Wednesday, August 26, 2009

To the man in the park...

To the man in Rondebosch Park, who shouted at me for letting my dog, Baxter dig for moles;

I am sorry.

I am sorry, that despite my best intentions I shouted back!

I am sorry, that I asked you if you were a vegetarian; as if eating cows, sheep, ducks and chickens meant that you counldn't be outraged on behalf of a frightened mole.

I am sorry, that I lied when you asked me if I was vegetarian. I said 'yes', when in truth I have been eating animals for a few years now. And still feel bad about it.

I am sorry, that I reprimanded you in front of your child, suggesting that shouting at a stranger was not a very good example for her to emulate.

I am sorry that I called out, ' go spread your light in the neighbourhood, you horrible man', after you manhandled Baxter and threw him off the mole-heap!

Oh dear!

If we ever meet again, I promise to apologise, even while I am blushing at the memory of my rudeness.

Please forgive me, and have a nice day.

Bound to one another.

It started somewhere in Italy, and today similar romantic displays can be found in many cities in Europe. In the time-honoured tradition of engraving your lover's name on a tree trunk, friends and lovers in Cologne Germany, are engraving their adoration for one another on locks which are then added to this growing collection.

In fact, these installations are becoming so popular that they are now attracting tourists who delight in reading the many personal love notes on the assembled locks.

The locks are a beautiful symbol of the way in which love binds us to one another.

Perhaps it's time to start just such a display on a grid near you...

Photo by stefan

Thank you Mr Nielson.

I was at a talk, at my synagogue today that was focused on relationships.

And since relationships are the building blocks of our lives, I could feel the full weight of the collective pain and love and hope of that audience as they thought about their own. Everyone of us is faced at some time, with people in our lives who challenge us, in the most trying ways.

If only we could begin to recognise how much these most difficult relationships serve us; allowing us, demanding of us, that we grow.

I have always found, that if we are able to shift from a place of judgement and resistance to a space of love and compassion, all things become possible, and forgiveness and understanding can be achieved.

The painting at the top of this post, is one I did as a wedding 'card', for my nephew Elan, and his wife Tammy. It contains many symbols that are important to them both, as well as some that appropriately, are the property of Chagal. For 'what is love without a violin playing goat'!

For me, the sacred partnership between a man and woman, through the contract of marriage, is the ultimate sanctuary in which we are able to refine ourselves and grow our spirit.

I am so grateful to Mr Nielson, better known as Sid for being so devoted to the sacred task of personal growth and refinement in marriage. He is the tomatoe to my basil, the peas to my carrots, the ice cream to my chocolate sauce! We are so different to one another Sid and I, and it is because and not in spite of this that we find ourselves, so often in perfect balance.

Everyday, I learn more about myself because of him. It's not always easy and it's not always comfortable but it's what makes our relationship so rich and rewarding.

And the harder we work at it, the louder and more beautifully that violin playing goat plays!

Thank you Sid.

x x x elle

In the final analysis...

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centred;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true friends;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world your best anyway...

You see, in the final analysis,
It is between you and G-d;
It was never between you and them anyway.
Mother theresa,

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

In the sadness too, radiance...

In the morning I mused
It wont return, the magic of life
it wont return

Suddenly in my house the sun
became alive for me
and the table with bread on it
and the flower on the table
and the glasses
And what happened to the sadness
In the sadness too, radiance.

Zelda Schneersohn Mishkovsky

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Bax Factor.

I never wanted a dog.

I just knew I would be saddled with parenting that hound, and end up loving it too much. As if it was the fifth sibling to my human brood. I knew I would be the one cleaning the lawn of daily deposits, sweeping up mounds of earth, fur and small dead creatures brought in for closer examination on the entrance hall rug. I dreaded the daily howl that would come just before five, signalling an urgent desire to 'be walked'. As if.
But they nagged and moaned and pleaded.

Those inglorious basterds!

So, when my sister in law offered us one of her labrador puppies, I knew my number was up. We fetched him when he was ten weeks old ( a month later then suggested) and he travelled home queasily in a cardboard box. Mr Nielson better known as Sid, insisted that he live outside. By day two, Sid had compromised, and that darn hound took ownership of downstairs. My mother named him Baxter, because my childhood dog was called Actor and tradition is tradition after all.

Madam our tabby cat tried to adapt. But. Alas. After several unfortunate encounters, she took to the second floor with relief. Sometimes she sits at the window in our bedroom looking down at Baxter at play in the garden and she remembers the good old days. Poor girl. Four years later, her cat box is still in our once upmarket bathroom. At night, when we hear her 'up to no good' in the litter box, Mr Nielson likes to remark upon the 'wildlife' in the en suite! Madam likes to walk over us at night. But that is another story.

In the meantime.

It is just as I imagined it.

Everyday the floors get swept up, like some Japanese hair salon! Piles of thick, straight black hair fall from that dog as if to taunt me. Open a kitchen cupboard,and there in the middle of your finest pot, damning evidence of a single straight, thick black hair!!

Everyday, large deposits are left for me to discover and retrieve from the front lawn.

Everyday, Baxter sits at the bottom of the stairs, and cries like a baby till you take him for a walk.

And everyday, I just love that darned dog more.

Don't tell the others but he just may end up to be my favourite child!

What every artist needs...

Every artist should have an Aunt Riva, the diminutive, fairy-godmother of the Cape Town, art world.

For more then 30 years, Riva has cajouled, protected and encouraged her stable of emerging and established artists. Oftentimes seeing to their financial needs at the expense of her own, Riva is the quintessential gallerist. Her motivation is a deep love for her artists, and the work that they create.
Riva recognises Art's ability to heal, comfort and inspire. A house only becomes fully a home, once made unique and expressive through the art that completes it.

For decades Riva quietly set about enriching the lives of her artists and clients from the second floor of a Victorian building in Church Street.

Times have changed, and when most octagenerians were settling down to a quiet retirement, Riva was moving on to larger premises in Wales Street. Even without the allure of the rickety staircase which once took you to the door of her old store, charm abounds. And Riva still welcomes you with a smile and the tilt of her head, always ready to listen. Carefully. To what you have to say.

For above all else, Riva loves people and delights in sharing with them the joys and sorrows of this artful life.

Monday to Saturday you'll find her at the Atlantic Art Gallery in Wales street, ready to hear your stories and beautify your life.

Two steps at a time

Seems like everyone is simultaneously discovering Scala , the rainbow , Holsteiner steps painted by Horst Glasker.

Glasker painted each of the 112 steps a different colour, and then paired them with human emotions and values.

Love and Hate

Hope and Despair.

I would take them two at a time, if I were you.

Jump over the negative.

Land on the positive.

You'll get where you are going twice as fast and have lots more fun along the way!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Beneath the covers

I have many beautiful bed coverings.

Silk, wool and velvet.

Embroidered and tufted.

Machine worked on some factory line, probably in China.

There is something so wonderfully comforting, about resting beneath covers, that have been carefully created by loving hands.

Time to hide beneath one, just like Susannah Conway's mother made for her ....

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Mike and Beki, if you please...

It was late afternoon, the sun a pale orbit in a clear winters sky as they walked towards the landcruiser, to join us for a game drive at Samara Game reserve.

Not your average couple.

It took just a moment to dismiss the conditioned response to them; an older English gentleman and a young African woman holding hands and sharing obvious affection.

Mike is a retired journalist who wrote for the best dailys on Fleet street in their heyday. He did a piece on volunteer work in Indonesia recently, work he was hoping to take up himself.

The article was so good and illicited such a response, that there was no room left for him to join the Indonesian work program. Instead, they sent him to South Africa, Port Elizabeth where he took up volunteer work teaching english at a 'township' school.

One day he came upon a pretty, softly spoken young woman in the admin offices and they struck up a friendship. Their growing love for one another took them both by surprize. Mike had to return to England once his three month volunteer contract was up. He did. And for the next many months, he and Beki wrote and spoke to one another everyday. It soon became clear that they were destined to be together, despite the differances between them.

Age. Race. Culture. Love conquers all.

We watched them as they dined together at Samara, with such obvious pleasure in one another's company. Her quiet affection. His adoring pride in her. Their playfulness with one another. They were lovely. We liked them immensely and became fast friends. Just like that!

How lovely then, just a few weeks later to receive an invite to their wedding!
We feel honoured.

Mike writes, that they have already had their traditional wedding. Four cows were purchased as a bride price for Lobola. Mike and Beki were covered in traditional blankets, and prayers were given. Brandy was poured on the ground to appease the ancestors. They feasted, and were pronounced man and wife! Mike is officially now a proud member of the mmbuli clan.
Mr Nielson better known as Sid and I are suckers for a little romance.

Mike and Beki are up there with the very best of them!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Ode to my Bok on half a century.

In the tuckshop
Marooned by children,
All green eyed pretty with a smile that
Lights the room
I found
Your sweet-heart-friend=ship.

And we took sail
You and I
Two friends now,
In the simple truth that meets
The ebb
and flow of this small life.

Remarkable one,
Who listens with carefulness,
Giving time.
Calming the waters
Throwing out a rope to which
We cling

You are the gentle sigh of a distant sea
The wide eyed wonder of a child.
A chocolate eclair.
You are
A night sky filled with kindly stars.
An invitation in the post.
And Sunday mornings
Warm in bed

With love and thanks to you my beautiful friend...

x x x


The week that was...

It's Friday.

That means the Sabbath has arrived and with it time to evaluate the week, create a real space for the sacred, and where needed, do a little healing.

It's been that kind of week!

Sometimes, so many things go awry that it soon becomes obvious that something is trying to be said, and that there is the clearest need to listen carefully and prepare for some self-examination.

This is good.

We all need to continually reflect on our thoughts, deeds and intentions, and correct them when they are found wanting.

This week my windscreen wipers switched on of their own accord. They would not go off again even when I took the key from the ignition, until I had disconnected a fuse and rendered them useless. (Ok, I never disconnected them, the man at the petrol station did, or my battery would have run down!) It is quite difficult to find your way in pouring rain without a wiper. Its been a rainy week!

Next, my cell phone with which I am notoriously lax, refused to deliver my messages nor channel my calls. I later discovered the network was down, but at the time I took this very personally, especially since I had some desperate,(and I use the term advisedly) messages to relay!

I went shopping for a friend's fancy dress party and my new credit card was declined! Oy! Ok, maybe I spent a bit too much on the winter sales but really!

Worse still, someone I have always considered a friend has treated me with appalling contempt. Enough to make me leave two messages on her answering service pleading for an explanation and yes, it must be said, one too many smses on her cellular! Her responce was to suggest that my behaviour was 'alarming', and that she would contact me when it suited her. Gulp! This is enough to give me sleepless nights and indigestion!


What does this all mean I ask myself, as the Sabbath approaches. Could the windscreen wipers speak to me of 'clarity', clear vision and finding my way in the right direction? Does the stubborn cell phone ask of me, better communication and a more measured responce. Take your time, dear elle. Think before you speak. Oh yes, that is very good advice. Thank you.... Now, what about that pesky credit card? We will skip that one, if you don't mind! Although, since it was declined in a dress-up store, perhaps this just means being true to myself.

And as for the girl who was so horribly mean? Perhaps it is time to move on. More importantly, is there something in her unforgiving judgement of me that I can own, and need to repair in myself. Probably. Of course.

So this is how we live and grow and live to see another day!

Happy Shabbas, and may you find the stars even when the world looks dark. Especially, when the world looks dark.

x x x


photo by Hanna L