Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Bits of life

Fragments of things we've been enjoying, discovering, celebrating. The easy heartbeats of our days, the small things anchoring us to the here and now.

:: My birthday gift to myself.  The Life and Love of Trees. I've spent hours paging through it, looking at it, reading it, admiring it. Opening it feels like inhaling lungfuls of cool forest air.

:: Our first ballet exam. There was a fair amount of drama with the buns:  'This one's pretty, but this one's so pointy' . Completely missing the fact that she had the shortest, finest hair of the bunch and ANY sort of bun was a sheer miracle, never mind two. I wanted to high-five AND kiss the mom who did her hair. Instead I drank a cappuccino and imagined myself in a better place.

Luckily a pre-exam game of Rock-Paper-Scissors restored her equilibrium, and all was well with the world once more.

Post ballet-bun pigtails. We were all in love.

:: I started yoga. When it comes to physical activities, I'm a slow starter. And generally not a strong finisher. I've signed up for a once-weekly yoga class. It feels manageable.

Plus I love the wind chimes.

:: Sunday lunch at Windmill on Main. We're experiencing a heatwave. The earth feels scorched, waiting limply for rain. On weekends we gravitate towards green, cool places with lots of shade.

:: My mom and I went for lunch at Afroboer when she visited from Knysna. I can't remember what this drink is called, but it was fresh and minty and all sorts of cold deliciousness. There's a play area for kids, huge lawns, and about a million iceberg roses when you drive in.

:: Swimming. As long as she can, as often as she can, whenever and wherever she can.

:: Paired reading at the school library. I just loved seeing how many daddies were there, reading to their girls.

:: Dinner al fresco. She's in charge of flowers, choosing a candle, setting the table. She takes it very seriously. I'm in charge of sometimes lettings things go a little. Ignoring the clock, choosing to play an impromptu game of Go Fish while the supper gets cold and the hydrangeas wilt in their vase from lack of water.

:: Sunday evenings. This light that streams in at the front window, and the detritus of a weekend well-lived. Table runner pushed aside to make space for Tangrams, pens, dolls, books, wine. That final exhale before we start packing bags for school, tidying up, wrapping up the weekend with bathing, reading, bedtime.

:: A trip to Goblin's Cove. She loved it, and I was reminded again how small children are so open to wonder, and enchantment. The place itself could probably do with a coat of paint and a bit of maintenance. She didn't see any of that of course. Only goblins, and fairies, and tiny doorways and windows and tree trunk faces. She couldn't stop talking about it when we got home, and is already making plans for a repeat visit.

Life feels full at the moment, in a deliberate, meaningful way. Maybe it's because Immy seems to be able to stretch a bit longer before bedtime, so there's less rush at the end of each day.  Maybe it's the long hot days, or the satisfaction of slowly tying up the loose ends of the year.

Maybe it's simply that this is a good season for us.

Whatever it is, we're celebrating it.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Clarens adventure: Part 2

Every morning we ate breakfast, chatting to Karen and Malcolm over eggs, yoghurt, coffee, juice and tiny buttery croissants. 

When we weren't exploring every nook and cranny of the fairy garden at Kalm, we headed into town. In between eating and poking around tiny shops, we hiked, and walked, and found trees to climb.

Some of our favourite things, in random order.

:: Sunset walks. And a bit of a conundrum when she called me back with a 'Mama! My dress is full of flapjacks!'

:: Exploring the town. 

:: Hiking. We set off at 8am on Saturday, after breakfast. We had snacks, water, a map, and hats. It got hotter and hotter as the morning wore on, so we rested, took off our socks and shoes, looked up at the trees, spotted birds, explored the dry riverbed. We wrinkled our noses whenever we drank water (sparkling!), and ate cream crackers with Nutella.

Eventually we ended up at the same place we'd taken our walk the evening before, and my heart sank. It's about another 2km from there into town (and our parked car!), and I wasn't sure either of us had it in us to do the walk under the midday sun.

Instead, we waited at the gate under a shady tree, and not long after an old man offered us a lift, which we gratefully accepted. We squeezed into the tiny cab of his bakkie, introduced ourselves, and luxuriated in the feeling of resting our legs and feet after three hours of hiking. We admired the quaint stone houses down the dirt roads, chatted about home and family. Turns out he lives in the suburb neighbouring ours, and was celebrating his birthday that very day.

:: Exploring the streets and lanes around the guest house in dreamy, golden light.

:: Handmade chocolates, climbing trees, Shaun the Sheep, blue hair.

We headed home, a box of chocolates in our cooler and a box of memories for our archives. In a few weeks she'll be six, and I find myself torn between enjoying her so much, and wishing I could turn back the clock.

Thankful for dirty feet, plastered toes, and experiencing another new corner with her.