The water nymph’s curls whipped my cheek.
But her hair was soft, so it was more like a tickle.
Just as she tickled my heart.
We were sitting at the lagoon’s edge. She was wrapped in a towel.
We were about to rush off. But we caught ourselves: Don’t go. Stay. Breathe it in. Peace is right here. Promise
It’s an astonishing thing, finding peace. Amidst the roar of the waves, the splash of the whiskey river, the arctic terns and the gulls.
Earlier, those curls had tickled my ears, as we swam across a mountain pool.
Stained with delicious fynbos tannins.
Standing beneath a waterfall, we looked up into the shower of sparkling drops and drank our fill – the freshest water on God’s green earth, pouring down a cliff above.
Swimming back across the pool, she whispered in my ear, ever-so-softly: “Dad we’re a great team ”
Next, was the journey back down the kloof, through the “Magic Forest”, to a waiting plate of the crispest slap chips a Dad and Daughter could ask for.
In the quiet of the afternoon, she watched me reading Bruce Springsteen’s Born to run. A man who fiercely guarded his own purpose, defiantly sang his own song.
The girl fell asleep in my arms, as The Boss murmured in song, “She’s got a secret garden ”
A shrill call filled the night air, then the response. A pair of African black oyster-catchers, winging their way home. Pairs for life, too.
I carried her back to our bedroom suite for the night, the back of our Land Rover.
We were on uneven ground, but I’d reversed the left back wheel up on to a big fat rock, so we were as level as the crashing sea’s horizon in the darkness stretching out into the night.
Yet another day had washed us with fresh love for the world around us.
A paradise beyond imagination.
A full 28 minutes from our front door
This column will have a new name for 2017.
This chapter of the “Ride of Our Lives” will be “Travels with Charley” (also known as Boo).
(For a girl who loves life this much needs a whole lot of nicknames )