Sunday – in the garden

The sunlight is soft, cuddling my feet with it’s gentle touch

The swallows are wheeling high in the endless sky,

A pernicious breeze is herding the clouds, snapping at their heels as they waft through an azure field of dreams

The smell of freshly hewn grass fills my nostrils

Silence in my head

My heart is still

Waiting,

Waiting for what?

The knock of reality?

The reality of committment, responsibility, work, the infinite “to-do list”

A most un-welcome interloper in my perfect world!

The wind’s changing now, whipping the tree tops, bending the branches to its will

The sky is dark, angry,

The white whisps a mish-mash of charcoal menace,

There’s a storm coming.

    

The quest for equality

Not a political rallying cry, not a question of colour or religion – it’s all about sex.

Why does your physical make-up still have such a huge impact on your existence? From Florence Nightingale to Emmeline Pankhurst – From Marie Curie to Germaine Greer – each of these unique women and so many others like them have opened doors for our generation, raised that ubiquitous glass ceiling and obliterated the gender-based barriers of old. Yet despite this “progress” the slightly sour taste of an old boys club is still redolent in the modern age.

Physical strength comparisons are a moot point – there are simply and without discussion certain activities where a man’s brute strength is greater than that of a woman’s – it is as it is!

What I’m referring to is that faintly condescending manner, surprised and patronising revolving around things business related, mechanical, sporting and financial. I’m just blown away that because you’re a girl apparently makes you somehow slightly less important, less worthy and less capable than a boy.

Postscript: This is not meant as an anti-men diatribe in the slightest – however, these are two examples (Honor Killings and Womens Rights) of why the road to equality is still a long, bumpy and steep climb.

 

 

“Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war”

There was a shy, new moon out last night – barely cracking a smile. In fact if you blink you’d probably miss the silver sliver. Yet there was just a hint of “watch out world, here I come”.

For some obscure reason, it brought a flood of sentiment (not particularly useful while dodging traffic but there is no leash powerful enough for the beast that is the human psyche). There is an afrikaans word that perhaps best encapsulates the emotion – “huimwee”. No literal translation as such – hankering, yearning, nostalgia  … yet more ethreal somehow, a more will o the wisp thing. The what ifs, perhaps and maybe’s, different roads to take, different choices to make.

The fraility of human existence was never more clear than during a documentary on television filmed by an ITN reporter called Jon Steele and called “Baker Boys – Inside the Surge”. Based on the experiences of a company of american soldiers in Iraq it chronicles the experience of being at war in the modern age. No short sharp battle, a winner and a loser – instead a constant, draining war of minds and hearts. I’m fascinated by history and hand in hand with that military history courtesy of us war-mongering humans. I feel unqualified to pass judgement on being at war – my ground level, uncontaminated opinion is that death cannot be recommended but sadly good people die while politicians play at puppet master.

A sea of blank eyes greeted the documentary maker’s questions – “how do you feel”, “what do you think”? Optimistic to expect the truth I guess. Would they do it again – I would imagine the majority would sign on the dotted line. War generates income and in an economic recession people do what they need to to put bread on the table.

It begs the question though – what does the average 20 year old see by the quiet light of a silvery moon on foreign shores?

Baker Boys – Inside the Surge

Seeking Solace

Whilst on a life saving break from the salt mines yesterday, I was dragged kicking and screaming (by myself) into a local bookstore for a nose about. Now the sparkly bit with Msasa is that they do second hand books as well (read cheap,cheap). In the search for glorious fantasy I came across a more serious expose of obsessions, addictions and fetishes. The book’s overall theme was how humanity’s inner feelings of inadequacy/demons etc push them towards unhealthy practices. A plethora of eye-opening but really “sad” stories (to flog an over-used adjective). Obesity, alcoholism, body-mutilation and the like – people in turmoil with overwhelming feelings of being lost (damn, the name of the book escapes me completely, will look again).

The phrase “comfort eating” is often bandied about when women’s issues are spoken about and I’ve been mulling over the whole concept of seeking solace when life just gets too much. Do you turn to religion or food or alcohol or other people for succor? Does your glance turn inwards for a good dose of self-reflection in an attempt to answer the myriad of questions that being a member of the human race throws at you.

Personally, I think I’m more of a look inwards type of personality (is there a defined genre for that) – I yearn for peace and tranquility, silence and harmony – the sound of trickling water does far more for me than a slice of cake. Music (in any shape or form) brings me great comfort.

Yet, as varied as people are so will their coping methods be (one of my dearest friends is a runner – when there’s mayhem she can be found pounding the pavements). It also hit me upside the head about judging people – how many of us can say we haven’t thought negatively when you see an overweight person out and about, or looked down on somebody that is drunk? Are they physical manifestations of a life in crisis?

War – The bigger picture

I’m not naieve – i understand why countries go to war – i was young and involved with the boys of my generation who fought and died in our own own Bush War. Last night I commandeerd the television to watch a documentary called Restrepo about an american plattoon in some half ass backwater in the middle of Afganistan called the Korangal valley (the timeline would appear to have been late 2008/early 2009). I’m a history addict (recent and past) particularly military history (but you’re a girl …. yes I know, go figure). The documentary is crafted by one Sebastian Junger and is, in my opinion, quite brilliant. The typical documentary structure is missing ie background story, narrator etc etc and yet that seems to make the film making that much more dramatic. It is stark and sad and violent yet the biggest impact was the post deployment interviews – young men with dead eyes, fearful of saying too much and yet so desperate to convey their message (the irony is, according to the doccie the US withdrew from that “Valley of Death” in 2009 – what a waste).

Am I anti war? No. i’m anti the lives that war destroys – the living and the dead.

Restrepo

Nay sayers – Bleugh

Africa stooped under the burden of decade old drought, Europe has been buried in snow and appallingly crap weather – the States have had record snowfalls – Australia has been experiencing floods of “biblical” proportions

see Floods Australia 

yet humanity is crawling with those who would say that global warming is a fallacy and is just scaremongering by the bunny huggers. Well I say – phooey, wake up world – humanity is in deep trouble. Yes I fully understand that “green power” seems to be a long way away and for most countries is just too damn expensive for the man in the street – power to drive factories, to create jobs, to feed the populace is the very fabric of society and for now we have to rely on “poisonous” power but dont close your eyes to the coming storm. Even in our own little piece of paradise we are experiencing rain of chaotic proportions – never has the holiday season yielded so many wet, wet days

see KZN rainfall 

– as I write the rain is hammering down outside, creating it’s own strident symphony on the roof.

Perhaps the most offensive denial raising it’s ugly head is the growing mob that insist the Holocaust never occured – can you fathom it? And no, I don’t have Jewish heritage or any link to the Jewish faith at all but I am a human being who has read the books, seen the pictures, watched the documentaries and visited the sites

see USHMM 

– I can’t get to grips with or even try and justify where this sub-culture comes from. It can’t be through a lack of knowledge – the information is out there. Once again, I don’t believe anyone is asking for the Holocaust to be plastered all over the media and shoved in peoples faces 24 hours per day but dont deny that it ever took place – that’s just stupid (to flog a really over-used word). Move forward, embrace religious differences and ensure that it never happens again – that said the hutu/tutsi genocide in the 90’s was ethnic cleansing to the ultimate degree

see Rwanda .

Sadly, history seems to repeat itself and mans brutality is indescribable – let it be said, being a member of the human race is often nothing to be proud of.

War

“The rhythmic cadence of boots on a cobbled street,

The clatter of wooden wheels as villagers flee,

The distant boom of approaching guns

The air is thick with fear

A baby cries, sensing the mayhem

Seeking it’s mother but she lies buried, embraced in a fertile tomb

Young men dig in, singing, in one voice to banish the urge to scream

The harsh bark of an officer calls them to attention.

Words are spoken – words meant to inspire, words meant to comfort

The sizzling hiss as light and heat are extinguished,

The rumble of tanks rolls through the night

The silence is shattered,

The blackness is crisscrossed with bolts of red and white

Frantic calls, “courage boys – here they come”

Agonising shrieks, the wet smack of bullets striking flesh

The swish of bayonets – limbs asunder

The sound of death, a final labored breath

Malevolent rivers of sticky red blood”

On the off chance that anybody remembers this from another blog, in another place – I haven’t pinched it, it was Wildie then, it still is.