Monday 17 January 2011: 4 years 4 months on …
Those of us who are privileged to live at the coast are only too familiar with tides.
Twice a day, every day, the tide flows and the tide ebbs. The water rushes in and crashes against the seashore, the level rises by many metres and it fills up every nook and cranny that it possibly can – and then, it all rushes out, disappears, leaves a few puddles here and there and large stretches of wet sand. Some six odd hours later, the whole cycle repeats itself.
Each of these events in the tidal cycle has a special beauty and uniqueness of its own.
Similarly, those of us who are privileged to live at the coast are only too familiar with the people tides.
Once a year, every year, at Christmas time, thousands of people from all over the country flow into our coastal towns and then leave. They rush in, crash against everything, raise the population levels by many thousands and fill up every nook and cranny that they possibly can – and then, they rush out, disappear, leave a few reminders here and there and large stretches of sand for those left behind to enjoy.
Each of these two events in the people cycle, too, has a special beauty and uniqueness of its own.
We, as a family, are extremely privileged to be at the coast all year round – we simply move the 100 odd kilometres from Port Elizabeth to St Francis Bay.
We see both the City and the Village experience their annual flow and ebb and we experience the beauty and uniqueness of each.
And so, for the last five weeks, we have had the privilege of holidays, sea and sun, family and friends, sleep and relaxation, Christmas and New Year, beach and sea and river, and as we say in South Africa – braaivleis, sonskyn, rugby (krieket?) en Chevrolet!
But, all good things come to that end, and so, this past weekend it became the time to pack up in the Village and return to the City. The summer holidays have ended and the time to work and study is about to begin.
For Pera and Phillip, it is back to school; for newly-matriculated Sean, it is a new beginning at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (to study marketing) and for me, the challenges of 2011 and CBD. Will this be the year?
Behind us, in St Francis Bay, we leave the blankness of those magnificent white houses, standing empty for the next eleven months, but still glistening in the bright sunlight. Every piece of dark thatch has a white capping – they are a practical example of the saying that every dark cloud has a silver lining!
Collectively, the houses with their black thatched roofs and white capping look like a box of giant Oreo biscuits.
Individually, they remind me that, paradoxically, even in emptiness there is fullness; in nothing there is beauty; in quiet and solitude there is the promise of a new beginning; and in Death there is Life.
|From The Holy Bible (King James Version)
Attributed to King Solomon
To everything there is a season, and
A time to be born, and
A time to kill, and
A time to weep, and
A time to cast away stones, and
A time to get, and
A time to rend, and
A time to love, and