There was a time when the light at the end of the tunnel seemed so distant that I sometimes doubted my ability to reach it. But reach it I did, thanks to all of you. Today, I am reminding myself of this. No, not of the difficult journey but of the incredible love and support from my peeps. This weekend, I bumped into many of you at the Franschoek Lit fest. (Some of you, I actually met in the flesh.) The last time we were all there together, was before the pandemic, before Putin’s war and before my journey with cancer.
So my ‘new’ morning routine is still in place. I do put my hands together and say thank you, thank you, thank you. I am now settled in the countryside. Chilli bushes are ready to be harvested once again and the rains will come to bury new seeds deep into the earth. The Koi fish are used to my fingers disturbing the water and they come up to meet the flakes as I sprinkle them in.
Archie is still the top cat around here. I learned recently that he has a young girlfriend two blocks away from us and that he is a regular nighttime visitor. I’m not sure how responsible I should feel but he is not able to add to the kitten population at any rate. Right now he is on the roof, surveying his kingdom. A new cat has moved in nearby and Archie does need to spell out the rules of engagement.
In many ways, it feels as if this first year in the countryside has just drifted past. But then I remember what has been added to my life: Art classes and the amazing discovery that I can paint more than a stick figure, a beautiful garden which I need to take care of, a book club which is up and running, a new writing project and friendships, both old and new, which form the backbone of my life. My regular trips to Cape Town have proved very do-able, especially if I avoid Friday afternoons and early morning traffic.
The trip to Franschoek felt different this time. But the destination was as welcoming as ever and we all need these pockets of magic, especially now. I am already pencilling in 2023’s festival and securing a place to stay.
Thank you, thank you, thank you FLF 2022.