Reunion


When we arrive at the airport, will you be waiting for us dressed in the colours of the union and waving flags purchased in London town. You know the ones you trophied during the good old days before they were sullied. We will emerge wrapped in sunglasses – not quite Police ones – wide-eyed at any rate in the African sun – ready with our talking irons and the mother of all catch ups sizzling on the charcoals. We can get worked up into a lather about White House nationalists and blond blusterers, knowing we will change nothing. We will feel a whole lot better though, putting the world to rights over a very cold glass of Backsberg chenin blanc – although I think you prefer a good red – and rump steaks on the braai. We can sit and idle away the time, re-living childhoods that only we remember. No matter what, we will head for Hoekwil and over a Victoria sponge (go big or we go home) and Cakey will be satisfied.

© Rick Frame


Sprouts


I was on the phone to a friend. She was on butterfly watch, she said. I asked her what she meant. She said that they were eating her brussels sprouts and she was shooing them away. What pests they are, she exclaimed. I was surprised and shocked. I asked her what other method she could use to protect her sprouts. Soap and water. That’s what they taste of, I thought. Anyway, going back to the butterflies … to me, they could not ever be pests. Not ever. But what was more shocking was that they fancied brussels sprouts. We don’t have a similar palette. Never liked them. Clearly, for next Christmas I will have to include such delicacies on the menu and invite them over. Butterflies and brussels sprouts. Who would have thought.

© Rick Frame


Message


If you look out of the window you will see a red car with a blue flashing light. I am here to help you. I will be okay if you don’t venture. I will understand. Sometimes it is just good knowing that there is someone there for you. It’s like the great joke where someone received a text with the message: ‘I am here for you.’ The number was not recognised and so the joke goes that the person was all overcome and said thank you. ‘It’s been a tough time and I am so grateful to you that someone cares,’ but as she did not know who the caller was she said. ‘Sorry, not sure who you are though.’ The reply came. ‘It’s your Uber driver. I am outside your front door.’ The red car outside is not a taxi you ordered but I hope you know that I am here for you in body and spirit if you need my help.

© Rick Frame


Momentary


I woke up this morning not quite myself. To attach a description is not possible because to explain something that is massively complicated, like being a human being, is to ignore something profound. What it is I am not sure but I can live with the mystery. It’s okay to wake up and not be quite yourself. It’s fine to be slightly dispersed. Not all the time. Just the occasional odd feeling. That’s the time to go to other places, beginning with gratitude. I love the days when there is not a breath of air, where everything is still, where I can hear my own breathing. The light of the living is breath. Like the time I learned what it is like to have no air. I remember falling out of a tree. I stood on a rotten branch and went plummeting. The landing was not soft and all the wind knocked out of me. And another time, tubing down the great rock at Mermaid’s Pool – on the Shamva Road – and a man on the zip wire, going overhead, slammed into me. I lost consciousness. Fortunately, only momentary, like not quite feeling myself this morning.


Mermaid’s Pool is 20 or so miles north east of Harare

© Rick Frame


Destinies


These July days seem rather too close to a warm Autumn, with longer days. I have become more English in making these suppositions, talking about the weather, bumping into people and immediately dragging July through the mud. All the bluster of the wind and the lack of blue, only grey, – I want more light – and foresee the coming of a discontent. I have witnessed brinkmanship and other bluster too often to believe it can’t happen again. I also find it hard to draw a line under it. To move on. The vacuous are sinister, ignoring the fact that we have been through so much. Some can see through their crooked, cynical smiles and those who can’t have yet to have their day when the scales will fall at their feet. What a red letter day that will be. Or maybe not. I wish I could find a way to simply accept it is not possible to control destiny. That it is all out of my hands. That only I can make my own weather.

© Rick Frame


Interiority


An inner quiet, living within. Such is the alignment with mystery. A miracle of a dream comes true, a choice, an intention in the making. Here communing in the silence and stillness, a deepening, a potential. I don’t believe that bliss is entirely possible but we can reach for a peace that passes all understanding, eventually. Like the guys in the boat in the storm were reassured. What goes on within is more important than that which is without. Life often spell-binds, baubles and the fairy lights have their place. Eye-catching often loses its gloss. Like the earth turns, settle into the interior, the journey is worth it, at one with the shades, the breath and the path. Awareness is the morning light.


Inspired by Chris Mann and others, July 2020

© Rick Frame


Brushes


Seaside. Broadside, wide-angled lens. There is a straight line against the skyline. A tankard gives it a shipping lane on the white of the sky. A perfect line until you get there. Slightly elevated, it would be a curve, the shape of the planet. Gorgeous pale blues and the dots of birds provide some movement. Like the life guards training in their high viz oranges. If I were in Paris, you would see me there in the tree-lined boulevard of artists – next to the Seine – with other water colours, a canvas and a brush of words, while the poodles and their walkers stroll gently by.

© Rick Frame


Crossings


I thought that I could find the answers, crossing the river, just a boat ride across, with the shore in sight. A couple of splashes and I would land on the far beach, welcomed – the guru dressed in white. It has taken time to come to the moment that the way to find the answers is to cross the life time of oceans on waves a mile high. Or windless days. Perhaps, sometimes, shipwrecked onto the shore where there is no understanding, no guru in sight. And less so, a cruise ship, docking in exotic Alexandria.

© Rick Frame


Photographed


Sun’s out. More than a stroll on the seafront, it’s more brisk these days. The days roll into one with no distinguishing marks. It’s the way I like it. Butterflies are out, red-frocked and white-trousered. I love the duets and their special performance, their frolics usually orchestrated in the afternoon sun.  There is something special about an English summer. It’s pure and simple and can be perfect. Like it knows it’s on show, waiting to be photographed. Not to be taken for granted, ever, unlike the never-ending blue skies of Africa that spoiled me.


Sunshine Coast, July 2020

© Rick Frame


Both And


It’s only happened once. I lay in bed with one leg on the floor. It was not a boat or anything that exotic. It was an hotel room in Florence. We had been drinking all night in the English Bar. Everything had been on the house. These past months feel a bit the same. Nothing to ground us. This time even the house is swaying. Venturing out, falling down holes constantly. I think the word that says it all is discombobulated. Nothing seems the same. It’s like the end of something. The demagogue craves for us to believe it will be over by Christmas. Not that I was there but were there not generals who once had said the same? I want to look for something to reassure and to arrive at a conclusion of both and, living together, comfortable with the ambiguity and the loss, knowing that either or no longer will work.

© Rick Frame