May, the coming of Winter

May. It has always been my favourite month of the year. Something about it just makes you think of something, fresh and joyous. Or maybe it’s just me.

In some countries May is the month of Spring, but here in south Africa its the last month in Autumn before the long, tedious, cold winter.

I’ve had this idea in mind, I always thought I didn’t like the winter. It’s cold and all the trees look dead and you can’t really do anything except wait around for summer to come again.

The same as thinking of the cocoon of a butterfly. Its this ugly, odd little white ball, the only good it is is when it opens up and the beautiful butterfly can come out and flutter around in the sun light.

But then a few days ago I was just standing outside, day dreaming in the crisp autumn weather, I was looking out at this specific tree in the garden. It’s my favourite tree, it has symbolized countless wonderful things in my life which I won’t bother to write about now, but I am very fond of this specific tree.

Most of his leaves had fallen off, and those that remained were yellowed and some even completely browned and dead. In my mind I though that it was sad, but I felt joyous!

And it came to me, winter is not awful. And there is nothing dark and deathly about it. It is the time of growth. It’s easily shown in nature, and I realize it is very noticeable for me in my own life too. For most people I think, even if we don’t realize it while we’re in it -the winters of our life.

We all grow and change and turn in to butterflies during tough times in our lives, during the lonely months and years, when we go through heart ache or depressions or suffer the pain of loss. We evolve most in those times.

But I always seem to be going through a “miserable” time in winter, last winter was my first heartbreak(an example of one of my winters), but that was one of the times in my life that I grew the most -I matured.

So even though I can’t go the beach and hang around in my swim suit for, what, the next five months, I’ll focus on evolving. Growing, just like that butterfly in it’s cocoon. Growing within myself to become a more beautiful person!

As for that tree, those dead leaves fall down to the ground, becomes mulch and eventually feed the tree again to become stronger and even more beautiful.

As for all those past sorrows and difficult winters, they have faded, turn to memories, taught me a few harsh lessons and they will feed me through the rest of my life.

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The 77

On the 4th of May it was my grandmothers 77th birthday.

Some time over the weekend my mother came up with the brilliant idea to take the three hour drive up to Ladysmith and surprise her on the morning of her birthday.

Since we are such a close knit family we organized to pick up my aunt and cousin at the halfway stop(where they live).

The day before we took of I made my grandmother a big, double layer, lemon cake…it came out…okay. It wasn’t my best day, making that cake was probably the only productive thing I did that day.

We did have some worries however that my grandparents would make other plans for the day so we let him in on the “big secret”. to keep my grandmother home…and ward off other guests. We wanted her all to ourselves! No visitors allowed.

We got up at three in the morning to make it so that we could still arrive early in the morning. So we set off in the dark, left the farm with a trunk full of cake and flowers, me and Eli(my puppy) in the back seat. Luckily Eli is already sort of car trained. But puppy was silly enough to eat something just before we left and I also being silly enough didn’t think to stop him…so we had to pull over(big drama) somewhere before dawn, beside the high way, in the dark because Eli got car sick. Now I know.

I slept all the way to the halfway stop, peacefully, without anyone or anything barfing. We met up with my aunt and cousin at a garage just out of tow. We got our first morning coffee and hot chocolate before we were to set off again.

Now the back seat of the car had three adults and a teenage German Shepherd . He lay across our laps like a king the whole way. It was all drool, fuzzy puppy hair and spilled coffee. But I actually think no one minded, we’re all farmies and animal adorers.

We got through the pass just fine, talking about studies, future things and the cute things that our dogs and horses do.

At Barrydale we stopped, looking for a place that could just sell us some croissants, we went to three different shops (all supposedly classy places), but it was a lost cause. We eventually gave it up and settled for some butter nut and onion quiches (it was as dull as it sounds, at least they sort of looked interesting) and some cheesecake (way too sweet, deathening sweet in a way that you could not even taste the cake or slightly feel the texture, but I supposed it also looked pretty nice). We will not be going back to that place. And this all must have taken us more than an hour.We got back in the car, trunk even more filled with cake, and we drove our last stretch to Ladysmith. Now fully light and sunny.

We should have made bets before hand on what my grandmothers reaction to us just showing up at her house would have been…but I guess we didn’t because we all knew she would cry.

We drove in through the back gate, snuck through the kitchens back door. She did cry. It must be a family gene that got carried on to nearly all the women in the family…and there is allot of us! If one starts crying, we have the same effect as domino’s, we all start crying, one by one. We are criers. Lady babies.

We set up the table, filled with cakes, pastries and tarts (this all after breakfast) and we sat down and we ate, nibbled and snacked the whole day on sugary, oily, unhealthy treats…or had like twenty desserts meals. I’ve never been this sugar sickened in my entire life.

It was a good day. Perfectly sunny, no wind, surrounded by family and we get to spend a day with the best grandmother in the world. Even that is an understatement.

We left with sugar overdosed headaches and smiles on our faces. Eli did trample the garden a little but it was wonderful bonding time and good stimulation for his young mind.

We got home long after dark, full of puppy sweat, drool and hair but I don’t think I mind.

May 2: Working on wishes

I skipped the first of May, it would have been cliché to me to write on the first day of the month.

The past two weeks have been some of my most insane, crazy, busy times of my life. I got some sick new recipes and a taste of what the next three years of my life could be like. Insane busy and dangerous. filled with sleepless nights, tired sore feet and the horrible disgust for the dead things that we as people tend to eat. I loved every moment of it.

I’ve been looking at chef schools, I ended up with three different ones that I’ll have to choose from. Going to have to start applying soon.

However much it frightens me to now have to decide what it is that I want to do with my life…and setting out to do just that.What about all those other interesting things out there? What about my writing?

I’ve been trying to spend some time working on my novel this past few weeks, but I’m always too tired or don’t have time to really relax and give my mind the freedom to settle in to the story and get away from surroundings and reality.

What about my dog? What about gardening? Half my pot plants are already dead and the rest is dying.

Oh, and of course, then there is the constant fear of failure. What if I can’t do it. What if this is not the path that I am meant to take.

These thoughts have all been spinning around my head as I rushed on doing one of the things I love most, just barely getting by with enough sleep and exercising and feeding my dog.

I realize that it’s not about choosing one thing to do, its not a case of what do I love most. Its learning the balance and how to cope with all the choices and things that you love in your life. And learn to live with it.

I’ve been worrying about how my choices will affect my future and my dreams, such as my dog for example. But he was and is also a dream, not any less meaningful than going to chef school or being a writer.

We’ll have to figure out how to get our dreams to work together, bind and curve them in to one to create singular life.

It will take time, and many mistakes and hard lessons to eventually get it all right. But some day we will get there.

 

April 13

Its a Wednesday morning, I’m sitting at this little desk with my old typewriter in front of me, I’m drinking coffee (as always) and I’m writing (obviously).

I feel good. Happy. Satisfied. Content. Positive.

I never truly understood before, exactly what meditation did. I just did it from time to time, on again, off again.

Now looking back I can clearly see that at the times that I was dedicated and committed to my meditations, it always went well with me. I felt confident, I am balanced, healthy, happy, energetic. Self control is also very much improved, something that I value very highly.

I’ve been meditating every day for the past few weeks, twice a day when I can for short periods of time. Ten minutes first thing in the morning and ten minutes at night before I go to bed. It’s not long, I’ve just never gone on for longer because I’ve never been dedicated enough. Perhaps because I didn’t understand it or know why I was doing it. I knew what I wanted from it however.

This morning however, and last night I really felt like I wanted to keep going. My subconscious pushing me to go further, to keep going. I felt concentrated, breathing smoothly, I wasn’t feeling edgy or rushed. I was calm. I didn’t keep going however because I am on some sort of a time schedule. But I will be adding an extra couple of minutes to each session.

 

April 9

Its 4 am. I’m not usually a 4 am kind of person; here I am. Sitting on the couch with my coffee.

I’ll say it was a call to write the day rise in to existence. But I can do no such thing.

I stayed up late last night talking to my “neighbour” that showed up at my house around 8. Uninvited, in the dark, scared Eli half to death. She literally just invited herself and stayed talking to me until around 9:30 -messed up my entire night routine.

I must have gotten home around 7, finished work at 5:30.

I stayed at my parents house longer than I normally would have. I was destined to stay; my mother made her famous focaccia bread. Honestly, the best bread I’ve ever eaten in my life!

I don’t know what it was, maybe because the dough stood for more than twenty-four hours. It was the perfect amount of chewy, soft and crunchy.

The fresh herbs that she always uses must have been measured. My mother sometimes completely mess up with the rosemary, killing the entire bread with it but I didn’t even notice it this time. She puts large branches on sometimes that end up sticking in to your gums. No branches this time.

Its also very easy to completely smother it with garlic, but it went down un-noticed. I don’t believe that you should be able to taste out the ingredients of food. It should all be just one big mixture of taste and texture; an explosion. If you ate blindfolded you shouldn’t be able to know what you’re eating!

This focaccia was perfect.

It had been perfected over what must be about fifteen years of practice. I’m glad I have the secret recipe.

Despite the bread, I still should not be up at 4 am. I’ve been barked out of my dreams (literally) about four times during the night. He just figured out that he has a voice about three days ago and since then he’s taken up every opportunity to practise his new set of skills.

Another reason why I should still be sleeping is because I stayed up late, trying to write out what to do with the rest of my year and my time. Since all I have on my hands at the moment is time. This, while all my friends are off studying, working, doing the thing that inspire them and what they love, keeping them up at night, working… and here I am, up at night wondering what to do with all my time while they don’t have enough.

I am thankful for all this time, being able to decide and figure things out, I just have to decide in what direction I want to take all this. Where am I going?

I decided on a pilgrimage; going on a journey/tour/adventure and figuring out who I am.

So this is it. Still have a couple of life maps to obtain and figure out. For now I’ll just be up at 4 am and enjoy the sunrise.