Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Road Less Travelled

Over the thirty odd years that I have lived in South Africa I have driven many times up and down the N2 to Cape Town and in the last two months alone, I have done that return journey three times and in addition spent a girls weekend in Knysna with my granddaughter and last weekend I drove as far as Wilderness. for a healthy retreat.  People have been astonished that I have driven it alone and comment". "Shame, you must be exhausted." Well I want to comment in return, "Shame you don't know what you are missing!"
The Garden Route looks BEAUTIFUL at this time of year and my problem is not driving this route, but making myself stay in the car, because if I stopped every time I wanted to take a photograph or enjoy the breathtaking views - I would still be en route and going nowhere slowly. One day - I will have the time to go nowhere slowly and enjoy every minute! 
Fields of fynbos contrast with lush green farmlands, long winding rivers cut through rocky gorges, the endless blue ocean on one side and mountains that graze the sky on the other. The windy road brings sudden slashes of bright yellow crops that cut into the earthy landscape and now and then you have to slow down to avoid a baboon family feasting in the road or a farm stall entices you with promises of home grown produce. I love this route! I love this land!
Today I enjoyed it from the air - and was back home by 12,30! I flew to accompany V back to PE. My 7 am flight was cancelled (thanks SAA for not letting me know so I didn't have to get up at 04.45) so I was on the 8am flight arriving at 9.30 and on tenterhooks as our flight back was at 10h55 and check in time was at 10,00. Because the flight was running late, the pilot explained that he was flying lower than usual to try and make up time, and as it was a perfectly clear day the aerial view  was fantastic. I followed the N2 and knew exactly what little coastal town or settlement I was looking down on and enjoyed that earth toned patchwork quilt from above. 
Last weekend, when I was in Wilderness, I decided to find the road less travelled to circumnavigate those lakes and lagoons from the other shore. I followed the railway line once graced by the Outeniqua Choo Choo and bumped up muddy tracks to Karatara passing farms called Moon Rising and Serena and Groenveldt. I passed tumbledown cottages and wondered who had sat on those sagging stoeps. I passed a man (could have been a woman) in overalls, boots that looked too large and a bandana, vigourously tilling the vegetable patch not a meter from the road. Engrossed, he raised a hand but not his eyes in greeting.  I saw carefree skipping children with broad grins who waved like mad or raised thier thumbs and gazed curiously after my car. 

The road turned and climbed and I was surrounded by verdant fields and chewing cows full of lazy disinterest and was now able to look down again on the still waters, now in miniature below me.
 Soon there were signs of life and I drove through a settlement - rows and rows of RDP houses - new, shiny and totally out of place is these ancient lands - I slowed behind a farm truck and reluctantly joined the N2 again.

I enjoyed the last of the suns rays on my balcony - writing my journal - a few geese flew in noisily and settled in the reeds, then another a family and another. As dusk fell a thousand or more geese joined them and noisily made thier home for the night - becoming silent as darkness swallowed them. The following morning at sunrise, they all took off again in thier family groups, in the direction from which they came reminding me that I must also leave return from whence I came but like the geese - I will return. There is much more to explore!

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

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