Stillness

Hello to the northern morning stars, sky-lining birds and the stillness of the heartbeat on a crisp light. I dream of an African warmth, easily conjured on another morning star – quite close really. The stillness is heartdropping, achingly beautiful.


© 2020 Rick Frame

The road takes you

Now that the hamster wheel has stopped spinning endlessly and often – really thoughtlessly, mindlessly because it just did; you can recover – no, it’s a reclaim – claim back your self from the aftermath of it all – pack for France, the road takes you south, the glamping sun spins the world into a different timelessness, spaciousness, burning away forever hamster wheels too highly spun.

Adapted. Originally written in June 2019.

Camp

Had everything been different we would today have been travelling through France. Wide-open spaces, endless fields of Van Gogh haystacks, landing in cobbled streets. It is not to be. I can only picture our arrival by the river, tubers out, stand up paddle boards everywhere. The hardest part, the pitching of the tent. The best part, the little fire cooking our heart’s content, accompanied by the dragon flies and the wildness of the butterflies, scribbling along the water’s edge. The gathering quietness of the camp settling in for the night, the endless French sun days ahead. Such contentment luxuriating.

Volumes

Funny how an old memory of how hateful you were ambushes you. It must come from somewhere. I started to remember how unkind I had been as a child. Pushed back the fingers of a girl much younger than me. Never said that out loud before. I will never forget biting my sister. She still has the scar, a badge of dishonour. It was under the Jacaranda tree in Bryanston. I remember how I walked on the other side of the road from my brother. No details come back except the silly, unaccountable fury. It was on road in Durban nearly fifty years ago. Volumes of unkindness, bound in books of memory, reminding me that kindness can be like beauty, skin deep, unless, and until, we actively and daily work on our humanity.

April

The lingering lightness of a memory of Aprils in Africa. It comes back to me in a half-dream of exquisite hope. I sit and scan the ocean. Thoughts from the south came in white horses. I yearn for the smell of Africa after the rain. I am intoxicated by the idea. The sun suddenly goes out and a cold wind catches the breath. The dreaming of a place lost whispers me into my older life. Strangely, I feel a mixture of peace and delight that I have had these experiences in a far-off land. The thought wraps itself around me in the rising mist of the English coast and I am reminded of the beauty of the world in the fading light.

Adapted from a piece, originally entitled ‘Fading Light’, 2014

Lollies and pools

On a recent visit to the old country – where there was an unexpected summer in the April sunshine – memories rode in on a bicycle of dirt roads, sky-high climbing trees and the bluebird sky above. Memories surprised me and I was drawn to particular images and juxtapositions: I remember the young men who pushed ice cream carts around the suburbs so we could quench our lolly thirst. They have all my admiration and thanks, these unknown soldiers sweating in the afternoon heat while we dashed back to our pool to cool off.  I remember the hot tar beneath the feet as I danced to try to re-distribute the heat. The ice cream sellers had no escape until a long trudge back to the depot and a hot bus ride back to the location to their families who could only dream of such luxuries.

Bulawayo, early 1970s

Originally written in 2014, having just been in Joburg, this experience came to me as reminder of privilege and how we all took it for granted, sparing no thought for those whose lives were so often invisible.

Grace

I am sitting here, having just landed in this place – on the other side. Unstitching very slowly. I have been drawn in, cartwheeled, expectant to this moment. Contemplating the last decades. Not that they were bad at all. Often they were brilliant. Just waiting to see how the debrief of being institutionalised pans out. Should there be another de– there somewhere? The coming days are the place. Perhaps I may never look back. I know you have not. I know that I will do plenty of dreaming. I find that does just the trick, the unstitching, the clearing of the clutter. The promise lies ahead and all that went before, finding a landing place, a discovery. Soon the feeling of the last fourteen weeks, discombobulated, strangely weird, now relieved and let go of. The grace of just being here with you.

Becoming

I am not seeing this as an ending. Eye witnesses may well have a field day. Of course, they say, there is an ending. I can hear the chorus. Can’t you see? There is one, I suppose, – an ending of sorts. Yet they don’t see what I can see. We arrive here, at this place, helped by those who are wiser. ‘We are made from what came before’, she said, turning endings on their head. Then she said something that you wished you had thought of. ‘We make ourselves out of the promises that lie ahead.’ And, as the wiser of us added, ‘and we are all in the process of becoming’. More than even a new beginning or turning away from an old ending, we are carried in on a wave, lifted up and landing here right now, in this place.

Inspired by Jacqueline Novogratz whose words I quote.

Free

In this afternoon heat, a butterfly lost her way . Out of the blue, she came through the window. I wasn’t expecting to have this wildness up close. I watched in awe and wondered if, somehow, I could help. I imagined leaping up, some kind of knight but she messaged me to say she was okay. She did the butterfly dance, right up into the corners of the ceiling. My heart went out to her. She must have been scared, bewildered, trapped. I think she kept her cool, waiting for the lure of the outside wild to draw her back. I think it was the light calling her name, her butterfly colours, that gave her the escape. She soothed me more than I her and went on her way; like me, she secretly breathed a sigh of relief.

Life-times

It was January 1979. I had set out a new career. To teach. A war was raging all around us. A fight for freedom is how I see it now. Then, I had already started to question it all but, of course, the overwhelming memory was the desire to to make sure that I could escape alive. I was one of the lucky ones. No guns were fired in anger. To look back, to cram forty one and a half years into this is not possible. The cliche works. Much has passed under the bridge. The ending is going to be as memorable as the beginning. Like I can almost touch and smell the season when this all began. It was a summer. It will end with another summer. Without sounding too dramatic – one of the weirdest we have all known and will be pivotal for our species, very unlike the one where, from this distance, and a continent away, a ‘forgotten’ war was fought in another country half a life-time ago.