Friday, April 15, 2016

Today .....

There are so many words wanting to be spoken but I am waiting for the waves of anger and pain to recede, for the page to feel safe again. Spring is here and slowly, the winter is letting go her hold. In my own life, the past few months have been some of the most devastating and turbulent I have experienced but I'm still standing. I'm still in the forest but I see the light shining through the trees ....  one day, maybe soon, I'll be laughing again.


Monday, February 22, 2016

Today .....

This i know ....

You can wake up in pieces
and still find yourself whole.
Pour tea and wander through
your day, 
Even though your heart is 

Your world can fall to pieces
where nothing makes sense,
But you can add groceries to the cart
and drive the kids to tennis.

I sit outside cradling my tea
in both hands.
The first break in the winter cold ...
It is a gift. This day.

The woods whisper in the morning light:
You will overcome this.
Stand tall little one.
Stretch your branches to the sky.
Push your roots deep deep into the earth
to keep your balance.

The sun warms my back and
kisses my bare toes.
You will find warmth again.
You'll feel alive. One day.

The breeze gentle on my hair, 
Like an old friend, soft soft.
My grandmother's hand when I 
was still a little girl.
Take heart, it tells me.
Spring is coming.

This too shall pass.

The neighbor's dog, tired of chasing balls
sinks heavy weight onto my foot.
Don't run, don't race, he pants.
Don't leave, even though the urge is
Just sit, and feel the weight of it all
in your hands.

Hold it. 
Feel the sun and the breeze
and sip your tea.
Rest a-while and
gather your strength
for the new season.


Thursday, January 28, 2016

A poem ....

Music in the snow

The lilt of her voice as i drive,
soft strum of a guitar, 
A drum.
The hanging notes.

If not for music stories wine songs,
what is there ?
Sometimes just the need for company,
a lonely silent walk through the snow.

The air so heavy I could hardly breathe,
these past weeks.
Weights like stones upon my shoulders.
And then ....
Driving into the evening 
and the music.
It courses, a river of sound
around me.
I weave down the road to the ebb 
and flow of her voice.

Alive again.
In another life I would be on horse back,
tearing across the fields,
hooves pounding on white earth,
my breath a plume of smoke.

Down the hill to where you might
or might not
be waiting,
And I, out of breath, 
would laugh and fling myself into the snow.

Walking on air.
on the music.


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Happy New Year and around here lately ....

I have a friend from long ago. I see her Facebook updates from far across the sea and every time, her beautiful positive energy shines through. She has a love  for life, a joyfulness in life, that I don't often see and it's contagious - all that beautiful shiny energy. She radiates passion in her approach to her work, the way she parents, the way she spends her free time. I have another friend, also from long ago. She practices her art and has found a beautiful balance between work (which is also her love and her passion), family and home. She writes beautifully. She rides horses. She drinks wine and sometimes battles to sleep because of all the things in her head.

I have been thinking a lot about New Years Resolutions .... some people make a list : eat healthily, exercise more, stop carbs. Some lists are more serious of course.

Some people choose a word: Mindful. Creative. Brave. 
A word helps them to stay focused when life is busy and projects are swirling and they feel pulled in different directions. It helps them to remember what they want for the coming year. It helps them stay clear minded.

I don't make lists. i don't choose words. But I do find myself reflecting on the year that passed, and the one that lies ahead. 

The past year was a difficult one in many ways. It had beautiful highlights ... my trip back to South Africa in May and getting to catch up with friends and family I miss so very much .... my mother's visit in August ... weekends away .... but there was a lot of heartache and soul searching too. There were people who I came to realize did not really know me the way I thought, no longer valued spending time with me ... no longer wanted to make the effort. People who had moved on. It happens. They were painful, these realizations .... but I know the value of moving on and letting go .... sometimes there is no other way, sad as it is.

There was a  lot of soul searching. The feeling of being lost and out of place which I have had ever since our move, and my little one's starting Kindergarten, has not really changed. I still feel as if I am waiting for life to start again, only I have no idea of which direction or path to take. The things I used to take for granted have slowly disappeared ... my love of painting ... my need to express myself. It's been a long walk, this past year .... and I find myself looking around, wondering where those parts of myself have gone.

And so as I think about the year ahead, I think of those two friends from long ago. I think about how beautiful it is to be fully engaged in one's life. To really live. Fully. With heart and open eyes. To go on adventures, even if they are little ones just down to the end of the road and back. To find joyfulness again. To live with passion, fully. To really truly be alive, not half-living only.

And so I hope to see new places. To go on adventures. To take the kids camping. To drink more wine. To try new foods. To read more books. To watch more movies. To make new friends. Try a new hobby. I hope to travel more ... but if that doesn't work out as planned, to learn to live fully right here - where I am ... to be grateful for the life I am in ... and to find my own passion again.

Here's hoping for you that it's a beautiful year. Here's to dreaming and living. To sandy toes and late nights dancing. Here's to all of it.


Saturday, December 26, 2015

No place like home ... South Africa in May

At the end of each year I spend a few days going through all the photos from the past year. I create Memory books for the kids online ... and then I put together an album for myself ... family memories, photos I want to keep, memories of places we visited or just every day moments that stand out ... it's a good way for me to remember the year, and to reflect on the highlights ... think about what I want to do differently in the year to come. Sifting through the months today, I realized that I never got to share photos from my trip back to South Africa in May. I've felt really homesick this Christmas ... it's how it is at this time of year, and I know that ... sometimes it's just a case of keeping head down and getting through ... but these photos brought home back to me today and I thought it was as good a time as any to share them. It is the country I love best in the world. Hands down. No competition. No matter how hard I try, my heart is still there - fluttering between the light and shadows, refusing to leave, and I always feel a little empty, living so far away from the heat and chaos and beauty that is South Africa.

In May I flew back there on my own for a week. I needed time with my family and friends, especially my grandmother, and time to myself, away from the day to day. It was a very special trip for me ... I got to reconnect with  the people I love and miss, to remember my history, to explore new places and to revisit old ones that are part of my story. What struck me the most on this trip was the creativity and originality all around me ... the coffee shops in Cape Town with their beautiful menus and funky decor ... the little stores we wondered in and out of ... the way creativity and inspiration are all around. And of course, the landscape, which never fails to take my breath away when I am back.

So without further ado, this ... is my South Africa. 

Beautiful craft store in Kloof, KZN

Below: Sculpture in the Gardens at Makaranga Lodge, Kloof

A night in Ballito

On to Cape Town: Blouberg Beach below, with a view of Table Mountain

Below : At the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town

Below : Farm School

Below: Driving to Greyton, we stopped in at my favorite farm stall


Farewell breakfast, Cape Town 


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas ....

Wishing you and yours a truly beautiful Christmas. We are staying home this year and Christmas will be a quiet one for us but there will be cookies and big mugs of tea, the anticipation of preparing for Santa, presents under the tree and wearing of silly red hats for sure. 

As our thoughts wing their way across the seas to our family and friends far away, and to those who are lonely and scared and uncertain of their future, to those crossing countries to bring their families to safety, to those who are battling illness ... we will hold our children tight and send up our prayers as we sing Christmas carols and we shall be grateful for what we do have, much as we are missing the ones we don't.

Merry Merriest.

Love and Light.

Monday, December 7, 2015


It's the holiday season. A time of baking cookies and hanging wreaths and decorating the tree. It's one of my favorite times of the year. And yet this year, I can barely breathe with the weight of the sadness hanging over us all.

I try not to spend hours obsessing over the news. I catch up on Facebook, quickly, scanning. But I also don't want to hide out and stick my head under the covers. That has never been my way.

I read articles from Greenpeace. The Climate talks in Paris. Secret transports of nuclear waste. Slavery on fishing boats. Forests burning. Smog at an all time high. People told to stay inside. I read updates from the camp in Calais. I see photos posted of a teeny tiny girl who was killed during air strikes in Syria, her father's body around hers, trying in vain to protect her. I read about families displaced, stories of refugees. The woman who spent her whole life growing her family in one place, only to have them spread across the world. Scattered. And she having to leave home at the age of 72 to keep her sons safe. There are thousands of stories just like hers.

I cry for days and days and days. At odd moments, all alone. With people around me, the tears threaten. During a kid's movie. Writing emails. Making tea. Running errands. Trying to fall asleep. I feel the violence and the terror and the anguish and I have no answers. We're making such a royal mess of it all. Over and over.

I tell my children to look for the positive. I tell them to remember that no matter what, there are beautiful people out there doing brave things to save the planet and save other people. People are building up while others are tearing down. I tell them to stay brave and to remember that light is stronger than darkness.

Sometimes it's hard to listen to one's own advice.

In the quiet of early morning I look to the woods and see the way the light falls. The quiet beauty, the perfect balance. I wonder if God watches the light rising on another day in each part of the world and wonders why He bothered. I wonder, as I sometimes do on the very bad days when the bickering never ends and we talk in circles and I have to raise my voice and still it does not help ... if He too despairs of his creations. If He had stopped with the deer and the rabbits and the elephants. Just left this beautiful planet to go on peacefully. The fish to swim, the turtles to drift. The lion to roam. Balance. Peace. Instead here we are - greedy and hungry and demolishing the very earth we need for our survival. He must want to wipe the slate clean. Most days.

Instead He sends us sunsets, bursting with color and light. He lets the woods grow wild and the light that falls, softly, takes my breath away. He knows the power of a soft hand holding mine at the end of a long day, the gentle quiet of a child's breathing in sleep. The way the early morning quiet holds the promise of a new day.

I walk in the woods. I look for poetry. I search for beautiful images to remind me why we are here. I play my favorite music and remember to paint. Times like these we have no choice but to go on. To pick up our pencils, our cameras, our paintbrushes. Take to our keyboards, continue the work. Light the candles no matter how stifling the darkness. No matter how many times they are blown out.