I contemplate the life I planned and equate it to how it actually panned out. Wouldn't say that I have made major life changing mistakes or huge decisions which influenced the direction of my ship, alas, it was still not entirely up to me to steer it – there were some storms at sea. I have met some beautiful people on my journey and have no doubt that there are still of those to come on the remainder of the trip.
I find peace here in the forest. The wind is but a breeze and is faintly rustling the top most leaves which catch the early morning sun. The only sound around is some birds calling others for a meal – find, and the rustle of the leafy bed of forest floor, disturbed by an irate squirrel. As the few rays of the sun manage to get through the thick canopy, it catches the browns and greens on the tree trunks and floor. It dances between pine needles and rotten matter, reflects off the squirrels’ eye and rests upon the stem of a mushroom.
I focus the camera on the squirrel’s eye, trying to catch the light’s reflection and push the shutter release. One click and the squirrel is gone, the moment has passed. Much like we handle our life here on this planet. We do a lot of things out of habit, as per routine and on schedule but it remains the special moments that we try to capture and extend which are gone so quickly. The time we spend on doing the things we love and enjoy always seem to be gone too fast, while the dreaded jobs we do tend to drag on and on – not realising that time is so much relevant to our minds’ state.
Oh, I could be in this moment forever - we seem to forget to just be. All worries, doubts, plans and aches just shifted over the horizon, the only reminder of real life being the sounds of the forest. How did we evolve so quickly into an industrialised people? We even started industries to help us cope with the pressure we exert on our lives. Some folks absolutely live on uppers, downers, sleeping tablets, mood stabilisers and other chemical filled “happy pills”. Sure it has it’s positives but prescriptions are being processed way too fast after one visit to your local doctor. Over here in the forest I can even forget that I smoke, but now I thought about it and find myself patting my pockets. Good, left them at the cabin, next to the cell phone.
Sure, the ocean has its special place too. The waves crashing around you, the sun setting in the water, and shades of orange and red bouncing off the rocks. The bushveld too has its own romance about it. Scops owls and night jars calling, the fire cracking away while you stare into the flames, as if it has all the answers. For me there is just nothing like this forest. Tall, age old trees swaying back and forth on the breath of a ghost.
I switch off the camera and lay flat on my back. I spot the clouds drifting east above the swaying canopy and feel a moment of vertigo as the stationary and the moving rattles my perception. I see a leaf dislodging from 30 meters up and slowly drifting hence and forth to earth. Gravity, what a huge thing we take for granted every day. First time today I think about science, probably the last as well – it is much too serious a subject for now. Same as religion; no thought of death or bearded old men, because right now church is in progress - praying, singing and giving thanks - this is religion.
My eye catches a movement close. Some Bushbuck or other antelope is slowly advancing toward my unblinking eyes. Its tongue shifting from left to right, distinguishing between the green protrusions through the bed of brown. The tail constantly twitches as if it is happy with every step forward. Damn, it is close now…I cannot move a muscle, there was a thought of getting the camera, but even the thought would have alerted the little wonder. It must now be 40cm from my head, the wind is in my favour and I still haven’t blinked. Suddenly it looks me straight in the eye – wonderful clear black eyes with soft hair around the edges – must be a young female. For that moment I stop breathing and only drink in the moment – then it’s gone.
If we cherish our moments that amaze us and comfort us, we could spend years following routine and performing arduous jobs. We only need these little moments of magic, of just being, to re-charge the system, keep our sanity and live free.
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