Saturday, December 22, 2012

Snapshots through a dirty window (Stilbaai to Kammieskroon)

"Cry, the beloved country, ... 
Let him not love the earth too deeply. Let him not laugh too gladly when the water runs through his fingers, nor stand too silent when the setting sun makes red the veld with fire. Let him not be too moved when the birds of his land are singing, nor give too much of his heart to a mountain or a valley. For fear will rob him of all if he gives too much." 

- Alan Paton

When he wrote this, I was the unborn child.  I always wonder: did he mean me too?  (But I have not lost all, and I have gained much. I guess then that I do, or did not love too deeply? Or am I not that child?  You must be exhausted just reading this, but hey, sometimes one wonders.)

It feels so good to know the names of the trees again.  Did you see the quiver trees?

Tomorrow we enter Namibia, and I do not know yet how we will connect to the internet, once there.  I have so much more to say.

And if I am away for a while, "Well, then, "Merry Christmas, y'all!"

so bittersweet


For one last time:

build a castle and a moat;

stroll away, be brave and strange;
warm yourself in the sand;

dance with your shadow and your twin;

hunt for treasure;

watch your cousin pick up jellyfish;
run away in disgust;

share the towel, and the last heat of the sun;

stand and stare, take it all in.

Now let's go, it's time.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Aston Bay

Reckless abandon. For some it means to dip your head under the water in the tide pool, for some it means flying through the air and falling into the ocean, face first.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Stocking the library

I finished my honey cowl, but I have not taken a picture of it yet.  Melva used the left over yarn to knit a little pixie hat for her cousin, on the way from Stilbay to Aston Bay.  I had a chance to visit a bookstore in George on our way here, and found wonderful books to read aloud to the children.

The Children’s Bible was originally written in 1992 in Denmark, and later translated into Afrikaans.  I have not had enough time to read through it yet to decide whether or not I like the way they translated.  Being from a Calvinist background, we never had Children’s Bibles in our house (Soli Scriptura, of course). Now I consider them a very useful introduction to the Bible, almost like reading Padriac Colum’s version of "The Odyssey" before reading the real book, or Charles and Mary Lamb’s “Tales from Shakespeare.”

I have been quite inspired lately by a seminar that I attended where Andrew Kern from CIRCE spoke.  He spoke about many things, those who know him will know that he does not follow a very structured outline but rather tells stories and asks questions until you somehow understand what he means.  He encouraged us to teach in the same way, reading good books with our children; books that are reflections of truth.  The Fairy Books are a good resource in English, but my children are fluent in English, I need to encourage their Afrikaans.  I was delighted to find a translation of the Complete Fairy Tales by the Grimm Brothers.  They are only slightly altered, as far as I can see, although in this collection Little Red Riding Hood survives her ordeal (to Jean’s dismay, he prefers the gory endings). 

Nils Holgerson was a TV series that I grew up with; I do not think my American friends are acquainted with him.  It is a story about a boy that is put under a spell by a dwarf, and then travels with the wild geese, learning many truths along the way.  I have never read the book; I am looking forward to reading it with the twins.

We spent another lovely day on the beach today, the weather was fine, and we had grilled meat and corn for dinner. Lovely.

Joining again with Ginny for yarn along Wednesday.

PS.  A gratuitous picture of the sweetest, friendliest baby boy you have ever seen. (The youngest addition to our dear friends' family of four boys.)  The picture was taken by Melva.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Turtles and shells

Early in the morning we found the visiting turtle in the garden.  He causes great excitement every time he appears.  The boys call him a race turtle, if you put him down he is really fast, so fast that I cannot take good pictures of him if Melva does not pick him up.  When she picks him up, he is furious, scratching at her with his clawed feet and threatening to bite anything that comes too near.  We only held him up for a short while, long enough to look at him as closely as he would let us.

We spent most of the day on a nearby beach with tide pools and sea shells.  The weather was perfect, 25 degrees Celsius with a little wind.  (I think I should only mention the weather if it is not perfect, from now on).  The younger children spent hours trying to catch the fish in their nets, and Melva was collecting shells. The bigger boys played beach tennis and I found something that might qualify as sea glass?

We have a little book that we can use to identify the shells, but it only gives the name of the shell with a description.  It becomes a bit tedious to identify them, to tell the truth, especially if you cannot really pronounce the scientific names. 

I took pictures throughout the day, none of the shells, and plenty of the sea stars that we found.  They had many colors on top, but were all the most beautiful teal underneath.  I could almost start to understand how you can use something you found outside as an inspiration for a quilt, or a knitted afghan, perhaps?

The children handled the sea stars, and they saw a limpet removed from its rock.  They discovered that it sticks to anything, and that you can wear it as a broach, if you really want to.  I am mentioning this as we are not doing much in the line of schoolwork, at the moment.  I remind myself that they are always learning, even when, and perhaps especially when, I am not teaching them.

Tomorrow we leave Still Bay for two nights, to visit our friends who are vacationing in Jeffrey’s Bay, four hours away along the garden route.  Four hours by road sounds so much better than 26 hours by air!