It is beginning to feel like Christmas. At last, we appear to have moved away from the fear and ugly of Covid 19 and are slowly able to celebrate Christmas as we did what feels like so many years ago.
The shops are buzzing, people are smiling, the roads are packed, and the death toll is frighteningly high already as South Africans move en masse to coastal resorts.
On a positive note, the cicadas are in full throttle, the word came out that they are deafening in Letaba camp in the Kruger Park, so avoid at all costs or invest in earmuffs, the Woodlands Kingfisher’s vibrant trill brings a sense of all being in order in the natural world, at least. There is a legend here in the Lowveld that once the Woodlands arrive the impala can drop their young, and so mini-impis inundate the bush at this time.
This time of year is not my best. Close members of my family seemed to think December a good time to depart the planet, so Christmas trappings tend to echo hollowly in my gut. My mother taught me how to respond: flee in all haste to the solitude of Mozambique, where for many years the world could blow up and we would be none the wiser as communication of any kind was non-existent. I still feel the need to pack a suitcase around the 16th December.
I had my time in Mozambique a couple of months ago and wonderful it was. My batteries charged, my soul filled, my equilibrium was restored. Although I am not at the beach, as we call it, I am in a quiet place, sitting for friends. They have five cats. Yes, you read right. Five cats. I call it the ‘cathouse’. But they live on an estate on the outskirts of White River that is semi-wild: Impala, zebra, blesbok, nyala, duiker, and myriad birds wander around freely.
I have been kept company by a blesbok with a sore leg, but he is missing this morning so am hoping he is healed. The impala came to visit and show off their babies, the guinea fowl rattles raucously in the tree nearby making it hard to hear the television – may be a lesson there – and the fish eagle calls to remind me that I am in Africa.
With all the conflict in the world, between people and tribes, it is important to find some haven where we can be refreshed by the silence, allow peace to infiltrate our beings, and let the world do what it seems to think it should do – fight for its way, fight any which way, fight dirty mostly.
I don’t want, at this time, to think about horrible incidents and vicious words that have been spoken, I don’t want to argue against the indefensible or have opinions and threats rammed down my throat, I want to be still, to meditate on the gift that is Christmas, the advent of the Christ child, Jesus, in such humble circumstances.
I had to laugh watching an interview with two intellectuals discussing the great questions of life, religion, beliefs, whatever, and they both confessed that they did well, except against Christians because sooner or later they slipped in the Jesus card, against which there was no answer and that invariably ended the discussion.
Yay for Jesus. What manner of Man is He, who came to this frankly distasteful world, to bring us forgiveness, undeserving as we are, and unite us once more with God our Father, to imbue us with life, joy, peace, happiness. I will hang on to this gift, the most precious of all, and rejoice because of what my Saviour did for me from a lowly manger.
Be blessed this Christmas, receive what He has for you, rest in His love as you prepare for another new year.
Love and hugs from me!