I do my best thinking while driving. I drive a Fiat Panda.

Archive for the month “December, 2011”

(extract from) From the Other side

From the Other side I have Shadowed many different people down the long years. Most of my Subjects were defined as good, although a few were labelled evil; some were ordinary and others again reckoned great in the eyes of their fellows. Some died young and beautiful, and at other times I watched an ageing, wrinkled face and longed once more for the freedom of the Pool. I have been – fortunately – truly skeletal only once, and in the process of reflecting decay, I hid myself in the outermost planes before the clean bones came, and finally the blessed release handed down by the Law. I spent many ages after this particular episode in the Pool; it is understood by all that the cleansing, healing process is especially necessary after such a Shadowing.

We are the Kyrië. We are born with you and it is our task to Shadow your lives, although we do not die. We live on the Other side of the mirror, where humans do not dream of another dimension touching planes with earth wherever man and nature create copies. For any human on the earth at a given time, there is a corresponding Kyrian, with a surplus of our brethren quiescent in the Pool of Shadows. This is where we go when the physical entity we have been Shadowing relinquishes its spirit. We rest there, and ponder, growing more knowledgeable with the centuries and with each successive Imaging.

We are rational and calm beings. We strive to avoid the tangled emotions of humanity, preferring the role of passionless observers. To be sure, there is an element of discomfort in Shadowing a dead subject before burial or cremation. Without the mercy of prompt disposal rites, the Kyrian must sometimes Reflect, should the Dimensions be touching at the time, decay in itself until the release brought by fire or earth, or the peaceful surrender to water. We do not mind water. It is the quietest end; fittingly circular.

I said as much to the Leader one day. I was between Images and took the opportunity to benefit from his wisdom.

“Why,” I said, “do humans not always consign their brethren to water when they die? It is where they come from, after all; it completes a physical and spiritual circle. It is harmonious on both sides – or so it seems to me…”

I ended a little doubtfully; one is humbled by the Leader’s great age and tranquil wisdom. He looked at me with, I thought, an unusual expression that almost passed for surprise.

“That is a wise observation, child,” he said, “and one for which I do not have an answer. It is not our place to judge what we might consider their shortcomings.”

I was silent a while, sensing a mild rebuke.

“Well then,” I said eventually, “if it is permitted to ask: where did I come from? How did I get here – and all my brethren, too?”

He smiled.

“You ask many questions for one so young. You show traces of what, on the Other side, they call Curiosity – more so than your brethren.”

“Is it bad to be curious?”


“I do not understand. How do we learn if we are not curious?”

“One must be curious about the right things.”

“Including where I – we – came from?”

“You are indefatigable. All right then, as you ask, I will tell you that you came from the splintering of sunlight in a raindrop – the prism effect of light refracted in water. You are leaping fire-in-water. You emerged at either sunrise or sunset, in the last split second when the earthly sun rose or fell at the horizon’s rim. You are the stuff of mirrors and dreams and beyond. On the Other side, you are Shadow; a breath of drifting smoke, without real substance but of changing form. You are another part of the Pan-Dimension – essentially wise and beautiful and untroubled by what They, on the Other side, call emotion. You are the fire’s smoke; water; air – three in one simultaneously but without sufficient particles to give substance, and untouched by ache or pain.”

“But – I have seen my Subjects fall and bruise themselves, or been cut and bleeding, and I have correspondingly reflected that in my self. And somehow – I thought I felt their pain.”

“No!” said the Leader sharply. “Do not say so. You merely experienced discomfort as a concept of which we are objectively aware, but cannot participate in.”

“Can not – or May not?” I ventured boldly.

He shifted slightly and his aura changed. The Leader’s face took on a forbidding expression and the rainbow covering in which he had garbed himself gave out deep grey and purple hues. If I had been human, I thought fleetingly, I think I would have been what they called Afraid.

“Child,” he said gravely, “I have spoken to you of the Law. Do not let me speak again.”

Then he closed his mind to me and left me in the Pool with those who did not ask my questions.

= = = =


An editorial note:

I was travelling alone in Europe once when I was younger and while on a train in Italy, I was listening to the lyrics from Mr Mister’s ‘Kyrie Eleison’. The chorus is:

“Kyrie Eleison

Down the road that I must travel

Kyrie Eleison

Through the darkness of the night

Kyrie Eleison

Where I’m going will you follow

Kyrie Eleison

On a highway in the night.”

‘Kyrie Eleison’ means ‘Lord have mercy’ in Greek, and while I was on the road alone and listening to a song that I really loved, the seeds of the Kyrië story were born.

You can get the lyrics here and see them perform in this clip.

The house that sang to me

We weren’t planning on buying our present home – it took us by surprise. One day about six years ago I drove past a house with a for sale sign outside it. I looked up at the house – it’s on a bit of a rise – and caught my breath.

It was singing to me.

I want to live there, I thought, with a sudden longing that took me by surprise.

So I drove home and told my husband, “I drove past this house today and it sang to me.”

“Uh oh,” was his succinct response. Sometimes he has a sixth sense about these things. Anyway, it was on show the next day and we went to see it.

It was one half of a semi-detached with a view over the West Melville Koppie in Johannesburg. It had wooden floors, pressed ceilings, a stoep that has to be called a balcony because it’s too nice to be called a stoep . . . there was lots and lots to love. And it had a view!

We discovered that about ten years previously, the existing house had been subdivided and both sides renovated, and now we were interested in number 12A.

So we thought about it and two days later we put in a provisional offer, subject of course to being able to sell our existing house.

All went well and four months later we were moving into the house that sang to me. It sang to my husband also.

We were quite happy and singing back when the owner of the other side decided to put his place on the market. And then we discovered that we had inadvertently bought the house next door.

When the original renovations were done, there was a mix-up at the deeds office and the erf numbers were swapped. And because a person’s property is legally assigned according to an erf number, we had bought the house next door, which had just been sold.

In essence, our neighbour had just sold our house and we were now squatting in his.

A year later – not to mention lots of heartache, paperwork, yet more lawyers’ fees and worst of all nobody to sue, we finally retoasted our new house.

The house that sang to us. Now officially ours.


(extract from) Colour me blue, not grey

I like musicians. I like the passion they have for their music. It’s the over-riding colour in their lives; the vibrancy; the soul. Most of all I like rock musicians. Their particular brand of passion strikes chords in my own soul. When I first started hanging out with the band, my horizons expanded again.

“Dig that riff!”

“Listen to that sequence!”

“If I could write a song that makes someone break out into gooseflesh the way I do every time I hear this song… I’m telling you I could die happy!”

The musos I know are essentially gentle people. Four men make up the band and eavesdropping briefly on their lives is always a treat. An evening with Aneshree, Mick and company gets me out of the grey sameness my life has been taking on lately. Three of the group sport long hair and scruffy clothes and with all of them, the preferred drink on these occasions is usually beer or whisky, with music the overriding goddess. With a superior album playing in the background, the conversation is interrupted every now and then to listen reverently to an instrumental section or a piece where the vocals seem to soar into a higher realm – gooseflesh stuff indeed. Their girlfriends – it must be said! – are sometimes left out of the conversation for large chunks of time, but they’re never far away from being appreciated with a quick caress of the hair or a lingering gentle kiss at the right moment. This I observe with a smile as I sit happily cross-legged in a chair letting the music and conversation wash over me.

I met the musos because I work with Aneshree, Mick’s fiancée. Mick is the bass player and after Aneshree and I became friends it was an easy step into the band’s inner circle. Lately, I’ve found my thoughts being interrupted by visions of Francois, the singer, but I still haven’t felt myself ready for anything new despite Aneshree’s hints about how much he likes me. The memory of my last interlude is too sharp. So in the meantime, I’m happy to read his latest lyrics and keep promising that in return, I’ll show him my paintings one day soon – but not quite yet.

“What exactly do you paint?” he asked me the last time I was there.

This is a difficult question to answer.

“Uhm… I sort of paint emotions,” I said after a long-ish pause. “If something touches me deeply I put it onto canvas. Like you with your lyrics, I suppose. So mostly you see people in my paintings – not landscapes. But they’re not coloured according to reality most of the time – my people are usually sort of blue or green depending on the mood. Anyway, I put my emotions down onto canvas through pictures of people. That’s the best way I can describe it.”

“Ah,” he said, smiling. “So just when are you going to let me see these paintings?”

This was definitely striking a still-raw memory.

“Uhm… one day” I said. “Maybe.”

He gave me a sharp look.

“What colour are you right now?” he strangely said next.


“Come on – don’t think about it – just answer off the top of your head. What colour are you right now?”

“You are odd! All right – colour me blue then. How about you?”

“Yellow,” he said. “Happy. Is blue happy or sad for you?”

“Both,” I said with no hesitation. “Happy and sad, depending.”

He laughed.

“You really are not helping me here! That’s a very contrary answer. All right – so when is blue happy for you? And when is it sad?”

I thought for a minute and said, “I’ll tell you about the happy but not the sad,” and then launched into the story of those glorious wonderful scary moments in the sky last year.

Man that feeling

Up there, earth below you and above you only sky

Sky and parachute like a great friendly bird taking you back down to earth on your own personal flight through wonderland

When I’m not here with the musicians and their music, my life is turning grey

I miss the aeroplanes and the sky

Life is so boring without blue skies

Must get back into it I miss it so much – even the crazy fear you put up with because it’s followed by the promise of the purest ecstasy I’ve ever felt in my whole life

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