May 28, 2017 by petrujviljoen
The walk became necessary for my own sake. Calling the cat, ‘come, let’s go’ and her dawdling, making me wait made me leave her. Behind me the houses disappeared as I rounded the bend at a near jog. Deep down into the valley. I didn’t mean to … go so far. Morning has made little progress, as yet.
I came to a halt. Perplexed. Still dazed. What? The stalks of cut grass, a fire-break, became a slippery carpet; downward steep, abrupt in places. Oh. I sat down and slid along to firmer ground; down and to the right to where dense stubs served as footholds.
The clump of trees closed behind me. I remained a moment at the edge. Swathes of now golden veld opened up and out to the vast horizon.
in-breath strengthening, blue-green dream at verge of sleep
– river a slightness
Further on the waterfall thunders down a forty metre drop with tremendous power. This is off the tourist route. I regretted not bringing my camera. I didn’t mean to … I came this far so I resolved to find a way down, dismissed not having had breakfast. Veering back into the veld, away from the overgrown edge of the cliff I found an enclosure. Barbed wire, old, wood rotten. My heart sank. It looked like a grave. I didn’t turn round.
My brother. I fought him. Accused him. Confronted him. Terrible, terrible things. A week long, years, decades, most of my life living half a life, I raged, furious, defensive, old, unused psychic channels blasted open. He had a stroke. A week later he passed away. I staggered from room to room until I fled so I won’t stifle.
It wasn’t a grave. A cleft in the earth, not very wide, was fenced in some time long ago so one would not fall down it. One wouldn’t have noticed wading through swaying grass waist high. There was no need for fire-breaks here. Not this year.
the idea of him, the severing, I remain – discomfited
I meant to get to the edge of the cliff to see if there was a way to climb down. Striding, I walked away from the enclosure and very nearly stepped into another cleft, much wider, unfenced, unseen from the slight height before the plate of rock in sight. Why wasn’t it also fenced in? Did it form later? When? I quailed at the thought of injury and took a wide berth back towards the top of the waterfall and made my way upstream where things were a bit more foreseeable.
A rim of debris formed where the water reached from the last rain. Beyond it a patch of tiny pebbles, many shapes and colours nestled between larger rocks. I bent down to study it, just to see. One has a thin red double line, a perfect meander.
I endured sudden, involuntary rages the whole while I was outbound, out loud at times. There was no-one to hear. I remembered a painting in a junk shop. The view from just above water in a murky ocean, colours brown and dismal. The painter signed his (her?) name in thin red paint. I put the pebble in my pocket and sat. Just sat. How old must an imprint be before it can be called a fossil?
Exhausted of all thought, spirit settled down for a time – being.