Home stretch

Art at Tokara.

October is done and dusted, and if you feel like the year has careened by, you’re in good company.

On Sunday I spent a few very peaceful hours (anything to avoid attending to dreaded tax returns); stuffing warm jackets, wool sweaters, hot blankets, gumboots, gloves and knitted hats into the top of a cupboard – one of those curiously pleasing seasonal house-keeping activities that signals the unmistakable arrival of summer (which arrived in traditional form of a series of blistering hot days, wind, and leaves and dust blowing out of my car’s long-unused air-conditioner.

I love the bio-rhythms of life: my bedroom not only faces the dome of the Helderberg Mountain, but also the first rays of sunrise. Given hessian curtains, I’m awake at first light, beckoned with the allure of birdsong, scent of sweet jasmine, and the prospect of a brisk walk up the mountainside before the cool recedes under heat’s onslaught.

Another joy of this time of year, is the tangible sense of longer days, with fruitful hours on either side of the condensed cold months.

I’m trying to recalibrate myself, to avail myself of the abundance of lovely outings at our disposal, those of us fortunate enough to call the Boland or Helderberg home.

So often work intrudes into our days off, as we are captive to our phones and emails and WhatsApps and all the other techniques of our era, demanding attention 24/7.

Okay, those who know me, have had to reconcile themselves with the fact that I remain stubbornly determined not to subscribe to more of these devices than I absolutely have to – and when I do have down time, I prefer to move about in the flesh, and see what (and whom) I encounter, where conversations might lead, where my feet take me, and let the energies flow.

There’s music to be heard, art to be viewed, plays to be watched, stories to be told, landscapes to be explored (and photographed), work to be done, chores to be caught up on, errands to be run, paperwork to be completed, naps to be taken, lists to be made (and tackled), great broadcasts to be listened to, and life to be lived.

And with all, just like the ebb and flow of the seasons and the tides, and the moon and sunrise, some of our hours are perhaps more enjoyable than others; the challenges inherent vary, the success rate can fluctuate, and some days require serious tugging on bootstrings, whereas others can fly by on the wings of angels.

Some of my recent excursions, which I highly recommend:

Tea up at The Oak Café at the Helderberg Nature Reserve (I put in an auction bid on behalf of Bolander at the “Bringing back Bruce” fundraiser at Triggerfish, for a breakfast for two, and took my beloved friend and yoga teacher Tanya, and her daughter Zoey, for her 8th birthday) – buy a family pass for the reserve, and spend as much time as you can in nature;

I attended the opening of the latest art exhibition at Tokara, on the Helshoogte Pass, which is one of just many current exhibitions in the Winelands, all of which look splendid (keep an eye on our Events and Entertainment pages);

Art classes at Triggerfish, on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, where you can try your had at drawing or pottery (very informal), and a good way to meet new friends, have a great craft beer, and the best plate of “slap” chips you’ve tasted;

Horse events at the Stellenbosch District Riding Club, where young folk and adults, and their steeds, are up to all kinds of riding, from dressage to jumping, which is great fun to watch and cheer on;

Beach clean-ups at Strand; come armed with a couple of strong bags, and do your bit for cleaning up the environment, and the surfers and kite enthusiasts always add a fun element, as do the impromptu conversations with fellow walkers;

School concerts (there are many to support this time of year);

Attend fundraisers for animal welfare, autism, service organisations, local NPOs (get to know residents and neighbours, and support work and initiatives that change lives;

Cool hours in the library, catching up on some reading (check out the bulletin boards for what’s on, and the book sale shelf);

Meditation and yoga classes, a sure-fire way to restore a sense of peace and balance in a fractured, divided world;

Walking, and taking in the beauty of gardens everywhere, with spring blossoms in full bloom (I discovered a mulberry tree on my daily route, and have been gorging on the fruit, coming home with tell-tale stained lips and fingertips.

As William Blake said, centuries ago: “Kiss joy as it flies.” And my guess is, you’ll be kissed in return.

Carolyn Frost: Editor