You awake, to the sound of thunder!
Like the song, by the band Imagine Dragons. Did you watch the UEFA Champions League final last month?
Band leader Dan Reynolds belted out the hit Thunder – an ode to when he was a child and a dreamer.
It’s that same “Lightning and the thunder!” that we woke to, on Father’s Day.
But the thunder wasn’t from the Norse God of Thunder, Thor.
But his fellow ancient deity Neptune, instead – beating his surf on to the rocky coastal kettle drums.
And the lightning wasn’t electric – but golden: The morning rays of blessed sunshine, streaming in across Walker Bay.
Waking up to the sound of the sea is a simple, sonic experience.
But when you’re lying in bed in the Windsor Hotel – one feels that ocean thunder in one’s bones.
For the Windsor is literally perched on Hermanus’s famous cliff-tops.
The whole of this Overstrand Municipality town offers easy access to the coast. But there is something astonishing about walking out a hotel’s front door, and directly on to the centre stage.
Have you been to Venice, in Italy? Have you walked through the Central Station, and out to your first-ever view of the Grand Canal?
It’s as if you’ve stumbled on to the stage of a Shakespearean play. Into a live theatre of energy and abundance. Living on the cliffs for a few days is just like that. Netso.
For the weekend past, the cliff-top became our home.
On Father’s Day, we walked 7km all the way to Grotto Beach, for Father’s Day lunch at the famous Duchies restaurant. Fresh hake.
Then we ambled 7km back – our laat-lammetjie mainly on my shoulders.
A seven-hour meander, there-and-back – the way bright, magnificent winter days should be spent. One of the finest days of my young life.
Back in the central village, we greeted the chorus of statues on the cliffs, again.
The plaque for the statue on page 1 reads: “The world’s decay, where the wind’s hands, have passed; And my head, out with love, at rest In my hands, and my hands, and my hands full dust.” – Ted Hughes.
And then there’s The Whale’s Song – by Karen Press:
rain thief river thief
the parched moth the brokenhearted grass
lake thief well thief
the antelope the bee the shrivelled starling
perched atop your throne, your pyramid vitae
handful of organelles – bewitched
the vastness of your shadow
clinging, teetering as you, fill
yourself, endlessly thirsty,
salt tears you are
what you’ve taken
pour the rivers, the lakes, the rain
back, pour them back, all that
the sea has given you
The poem is mounted on a transparent plaque above the Old Harbour.
I don’t know a whole lot about poetry – and much of it confuses me.
But I have learned, too, that us humans navigate the world primarily by feeling – not only our intellects.
And that poem just feels good. I adore this coastline – and would want to protect it always, in my small way.
Pour back, what it’s given me.
I watch two kayaks from Walker Bay Adventures, setting out into the big blue. Next time I must get out there again.
The cliffs of Hermanus are a world-famous tourist destination.
But, vastly more importantly, this is a sacred place – too.
I’m sitting here, on my hotel room stoep, watching that roaring ocean blue again, right now.
Feeling every crashing wave. Like thunder.
Murray Williams, who lives in Somerset West, was a paying customer of Windsor Hotel.