Monday 28 March 2011: 4 years 6 months on …

In one of the very first blogs that I wrote “I was so glad that I had Come”, I wrote the following about a trip to Graaff-Reinet in January 2010:

“Maybe it was the muggy 35C in Port Elizabeth or the howling berg wind that had suddenly come up that made up my mind for me. So off I went to watch Sean captain Grey’s second team, the Unicorns, against the 1st teams of a number of other schools from the Western and Eastern Cape, in the Gem of the Karoo school cricket tournament.

I enjoy travelling and used to drive hours by myself at the drop of a hat, but I haven’t driven that distance by myself since I became ill. Maybe I was taking a chance, and so I was a bit nervous as I headed north on the R75 – 250 km to Graaff-Reinet. At 5pm I stopped in Jansenville for a cooldrink – it was 35C when I stepped out of the comfort of the 20 degree air-conditioned car.

The next stop was 100km south of Graaff-Reinet at the top of the Soutpansnek Pass. This time, it was not to quench my thirst, but to soak up the beauty of the Karoo sprawled out as far as the eye could see. The brown veld stretched out below me and was framed by the blue Camdeboo Mountains in the distance. Here I was, three years into my illness, travelling by myself, and against the odds, looking down at the wonder of Creation.

There is something so uniquely beautiful about the vista and the silence that is the Karoo. I could not remember when last I had been there by myself, and there I was, being treated to God’s canvass yet one more time! “Did all of this evolve by chance or was it designed by a Supreme God?” I thought, as I caught myself wiping a small tear from the corner of my eye.”

And so it is with sadness that I have read that three oil companies want to explore for gas in this magnificent and unique part of the world. To crown it all, they want to use a process called fracking whereby they pump water containing various chemicals into the bowels of the earth. This then releases the gas that there may or may not be! As much as they have promised that they will not harm the environment, we have become only too familiar with Corporate promises, Man’s Greed and Experimentation, and Mother Nature’s reaction.

Just in the last few weeks, we have again been reminded about the force of Mother Nature in Japan. We are still seeing the events unfold at the Fukushima Nuclear Plant there. And we have seen Chernobyl and Three Miles Island.

Yet, here on our very doorstep, the government plans to build a reactor at Thyspunt, just west of St Francis Bay.

And right on that very pristine coastline, we already see the damage that man’s intrusion has done – there is the beach erosion at St Francis Bay as a result of more and more development on the once white sand dunes of Santareme. There is the now sand-filled harbour which was meant to be the gateway from Marina Martinique into the sea at Jeffrey’s Bay. The only proposed working lock system in South Africa has become a white elephant!

Examples around our world are countless – and that’s why I say we need to stop this lunacy! Don’t allow these companies to frack in the only One Karoo that we have! They will frack it up for us and our children!

We have only One Planet Earth. There is an Indian proverb that says: “Treat the earth well. It was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children.”

It’s like we only have One Body. When it’s healthy and working, we don’t appreciate it. We abuse it in various ways, fill it with various substances and expect it to last for ever. And when it malfunctions, like mine and so many others, we wonder why. In recent months, I have only seen too clearly what happens to my body when it is subjected to varying kinds of medication, pills and “cures”. The more we put into it, the more it reacts with all kinds of side-effects. Talk about fracking up the Karoo –  how successfully we manage to frack up our bodies, too!

In the last few years, I have met and corresponded with so many people who have met, faced and surmounted life’s challenges. I have read so many books – just recently Belinda, Brutal Honesty and Bridge on the River Kwai – The Miracle. (I even eventually got to see the movie Bridge on the River Kwai thanks to the Video Tavern in Kabega!)

I have documented much of what I have read, and have taken heart from those challenges of the past as I face my uncertain future living with CBD.

I have written a lot about the One Life that we have, and how we need to cherish every moment that comes our way. Even there, most of us seem to frack it up! And, it is only when we are confronted by tragedy, illness and the challenges that Life throws at us, that we seem to sit up and take notice. For the rest, we appear to be quite content to sit by and watch as Life takes us where it wills – almost like a cork bobbing about in the storms of the Ocean.

Our challenge in this One Life is to put up our sails, decide on our destination, map out our course and make the storms take us where we will to go.

Rabindranath Tagore said “You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.”

Marshall McLuhan said “There are no passengers on spaceship earth. We are all crew.”

Barack Obama says  “Yes we CAN!”

We have only this 1TIME, so finitely short in comparison to the aeons of time.

We have only ONE LIFE, ONE KAROO, ONE EARTH. Let’s not frack any of it up!

And let’s not just stand on the sideline – let’s get actively involved!

6 comments on “1Time!

  1. Ed
    Very moving but absolutely spot on. I think that we need to start a petition to present to Government on the Karoo issue. We have preserved the Karoo since it was discovered why mess it up now. If you remember ,your Great Grandfather Stanbridge was from Beautfort West, he was the mayor there and there is also a street named after him (Stanbridge Street) so I think we owe it to our heritage to fight this war.

  2. Eddy, wil sommer net vanoggend vir jou dankie sê vir al die kosbare stukke wat jy skryf. voel my jy sit hier in die klein sitkamertjie en ons kuier en geniet mekaar. Mag jy daagliks God se magtige teenwoordigheid om jou voel en mag jou gesig ook blink soos Moses s’n toe hy God daar op die berg ontmoet het sodat jy net al meer van Hom kan getuig net deur jou menswees!!! Ons waardeer jou!!!

    • Dankie Anet – ek waardeer dit dat julle dit lees. En dankie vir die goeie wense.

      Groete vir jou gesin en almal daar in die Weskaap – ek mis dit nog steeds!


  3. Ed,

    Congradulations, it is amazing your blog just reached the 20,001mark . You never stop amazing me with your stories which are filled with true courage of the human spirit.

  4. Please Shell do not come here and frack up our world that we call the Karoo. It is our home, our lives and our heritage that has been handed down generations that we have nurtured and cared for through thick and thin. Find it in your hearts to look a bit further than the next “buck” and realise we have to feed the country in this beautiful place we call the Karoo. What happens if you frack this place up and mess it all up what then how will money ever fix it up. No money can buy what God gives you free sorry. Leave our Karoo alone and go frack somewhere else.

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