Striking Camp

After 4 1/2 years in Parkmore Gardens, in suburban banal and exhausting Johannesburg, we are striking camp.

The stuff we want to keep is on its way, first by road to the coast, then onto a ship, via Rotterdam to Toronto. The stuff we don’t want to keep, or really don’t need, is in the process of being farmed out – some of it to Kath and Gareth, some of it to other members of the family, some to neighbours and some put out on the street, for passers-by and the waste pickers to help themselves. Some things are for sale, some we are giving away, but the important thing is that everything, in the end, goes out the door. The campground swept down to the bare earth, the house picked clean as a pile of bones.

It is a time of taking down, not putting up; of emptying not filling; of lasts rather than firsts – the last time we will sleep in our bed, the last fire we will make in the Danish fire pit we bought as a wedding present, the last braai or barbecue we will have on the patio. Gathering speed for the leap over the abyss.

Life beckons. There is a cheerfulness to our work.

Our reward at the end of each day is a small piece of creative time: Rob does her collages in what will soon no longer be her downstairs studio; upstairs, I work on a few photographs. If you’ve been following me on Facebook or Flickr or Instagram (grief, I am going to have to get a grip on all this social media time-wasting) you may recognise these images from a series I have posted on Chris and Paul’s farm near Bailieboro, in the Kawarthas, and my series on Madrid.

What is interesting me even more right now is a portfolio I am putting together, from our 2016/17 New Year’s trip to Havana, just before I flew out to South Africa to start my new contract.

I had such strong and such mixed feelings about this short and admittedly selective exposure to Cuba – too close to home, in some respects, speaking as a South African; too conflicted. There is a whole story I still need to write about this, but if pictures tell a story, then hopefully my Havana portfolio, when I publish it, will say something of my perceptions and feelings about Cuba.

But first, we gotta get outta this place. Meanwhile, here is a Havana foretaste.

Click on the images to view full size.

2 Comments

    1. Thank you, sir – both for the kind words regarding our return, and for your remarks on the words and pictures. Hopefully there is more time in my future for pictures that speak and words that create images 🙂

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