Hot and windless morning, parsley threatening to bolt and take the coriander with it, a scattering of tiny white flowers. Garden raging with scarlet and magenta Inca lilies.
Housemate came back from looking at stony kopjes, windswept plains, herds of dusty sheep and fast-running ostriches, windmills and donkey carts. She spent the day unpacking and showing me all the things she hadn’t needed on her trip. Told me highly entertaining gothic family dramas with aunts and uncles and in-laws unhindered by any notion of boundaries or loving detachment or anything other than the dark gleeful zestiness of gossip. Out there in the vast semi-deserts with almost nobody else within hailing distance it is apparently quite common for husbands and wives to not speak to one another for decades. People use cell phones/mobiles only for telling the time. Why would anyone bother with Facebook when you can spy on your neighbour with Zeiss binoculars or through riflescopes? Shades of another century.
No electricity much of the weekend so sat under trees and read Jane Dunn’s biography of Antonia White and her lifelong struggle with her autocratic and unsympathetic father and the terrifying Father she found (or created for herself) in Catholic dogma amidst that sclerotic Church triumphalism before Vatican II threw the cat among the pigeons, so to speak. Not unlike watching Pope Francis dash around Rome in his Ford Focus. A joke from Whispers in the Loggia: “If you want to know a pontifical secret, just ask the Pope – he’ll tell you himself.”
Change, renewal, turmoil, uncertainty — and in my corner of the world, power surges that make electric connections crackle and lights flicker wildly.
From whisky river:
“People are frightened of themselves. It’s like Freud saying that the best thing is to have no sensation at all, as if we’re supposed to live painlessly and unconsciously in the world. I have a much different view. The ancients are right: the dear old human experience is a singular, difficult, shadowed, brilliant experience that does not resolve into being comfortable in the world. The valley of the shadow is part of that, and you are depriving yourself if you do not experience what humankind has experienced, including doubt and sorrow. We experience pain and difficulty as failure instead of saying, I will pass through this, everyone I have ever admired has passed through this, music has come out of this, literature has come out of it. We should think of our humanity as a privilege.”
- Marilynne Robinson