My time in South Africa has been one of constant adjustment, of intentionally holding doors open in order that they do not prematurely shut; and sometimes being surprised by those which present themselves without even the sound of a key being inserted nor the turning of the knob.
The beach has become my home. It’s daily redesign by wind and water presents a new realm to explore. I no longer find the need to move from place to place, for each day there is something new unfolded before me.
Massive piles of kelp appear overnight while some mornings bring a scattering of snails, blue bottles, or sharp, black shells. What would require a labour force of hundreds of pairs of human hands coupled with powerful engines, scoops, and locomotion is undone in a matter of hours by the liquid fingers of the wave, tumbled foam, and gravity.
Sometimes the ocean brings a baby seal onto shore, separated from its mother, abandoned for reasons unknown, or orphaned by the success of the sharks which reside just past the surfers’ backline. The seal swims onto the beach, is rolled by the next wave, and while curious about the human lookers on, any approach is met by its bark and retreat.
Unfortunately, it is not only the sharks that torment these young, for humans too seem to share a propensity for harming those things which should be left alone. Last month a surfer rescued a baby seal not from the sharks, but from kids who kicked it and threw stones while it moved along the shore. It seems respect for life is gained only after our inherent curiosity about death is explored.
As when I lived at Buffalo Peak Ranch in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, I have again learned to shape my day based upon what happens out of doors. The weather, the motion of the sea, the rise and fall of the tide. Running, surfing, or swimming based upon what is presented, but combined, a daily routine that carries me from week to week, month to month, for nearly a year.
I have learned to find joy in a place that is not always easy for me.
I have learned to find comfort in the waves that once scared me.
I am again learning to accept what I am given for a day, knowing it may be gone the next.