Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Karoo, desolation and spirits

I love the Karoo. It has a sense of enormity that is breathtaking. The sky goes on forever and you feel like there is just so much air. Like you can really breathe. Not that I'm saying I don't breathe here in the city. Of course I do, otherwise I'd expire (not being some superhero who can take in oxygen through my pores or anything), but it just seems easier there, in the wide expanse of the desert.

It was there, in the middle of that desolation, that I broke, and perhaps that has something to do with it. A chunk of my freedom is flitting about there, an angel flapping in those vast amounts of air, flitting around amongst the scattered clouds. Maybe it's her that I like to go and visit, to see her swirling high above.

Nieu Bethesda. Turning off the tar and driving along the dusty windy road towards it makes my insides squelch and my heart contract with joy. I can't explain it except that it just feels like I'm home when I'm there in that secluded little valley, once home to Helen Martins and still home to her house and garden filled with concrete creatures and owls.

Going into the house, you can feel the spirits flitting about it. Her story is not one filled with happiness and her decoration of her father's room is testimony to some serious childhood pain, but the rest of the house certainly gave me the feeling that this woman had joy in her life.

So, yes, although I only went to that little place in the middle of the desolate Karoo for the first time when I was 31, it just felt instantly like home and I' ve been back, but I long to go back and spend a proper amount of time there. Just breathing, and watching the clouds float by in that enormous, neverending sky. And stroking the velvetty noses of the donkeys there.

I wonder if I'll ever have my own donkey?


Frank J said...

this comment has nothing to do with this post, but I seriously think you should write a childrens book..

I dunno why, it just stuck me between the eyes right now. And my gut says that's what you should do.

I think you'd be able to buy a whole herd of donkeys with the vast sums of money you'd make off a childrens book.

I jealous already..


allie said...

Well, all I was going to say is that I know what you mean about the feeling you get inthe Karoo.

But having read Frank J's comment, I am rising to my feet in applause, shouting "yes yes"

Miranda said...

And I!

Shiny said...

Aw, sheesh, you guys have such faith in me x

Rambler said...

me too! me too!

Khoi Gxam Productions said...

Hi, sorry we didn't get to see each other before you left but thanks to Ian I managed find your blog. It was good to meet and chat and hope we can stay in touch. Stay well and please keep in touch!

Shiny said...

Hey Michael! Wow, how did you find me? Super-sleuth? I was over at yours reading your poetry - it is beautiful. We're back in the city, struggling to adapt back into the lights and noise and trying very hard to get an escape plan formed x