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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Listening to the little people

Gill and I went to Paternoster on the Sunday (via Darling, Malmesbury, Riebeek Kasteel). We arrived there at around four, having pretty much lost track of time. We managed to get accommodation at a quaint little cottage at a steal (R400!!! for the night). We then went for starters at the little red beach restuarant mosied of to the hotel for crayfish.

The next morning, lots of photos later, we sat amongst the little fishing boats and dunes to do some drawing and painting. After about an hour, and really getting into it, a group of school children walked up to me, saying 'helooo aaanti Sharon' (obviously ushered to me by Gill. In retalliation, I confirmed that she WAS in fact my mother. Well they asked.) They soon made themselves comfortable with my phone, camera (not from a lucky packet) and my paints. But what a blessing. I loved sitting with them and listening to their chatter, answering their million quiestions. The little girl of 8, Tiana, was eventually sitting with her head on my shoulder telling me about her 'fat' mother who works in the hotel as a dish washer, her eldest sister of 25 years with three children who still lives with them, her middle sister of 19 with 2 children ('met een in die maag'), her third sister and two brothers. What I found interesting and really sad was when, upon looking at the photos of my aunt and cousin, Claude, on my phone, they asked me "Is daai man ook naar" (Is that man also horrible) giving me the distinct impression that the males of this lovely little village, predominantly fishermen, are not endearing themselves to their children and women-folk! On speaking to one or two fishermen, their lives revolve around the sea and bringing in a good catch. They leave home at 2 or 3 in the morning and return at about nine or ten, often with the labours of their day having been spent at the local bottle store.

Luciano, a small 9 year old boy who very obviously had a cold, also referred to the "naare mans" but adamently confirmed that he too would be a fisherman one day, whereas Tiana wants to work in the houses (the little houses used by us 'lani' holliday-makers) as she "kan baie geld maak" (could earn a lot of money). When I suggested that maybe she become a teacher or a 'verpleegster' (nurse), she didn't know what the latter was. ... And so the cycle continues.

Luciano ran down the beach and took zillions of photos with my honesty, the thought did cross my mind that I wouldn't see either ever again..but sometimes, its good to listen to ones nieve heart and go with a bit of blind faith and trust, because he did eventually return with huge grin on his little face.

After close to an hour and a half of sharing stories, my paints, water and journal (they each painted a little something in it) we drove them to the little store where they wanted us to drop them off and with a packet of biscuits between them and their suitcases, they walked away and didn't look back.

They'll never know how much they touched the heart of THIS 'lani'.

New friends and strangers

The week in CT was great, although I missed my family so very much as usual, especially my darling Rob. I have been away from them for two weeks over the last two months and although as an artist who loves her quiet space, I know that as a woman, my family complete me in every way. They are my next breath and heart beat!!!

I spent some time with a good friend and my very precious sister, aunt and cousin. Lots of laughs, fantastic food, long chats till three in the morning. I met some lovely new friends and some interesting locals and maxed out our car rental milage.

Chatting to a fisherman with knarled hands and a heart for the local seals, I discovered that this community of fishermen, all have an interesting story to tell, if we just took the time listen! I ended up sitting with my legs dangling over the edge of a harbour wall, chatting to them and eventually trying like them, to feed the seals with my mouth (and yes...I did put a piece of dodgy fish between my teeth too....fortunately, I still have lips :o) )

The story he told was of a 'lanie' (rich white guy) accross the harbour who has been stealing and breeding baby seals for the tourist be used as shark lure sharks to a cage dive. The method used; cutting the seal pup and draging it behind the boat to attract the sharks. This is abhorrent!!!!! Apparently this poor fisherman's protests have fallen on deaf ears. I need to find someone who will listen to my storey now too!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I have just spent some time with a very precious and dear aunt. She has been living here for the past five years and what a beautiful home she has. Every time I'm with her, I'm always reminded of how vulnerable we are to circumstances. We never know what path our life will take and how past, present and future decisions will impact on it. We all just do the best we can at the given time and even if we make mistakes which cause heartache, worry and sadness in our lives, and in those around us, I guess we just need to have faith that everything has been pre-ordained....even the bad choices. God in his infallible and incomprehensible mercy and wisdom, knows us intimately, our past, present and future...he ensured the "you" would be created out of the zillions of little sperm...for reasons of His own....mistakes, weaknesses, blemishes and all. He alone knows the reason why we are called to endure.

The day after arriving here in CT, I learned that a long-time friend, who had just lost her teenage love and husband one and a half years ago, has now lost her eldest son to suiside. He was only 24. I phoned her not knowing what to say...what does one say to someone who has just experienced such a gut-wrenching loss yet again??? I sobbed over the phone..that was all that would come out. My heart is shattered at her loss and the seemingly sencelessness of it all.

There are so many hurts and worries and challenges that people close to me are experiencing. I am humbled by them all and am called to remember the transience of life, the importance of family and friends and the need for deep, unconditional love...given and recieved.
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Saturday, October 16, 2010

I have run away from my first JHB exhibition to come to my soul home!

About a month ago, a gallery asked me to bring my paintings in for an exhibition. I didn't as
I found the entrance fee for the exhibition pricey. The day before I left to come to CT with
my work, they phoned me and told me that they weren't going to charge me and that they
would give me the best wall in the gallery....right at the entrance.
I guessed that I had nothing to loose, so ran around like a mad person, framing, and CV'ing

Well, dont know whats going on up there and in truth, it doesn't really matter. Whatever will be will be. If my work sells, great...if it doesn't, well...most artists only make money when they're dead anyway :o)
I LOVE this picture. When I walked in, the sun was shining through the window as only it can do in this part of the world.
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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Growing Pains

I have just driven home in tears from a friend's house, not fully understanding what the source of these tears are.
Yes, letittia is seriously and desperately ill with cancer, yes, she is a mother of two young girls, one of which has Downs Syndrome, yes she has a wonderfull husband that has tried to move the world to heal her, yes she has an extended family that absolutely adore her....and yes, for Pete's sake, I AM a trained nurse and this is nothing that I havent dealt with before!!!! What the hell is the matter with me that I am battling with this emotionally??

I have always known that I am very sensitive and feel things around me accutely. The day I met my husband, I knew that I would marry cut myself off from him and wouldnt have a second date with heart, soul and everything within me seemed to be in a state of panic...because I was feeling something so intense that I didn't want to or couldnt deal with it.

Letittia has lost another kg today. When I last asked, she weighed 43 kg's. She is so thin that her lack of muscle tissue does not allow for much movement and her gait is akward. Today, while reading her blood results, I went into that same state of panic. She had already read it and I could accutely sence her despair and despairation , as thickly as if it was tangible and I was seeing something which should ordinarily be just a feeling, become vividly alive and vociferous.
I am a master at hiding emotions and not reacting to life's harsher moments. Perhaps something good did come from my past childhood traumas, but then again, maybe not.

Those 4 kg that I have suddenly put on which, only this morning, was such a big deal, has become insignificant because a desperately ill young woman would celebrate them. The fact that I didnt get to cycle as usual this morning,...well, when someone battles to walk to the door of her bedroom, ...I celebrate the fact that I have healthy legs. When someone smiles and tries to have a conversation with you when the pain should have removed all smiles ....and 65 breaths per minute (the normal is around 16) should make it impossible, ...then the fact that I dont smile enough and speak more to the people who I love, it's like a bucket of ice water being thrown on me. When someone is so keen to get out to buy some baggy clothes which will cover her emaciated body, that they are happy about being pushed around in a wheelchair by an aging mom, then I should celebrate the fact that I am ABLE to walk around with my beautifull daughters, and have a bite of lunch with them, and not simply drop them off because, for whatever reason, 'I dont enjoy shopping'.

Oh Lord above, these lessons are harsh! Even if the whole purpose of Letittia's suffering is just to show some ungratefull and silly woman, not to take love, life, family, home and health for granted, then perhaps the Lord's will is not that senceless and cruel.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Taking a break!

My husband and I decided to take some time-out. Our 'holliday' was pretty much cancelled when our daughter recently burned out her clutch and it needed replacing. Hellish expensive!!!

It was absolute bliss to get away for a few days. No work, no computers or phones, no oil paint, just time to catchup. Although we both love the Cape, we both find the bush in a way, more relaxing, as there seems to be little to distract you from just simply taking a breath!
Its alsmost asif, suddenly, you are 'hearing' the nothingness, you are seeing 'everything' and nothing else matters but the space that you're in..the openness, the sounds of birds and wildlife, running water. There's nothing more beautifull or precious than creation, in its raw and wild and cruel state.

I wipped out my fancy camera and took some very unspectacular photos, but they are non-the-less pictures of a wonderfull memory

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Baboons are one of my least favorite animals.
My memories of them are not great. When I was
around 20 years old, a German friend and I went hiking
in the Magaliesburg. We ended up jumping down into a gorge
into a freezing cold river because an entire troupe had
surrounded us. Their teeth are longer than that of a leopard
and they are known for their aggression, especially in the

This lone bull was hiding beautifully in some trees.
although I love elephants, I have a healthy respect for them,
also having been charged while in the Kruger Park.
They are not the easiest animals to paint and their skin requires
the same method as that of painting bark
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The eye of a kudu
This is a close-up of a horn-bill
......And this is a big goga nest..... :o) (I have astounding knowledge in the fauna and flaura of our country..not)
its actually a humungus spider nest found all over the park
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These are some of the close-ups which I got so excited about.....:o) (Just like a child finding its first toy in a lucky packet...for heaven sake!!!!).....they are rediculously ordinary. But I have one of those super-duper digital zooms which I think would eventually show up a split in a hair....just need to learn how to use it!!

This giraffe was cleaning its face after a delicious meal of teeny leaves and huge thorns. I took this one by knocking off Robs glases, standing on his chest and clamoring through the sky-roof. The big guy ended up staring at me with such disdain that I slithered back into the car only to have my husband look at me the same way!!!!
I love zebra. Their noisy communication is synanomous with the bush ....AND, other than elephants and water-buck, (and my son) they have the longest eye-lashes.
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Monday, October 4, 2010

Three Generations

I took this picture a while ago and played around with is three generations of hands, my mothers, mine and my eldest daughter, the first granddaughter. While looking closely at this picture, I noticed that there seemed to be an energy comming from the joining of the hands. the hand on its own (bottom left) didn't show that light... and most of the light seemed to come from the hand of my daughter. Yes, there IS strength unity, a spiritual energy that as humans we soooo badly need. We need touch, we need bonding, WE NEED LOVE.

Yesterday, we had out monthly family 'gathering' which was so, so special. Unfortunately, it was only one side of the family, the rest are spread all over the place, but its days like this when the ones who couldnt be with us, are most thought of and spoken of and sorely missed.
Sitting there, watching our beautiful young girls and the young men, our sons and, God willing, 'soon -to -be' sons, all horsing around with rugby, and soccer balls , one cant but help say a quiet little prayer over their lives, for protection, for love, for integrity and family unity. All these young people with hopes and dreams, with youth and enthusiasm, who will continue burning the torch of their parents, grandparents and centuries of fore-fathers and pass on the same torch to their children. What have I given them, and what is it that I still need to give them? I know, without a doubt, I have great love, but also imperfections which, hopefully, in some way will helped them cope with their own, not through endorsement but through knowing that nomatter what, they are all worthy of love in spite of them.

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