The housemate saw a lone red jackal, young and frisky, on a lonely mountain pass and pulled off the road to watch him playing in the dirt, chasing his own bushy tail and slicked wet with early morning dew. Then he ran off in a flash, disappearing into thick bushes of protea and rooibos. She thought he looked very like the small mongrel terrier rescue dog we call The Chub. An instinctive longing for freedom and the wild lingers on in some dogs after centuries of domestication.
Cool and fresh morning after rain fell during the night. No running water because a pipe broke at the top of the village. Electricity may go down after lunch. I have stored some water in buckets in the bathroom so I can refill the dogs’ water bowls and make myself green tea. My new passion is for smoothies made from carrot, ginger and orange juice, a kick like an exuberant mule.
The dogs are sitting in front of the secure and buried chickenwire-enhanced fence watching schoolchildren play sports on the field across the road. The girls are practising their Rihanna moves, as once their mothers imitated Madonna or Whitney. Celebrity culture is global and sometimes inspiring, sometimes not. A day like today feels so peaceful and normal.
Young girls stretching, swivelling their hips and dancing on a field,watched by boys and indulgent teachers. Budding sensuality, coyness, discomfort, adolescent angst. the adult woman in the process of becoming. I wonder about their futures in this troubled country, their messy vital lives, the bad choices, the secret histories of violence, the giftedness. Thinking of Persephone dancing in a meadow with her friends and then abducted by the Dark Lord of the Underworld and taken down into Hades. How each of us as girls and women will undertake risky encounters and be changed in some way, that the darkness and making of terrible mistakes is perhaps necessary, that even the worst of unwanted encounters can be survived and overcome.
Last night I woke from a dream in which I was perhaps 15 years old, red hair in a ponytail, riding my bicycle fast down a steep mountain track, running away from home or running towards something. Scared and excited, both at once. Then I was awake and the moonlight shining in through the window. Got up and pulled on a robe, let out my dogs into the moonlit garden all wet from the rain, thinking about mythology and beauty and our lives becoming what destiny and desire call us to become.
In the window, the moon is hanging over the earth,
meaningless but full of messages.
It’s dead, it’s always been dead,
but it pretends to be something else,
burning like a star, and convincingly, so that you feel
it could actually make something grow on earth.
If there’s an image of the soul, I think that’s what it is.
I move through the dark as though it were natural to
as though I were already a factor in it.
Tranquil and still, the day dawns.
On market day, I go to the market with my lettuces.