Friday, February 8, 2008


I know this has nothing to do with gardening but please allow me a little indulgence while I reveal to you some of my thoughts while away at our shack recently. I wrote them on paper and appreciated the ease with which I can usually do it on a computer but a no-tech holiday reminds you of a lot of things, good and bad, that we take for granted at home. I will only subject you to one item now and then, but I want to keep them fairly close together or their sense will be lost. I didn't write anything for the first 2 weeks, which is interesting in itself. I will put them in the order I wrote them, for my own benefit, but you will see some developments as they progress....
There's something about this place.'Though I dig and probe I can't find the core of it but I do find lots of special things on the journey.
Tensions are tickled out here, I see it on everyone's faces.Visitors arrive hot and dusty, the town is drab, the shack looks disappointing. They bring in their luggage, offer gifts and news of life beyond and I stand, barefoot, almost silent, smiling until they finish. They move quickly to the window and then it begins - with a smile and a finger pointing to something in the sea or on the beach. They swim, sail, walk, and talk all day until they sit to watch the sunset, cool drink in hand, food on the BBQ.
The next day begins more slowly and there's less talk, less fuss, more relaxed and more reading. Small things come into focus - changes in the light, the wind, colours - and creases in their faces and moods smoothe over. We talk of the future, the earth, what's important in life instead of their purchases, activities, work. After a couple more days they wonder about staying longer, sometimes changing meetings or other holiday plans because life here is simple and fresh -only one small shop, no computer or phones, no TV, no boats with engines and no other technology except basic electrical needs. That's it. And yet there is so much - time, quiet, nature, space, water, fun. One guest recently commented, when he offered to buy us an icecream at the kiosk, that he hadn't bought anything since he arrived a week earlier, unlike in the city when, it seems, he buys stuff all the time. Yet he was so happy, inside.
The sea is the backdrop, the foreground and the subject of life here, washing into every nook and cranny of the mind and rinsing out all the sand, leaving only the rocks Bob wrote about, and a few pebbles. Even these have their edges rubbed smooth, nestling back together more comfortably than before. Thoughts and ideas pour into the gaps between the stones, helping to form plans for the future.
For me it's more than all this even. It's memories of 15 years of such experiences with my family. It's freedom from everything, including the garden. People observe few rules here - lots of kids ride bikes on the quiet dirt roads and tracks with the wind in their hair and a fishing rod in their hand - no helmets. Dogs run free - no fences, no leads. Our boats live on the beach - no theft. All around people smile, stroll, chat - no hassles, no rush. The talk is of the wind (sailing), the water (snorkelling), the heat (swimming) and food (the BBQ) - no politics, no wars, no news.
What day is it? Today.

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