with the promptings of intuition, how thinking and feeling, doubting and believing might come together:
I know my belief has not come about primarily as a result of a rigorous reasoned process of intellectual investigation. And yet my faith is not irrational. I do not believe in spite of reason. The beliefs to which I adhere do not demand that I put my brain in some kind of conscious cold storage. To my mind, faith is no more reasonable or unreasonable than any other possible worldview to which I might commit. I cannot be convinced that only the atheist is truly reasonable, but reason is not the deciding factor in my journey of faith.
I come to faith along a road that is more intuitive than purely rational. My journey involves things half-felt, thoughts ill-formed, impressions and sensations only partially detected. I move forward in what the anonymous 14th century mystical writer called a “cloud of unknowing.”