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Monthly Archives: October 2014

Let Sleeping Lions…Sleep.

Let Sleeping Lions…Sleep.
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This is Africa… no huge billboards…!

My daughter Adrienne and I recently visited the lion and rhino park near Krugersdorp, South Africa. The hot, dry air was still and silent. Spring rains had not yet come and the veld was bleached to a pale straw color. The dusty trees, of which there were few, looked tired. The lack of green vegetation made it easy to spot the animals.

We were able to drive right up to this pride. They were sound asleep and posed little threat to us in our little Toyota hatchback…we had no a/c so we had the windows rolled down and were able to get great pictures. These sleeping beauties were six feet away from us. We were silent, barely breathing, as we photographed these amazing animals.

I can understand why foreign tourists think its okay to get out of their cars in game parks. The animals appear harmless, especially when they are asleep. Too many Disney movies have depicted lions as benign, sweet animals. They are not. They are very large and very powerful. We were in awed silence at their majesty. We let them sleep and drove off as quietly as we could

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Rare white lions are being kept safe in reserves to prevent poachers and “Canned hunting” of these beautiful animals.

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Snooooozzeeeee….

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The tawny or yellow lions were harder to spot. They looked decidedly more grumpy and got up and walked behind the tree as we stopped to photograph them:

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The lions are all in separate camps, so that they pose no threat to the buck.

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Springbuck

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Rhinoceros grazing peacefully, safe from poachers.

After our game drive we stopped at the Neck and Deck, an on-premise restaurant that features an upstairs open deck from where one can feed giraffes. It was a real treat being able to look them in the eye!

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Eyelashes to die for!

 
 

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Imagery

Sometimes the words don’t flow and one struggles to put pen to paper (or fingers on the keyboard!), but there are times, magical times, when images become words…or is it the other way round? This word magic usually happens when I am relaxed, before falling asleep, or at times when I am definitely not near a computer or even a piece of paper or a pencil.

“But I am certain to remember this…” I would think, and repeat the words in my head. To no avail, they’ve already fled the scene.

So nope, it doesn’t work that way.

The words, the images are as elusive as stardust. You may catch a phrase or two, but it will not stay in your mind unless you can write it down FAST!

Here are some random words that floated through my lazy, vacant mind which I have been lucky enough to capture and pen down before they could escape:

‘Her eyebrows were a mystery, darting across her forehead in a mercurial manner: untamed, and in a word, frivolous.’

(I wasn’t think “Frida” at the time, actually.)

When I wrote this I certainly thought of a pale, long-fingered hand:

She wiped her hand across her nose in a Meryl Streepish sort of way: languidly, elegantly exhausted; defeated by the pretense of grief.

Well,” she said, “So much for funerals. They always make me look bad.”‘

Another snippet:

Ice crystals had formed in her veins and she loved the jagged bitch she had become. No more tears for me, she thought. She took the kitchen knife and sharpened it, purposefully drawing the blade against the sharpening steel in deft, deliberate strokes.It sang in her hands and she smiled.’

It’s so much easier to write about bad people, somehow:

The moon lay in her wine glass as she tilted it sideways and then she took a sip, savoring the velvety red as it rolled along her tongue. She swallowed slowly, thinking of the last man she had in her bed. He had tasted of velvet too and she remembered she wanted to bite him, hard, to draw blood for all the fucks she had ever had and the ones who never called again. She had resisted the impulse, much to her regret.’

These images are not related to any character but they pop into my head at the strangest times, as if a book were being written in my head all the time. They are not really my thoughts, perhaps they are emanating from my subconscious….whoa, better not go there!

Better save these for NaNoWriMo….mmmm, or is that cheating?

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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A Visit to Gandhiji’s House

A Visit to Gandhiji’s House

I did not realize that I would feel so much sorrow, to be so emotional when I paid a visit to Mahatma Gandhi’s home in Delhi, India. This was the home in which he lived the last 144 days of his life before he was assassinated on January 30, 1948.

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The Birla Bhavan, now a museum dedicated to Gandhi, is set among shady trees in a quiet suburb of New Delhi, on 5 Tees January Road. It is a haven of peace midst the incredible bustle of the city, the innumerable beggars and pavement vendors and hawkers forcing their wares on intrepid tourists.

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The Smriti, or “Remembrance” is a beautifully laid out museum, with the room that Gandhi occupied with his meager belongings still left undisturbed.

 

 

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A footpath tracing is last footsteps shows the way to the lawn where he held his last prayer meeting.

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The Martyr’s Column marks the spot where Gandhi was shot at close range by Nathuram Godse. Godse, a Hindu, felt that the partition of India and Pakistan would have disastrous consequences for Hindus and Sikhs, and believed that Gandhi favored the Muslims in the process of partition. Godse had formed a militant Hindu movement, and decided to assassinate Gandhi with the aid of Narayan Apte. This was Godse’s second attempt to kill Gandhi.

The Museum is worth the visit, with multimedia displays and art work.

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I left there feeling profoundly touched by the legacy of a man whose political journey had started in South Africa, and had sparked the resistance by the black majority to gain their rightful place in an unjust society.

May his Light continue to shine as a powerful example to us all.

 

 

 

 

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Ugly Babies

Every mother thinks her child is beautiful, after all, it is a part of herself, made into flesh and blood. How longingly grandparents search for the likeness of themselves in those little faces! Yes,babies are special, they smell good and they are deliciously soft and squishy.

Babies have been around forever; without them the human race cannot exist. We have to procreate. We do it with glee, fueled by hormones that drive the human body. Then when they are born, we photograph our little preciousses, and force other people to admire them too.

So why on earth did the old school painters make such a hideous job of painting them. I have yet to see a “Madonna and Child” where the “child” doesn look like a miniature adult. The proportions are all wrong. Have those old men never noticed that a baby has a huge head compared to its body? Did they not look carefully enough, or were they blinded by the beauty of their female models?

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Just look at that wee babby, for goodness’ sake, the length of his limbs, the size of his belly…his man boobs, his serious expression…that’s not a baby, that’s an alien!

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This one is a lot better. A little neckless wonder.The mother is gazing at the little tyke as if she is wondering how the heck she is going to get it to go to sleep.

Now if ever I saw a potential demon in a baby, it would be this one:

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Look at the size of his nose! See the dissipated expression in those eyes! The mother would do well to restrain him even tighter in case he gets away and wreaks havoc on Christendom! Pity the artist forgot to add horns!

The next one is really misshapen:

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What a long awkward body! How sorrowfully the mother is staring at him! How ready her hand is to slap him! How piously the angels are praying for him!

Now if ever you thought babies were happy to be incarcerated in a crib, think again. This mini-adult is about to flee. Can’t say I blame the wee mite.He must have seen what the saints were doing outside the room to another unfortunate creature. Look carefully, it is being put to death in flames. Nasty, eh?

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In this final image, I focused on the fellow with the baby. The baby is clearly a 20th century baby because it is so obese. Mum’s been to MacDonald’s once too often, methinks! But just look at the bloke, he is ready to eat that deliciousness! His squinty, eyes and bad dental hygiene are amazing! Punch him, baby, don’t take any nonsense from this guy!

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Disclaimer: The author is not an art historian, or have any knowledge of the artists now long deceased.

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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I should be writing…

I have neglected my writing, I admit. I have  a great excuse: I was in South Africa for over a month and had no time to write. Now I am over the jet lag, I have weeded the garden, cleaned the house, done laundry numerous times and now, there can be no more excuses.

Outside, the sun is sparkling on the lake; it is late afternoon, early Fall and the temperature is nearly 84 degrees. It is pleasantly humid. The dogs are barking at some fishermen who are trying to catch something just off our dock. Their voices and laughter drift up to the house. It sounds as if the fishing expedition was more of a beer drinking excursion since they have lapsed into singing some bawdy shanty…

It has silenced the dogs and I can hear their voices again.

Monday afternoon, October 13th. Great day to be fishing.

Or writing.

In the meantime, here is a picture of a baby elephant I took while visiting Addo National Park.

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Posted by on October 13, 2014 in Uncategorized