So tomorrow is the last day of the holidays. My little clan and I took the gap and escaped the cold Cape for a few days and headed to the golden shores of Durbs by the sea. In the past few days, my kids have patted, petted and pawed more animals than you will find in a first year biology student’s set-work book.
My youngest, Dakota has looked me in the eyes and made me promise that we are going to adopt a Missipi Aligator, instead of the planned puppy (According to the local crocodile Dundee, you don’t need a license for these critters) My tweenager (12 not 13 yet) has started scanning the KZN landscape for teenage Indian lads who happen to have more facial hair at 16, than I can muster at my ripe ol age of…(fill in the blanc). Phoenix, my boy is a little less demanding and has assumed his role as Durban’s prime force of “if it ain’t bolted down, pluck it out and see if it’s breakable” — which it usually is.
All in all, Alligators, Indians and breakables withstanding, I give this time a Siskel and Ebert 2 thumbs up vote… Durban rocks!
From Crocodile Dundee to the Uber driver who was charged with finding him in the rural hinterlands of Natal, we experienced these folk as wonderfully hospitable and the climate is a far cry from Cape Town’s teeth chattering winter.
I have to admit that the initial prospect of taking 9 days off, freaked me out just a wee bit. After all, there were clients to keep happy. I had my lists of things to complete. I needed to tick the boxes and make sure that I was on track, if not for the year, at least for the month…. How can you progress if you’re going away?
Well, my answer would be similar to Michaelanglo’s who believed that you have to separate yourself from your work from time to time to gain perspective.
The holidays have afforded a bit of reflective time, and here’s the little nugget I would like to share… You see, if I measure my progress or lack thereof on my imaginary map of life, then this holiday would be a spot on the map, where the journey did not progress in a straight line. Closer examination of this imaginary map, would actually reveal doodle-like squiggles on the map for this period. `no progress, no forward momentum… — Look even closer and you can make out patterns which resemble the footprints caused by a dance… there is more side to side and backwards, than a march forward. — And you know what, — That is OK too! I came to Durban with more irritations than expectations and it has turned out to be a most wonderful time.
So, in the morning, usually at around 6am, came the giggling noise of the cousins, trying to extract my kids to a game of “let’s see how noisy we can be before we wake the adults up”
da-dum… (the first stanza of the waltz) — Then there was the way grannies eyes lit up when she received the first morning hug from the resident Tweenager da-dum (2nd stanza of the waltz) — Then, as I could no longer pretend to be asleep, there was the adorable face of my youngest, whose eyes had been open for some time, yawning a little sour milk yawn in my crumpled face…”Daddy, I was dreaming of Billy, the alligator that we are going to adopt.” Do you think we can re-name him “cupcake” …da-dum
— and so, one wonderful stanza after another seemed to unfurl as our days began to flow into one another. Tomorrow, this Durban dance will be done, and I will be back to the drawing board of to do lists, measuring monies and quantifying progress.
We had no wifi, but I had a playlist. There was the sound of children laughing and there was the sound of children crying (Phoenix, give your sister’s hair-clip back) — There was the sound of my sister in-law buying even more food for the kids and then there was the sound of my brother explaining why there was so much food in the house. Heck, I even had a whiskey induced disagreement with my brother one night. (ended in a consolatory hug the next day) — but you now what, these were the sounds which governed the dance. If I look back at the past few days, this dance was a joyful one, because for once, it was not governed by a straight line or measured in progress made. Its beat came from the joy which my kids and family delivered.
I am grateful for this time that I spent with my little family. The lack of wifi connection may even have cost me a client, but the music of the holidays will linger and will be something that nobody can take away. I have decided to expect less, to look ahead less, and rather be tuned in to the heartbeat of the now. There is rhythm all around you, if you only pause to listen. The next time you are deep in thought, obsessing about this, that or the other quantifiable station you wish to assume in life, put down that TV remote, take off your glasses and take that little child standing in front of you, inviting you for a game of “whatever whatever”. Instead of moving onward and upward, try the left and right for a change, for you will find that these are the spaces that life is offering up to you, if only you would look and listen. This is where the music and the magic happens.
While you are “getting down” in the present, you may just find that life throws in its own amplifier. The sound and the volume will turn up, because rumor has it that there is a great hall up there somewhere, and those guys are dancing their collective asses off.
As for me and Monday, I am going to plan how I am going to adopt a Raptor and re-name it cupcake. There will be no more moving in a straight line, when there’s an alligator lying between you and the bathroom. LOL