Saturday, May 15, 2010

Back to South Africa

...via this blog, anyway.

My posts about our trip are really lagging and it's curious. Last year I managed to blog the whole Namibia/Kgalagadi trip in one fell swoop, consecutively. But I think this trip was different because we were going back to where I was born.

I have a great visceral reluctance to sit down and edit the photos and write about our experience. On the one hand, recreating it is a challenge: How can I do justice to what we saw, felt, tasted and smelled?

And then: It is something of a physical wrench, as though this light, small, but loved room, with the terrace and its plants and the Brooklyn blue sky, is a kind of bubble. Which is threatened with collapse when I immerse myself in images of the land I miss. It's really very hard. Yet I want to tell the story which lives with us both as a singing memory. So I shall get to work today and tomorrow, and make some progress.

It begs the question, though: if we both long for the place, why are we here? Is the longing better than reality? Is the memory more tangible than the experience? Watering plants, feeding them, dead heading, planting, dividing and picking - these are all just ways of avoiding having to give these questions an answer.

Sometimes I think the answer is the terrace. It is an anchor and a reason. And if that is true, I must deal with it decisively. Commit it to memory, and get the hell of out Dodge.
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