“The sand in the hourglass runs from one compartment to the other, marking the passage of moments with something constant and tangible.
If you watch the flowing sand, you might see time itself riding the granules.
Contrary to popular opinion, time is not an old white-haired man, but a laughing child.
And time sings.”
― Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration – Goodreads
Day 161 of Lockdown. In the last week or so, I became aware that lockdown is bearing down on me. Even a big introvert like myself is starting to feel the lack of real social contact. The eternal mask and hand sanitizer is becoming more than just a bit of a bore. Keeping up the vigilance against an invisible enemy is working on the stress levels.
Fortunately I am going to do a policy renewal with a client, that will bring some personal contact.
And I can always go for a mind travel. I cannot explain why Bulungula is filling my memories this morning. It was a very special holiday and we did enjoy it a great deal. But then, we also had other special holidays. In fact, every holiday is special.
Was it that we felt young when we canoodled on the river with the change of tide? Canoodle is a fabricated word. Bulungula Lodge has these pool noodles that we used to float on the river. We were like kids. Racing each other up river, taking advantage of short cuts, getting bogged down in wet, muddy sand. Racing back down river on the tide, trying everything possible for some advantage to win the race. We were like kids again. That is what grandchildren does to an old man – makes him young again.
Memories of Bulungula are about rocket showers and a rocket bath. That rocket bath is something special. There is a piece of pristine forest, encamped to protect it against the goats. That is where the “luxury tents” are. This morning I wish I could have my morning coffee on the stoep of our tent, just enjoying the bird sounds and looking out over the sea.
On the top of the dune, there is the rocket bath. The water is heated by a fire under the bath. Bum protection is a plank board that you sit on. When the water gets too warm, you add more cold water. If it gets too cold, you add more twigs. And so you sit in the drizzle, snug in the bath, overlooking the beach. That is how life should be.
Bulungula from where we walked kilometers in many directions. Where a diverse cultural experience was enriching. We shared the lounge with people from England, Germany, Australia, Texas. How on earth do they come from all over the world to a place on the Wild Coast that most South Africans don’t even know of?
Ilanga Fire Restaurant
What about pancakes and orange juice at Ilanga Fire Restaurant. Here I must share background. In Gonubie is the Pancake House. Exquisite pancakes we had there. Although we might have been lucky, on that day.
Bulungula is a tourist hub. There are other businesses that benefit from the tourists, as it should be. With the memory of Gonubie’s pancakes, we decided to support Ilanga Fire Restaurant. The pancakes were good, The orange juice turned out to be Oros. And somehow, the simplicity of the setting and the conversation with the local guide is what sticks in my memory.
When you stay at Bulungula, you become part of a community. It is a community project. It was a new experience to stay at a Backpackers establishment. But it was a good experience. Over lunch and dinner you spoke to people from other parts of the world and got to see your own world through new eyes. It was good to see how a community cares for an autistic boy with love and acceptance.
But this morning, it is the open beaches of the Wild Coast that calls my name. The endless kilometers one can hike without seeing another human being. Leaving footprints as if you are the only people on earth. This morning it is the peace and calm of the Wild Coast that I crave.
Life, Memories & Community
In a previous post (Day 158) I said that life is made up of a series seemingly insignificant events that add up to a life. The thing is, these seemingly insignificant events are not just events, they make us what we are. They leave imprints. The leave memories. And that is how we can relive and re-interpret the past. Albeit, sometimes, with nostalgia. I am a richer man for the Bulungula experience. I will have a better day for dusting the memories.
I conclude my musings with the somewhat sad, somber song from CATS, by Andrew Lloyd-Webber – Memories. You can listen to it here. It is a somewhat sad, somber song with a happy ending, because as the last echoes of Grizabella’s song dies away, she is accepted back into the “family,” so to speak. Indeed a new day was breaking and new memories were in the making. Seemingly insignificant events made significant by and through others. Memories!
Not a sound from the pavement
Has the moon lost her memory?
She is smiling alone
In the lamplight
The withered leaves collect at my feet
And the wind begins to moan
All alone in the moonlight
I can smile at the old days
I was beautiful then
The time I knew what happiness was
Let the memory live again
Every street lamp
Seems to beat a fatalistic warning
Someone mutters at the street lamp gutters
And soon it will be morning
I must wait for the sunrise
I must think of a new life
And I mustn’t give in
When the dawn comes
Tonight will be a memory too
And a new day will begin
Burnt out ends of smoky days
The stale cold smell of morning
A street lamp dies, another night is over
Another day is dawning
It’s so easy to leave me
All alone with my memory
Of my days in the sun
If you touch me
You’ll understand what happiness is
Look a new day has begun