Footloose and fancy-free

We walked in silence, skin caressed by the cool winds, warmed by the bright sun, cirrocumulus clouds providing intense contrast against the backdrop of blue sky, with just lyrical rustle of the air moving through the luxuriant fynbos stretching as far as the eye could see, and our steady breath.

The backdrop, of the ruggedly majestic Jonkershoek Mountains, set the frame for our viewfinder, as we climbed the single track, the sheer granite cliffs on one side, and the murmur of the Eerste River to our lower left, often with a steep and rocky descent, should we step askew (which I was most careful not to do, with my still-healing knee, after tearing my ACL a few months ago).

My companion for the hike was a man I’d only met a couple of hours earlier, yet feel I’ve known my whole life – a kindred soul. When he said, “I’m heading to the second waterfall, care to join me?”, I leapt at the chance.

Geoff Dalglish, whose article we featured in Bolander a couple of weeks ago (“Walking for water”, October 3), is a man who embraces adventure, and therein found his life’s purpose…

To walk his talk, literally, as he serves as an ambassador for Mother Earth, bringing a message of custodianship of our planet, with the responsibility and respect that requires (and is so lamentably absent).

Before we embarked on our hike, we stood for a moment, setting our intention, calibrating our hearts and thoughts so that each step may be a reflection, and an encompassing, of the meaning inherent.

I found the busyness of my mind slowly abating, and my senses started taking in the awe-
inspiring beauty, the sounds and sights and delicate scents; the scurrying of occasional creatures, moving across the trail; the birds overhead, or darting about the bushes and undergrowth.

As we climbed steadily upwards, we passed the turn-off to the first waterfall, and Geoff motioned to me, to see if my knee was holding up. I indicated yes, with a smiling nod, and we continued, at points clambering over enormous boulders, or holding onto tree trunks as we traversed narrow sections of the pathway.

When we got to the second waterfall, we sat contemplatively in this sacred, magical space, and shared thoughts and observations.

The tranquility was incomparable, and just what my heart and spirit needed, after a year with some extraordinary challenges.

He regaled me with some of his incredible journeys, enounters with extraordinary people, with wild creatures, and landscapes remote and wild.

I have always delighted in the joys of being on foot, and indeed, most days start and finish with a walk, generally in the good company of my dog. Watching sunrises and sunsets, and communing with the other creatures of nature, restores me to my element.

Thank you for the blessing of your good company Geoff, and a copy of your book Lost and Found.

Carolyn Frost: Editor