Thursday, September 24, 2009

firecracker .....

life on the hill is brittle right now.

as in dry dry dry. snappy.

as in my lips are constantly chapped. peely.

as in constant crackliness.

as in alarming growth rate in crows feet around my eyes.
as in don't be careless with fire.

droughts are just not funny. not in the teeniest littlest way.
droughts are unemotional haunting unamused unselective skeletal killers.
armies of skeletons ridin' black hosses 'cross the plains.
i don't want to be a weather bore ( or a children bore or a horse bore or a plain bore.)
swifly moving on.

i had to go to a funeral today. to gisella's funeral. she was legendary. she left war torn germany when she was 16. she met and married her first husband, a dashing handsome mauritian who immediately whisked her out to a wild and wooly lake rukwa in tanganyika where he hunted crocodiles for their skins. she told me once that he would spend all the money on fast sports cars then crash them en route to dar es salaam. she had three husbands and five children and thought nothing of letting children eat more chocolate than you can shake a stick at BEFORE lunch. i am not very good at funerals. i don't like them and they always make me feel sad. this time i was fine, until i went to throw roses into her grave and i saw her childrens broken faces. . . it's horrible saying good bye to your mother. horrible.

i can't remember his name. but there is a lovely man who lives down in the valley below. he has lived in london and new york and run restaurants in the capital of israel and probably in the capital of france too. his grandfather fought the nazis (for the russians) and was in a POW camp, (probably auschwitz) and drank vodka everyday. after the ordeal, of course. he recounted these tales over a few espressos at my favourite coffee shop in town, misumbi coffee shop (best coffee served on the planet, by the way) five cigarettes later he said he couldn't understand how anyone here could say they were stressed. or that they were busy. he says we don't know the meaning of stress. for him apparently it's like being on holiday all the time. he is in The Security Business. And Israeli. i'm just sayin'.

he paid for my espressos. which i thought terribly kind.

but honestly it is. stressy and BUSY. and well, full. to the brim. to the edge. to where you're either going to burst into cracks and love. or catch on fire. i have resorted to stiff vodkas and orange most evenings.

although not tonight. not tonight. i am tired and sad. and the vodka is finished. so that's the end of that little problem.

school is intense. teaching is like being on stage for 7 hours a day. but without feather boas, diamonds, fuschia lipsticks and dressing room light bulb framed mirrors. but you do get to meet people like say, PK, who can't string (as in write) a sentence together but is the smartest kid on the block. he draws The Periodic Table during library time sayin' " gaad, this is goin' to take me aaaages to finish....shoooo."
he said This the other day:

" i live to kayak. if i can't kayak i shall rip my heart from my chest and feed it, feed it to the wolves which roam around my house..."
there aren't any wolves. as far as i know. keep kayakin' darlin', i say. for godsakes. he lives down the road. there are striped hyena, though. you usually see them as road kills on the way down to mohammeds. pk ain't no ninkanpoop. no siree.

i take to the saddle most afternoons and of late, walk to the tippy top of the hill every evening; just as the electricity predictably blinks off (yes. as darkness falls someone turns all the lights off in tanzania.) and the sun lazily sinks behind monduli mountains. the dogs leap and dance around me. rootin' around in the undergrowth. i march. the wind whistling in my ears, my hair whipping my face. i march with music in my ears right until the top. and my. how the world lies flung wildly below me, taking my breath with it. there are always surprises at the top. usually there is at least one augur buzzard or a lannar falcon, slicing the last winds of the day. but yesterday, with js bach and M83 dominating my world, there, high above me, lazily floating on the sky currents was a PELICAN. yes. a PELICAN. he was obviously looking for greener pastures. they're hard to come by these days. i think he'll find that the grass is as brown and tinder dry this side too.

i spied a shooting star monday night. not just any old one. a HUGE blazing ball of light hurling its way across the crest of the ngorobobs - bravely fat, pulling a raging tail of red and green brimstone behind it. of course i made a wish.


sometimes things just sidewind you.

Kitchen Board: windy friday night: late september longing for rain 09.

there is something that i will never ever be able to do gracefully.

carve a roast chicken. i fervently maul 'em.

just thought i'd share that with y'all.

toodely pippety ole toot, oh bestests, bis X.X.X. sad lingering ones x j



ewix said...

Such people you run into.
The man sounds wonderful.
Perhaps we do manufacture our own stress.

My first mother's name was Gisela and she left Germany too in 1949 but I don't know where she is now.

Yes, teaching can drain one and drain one.
So I'm impressed by how fully you blog things.
Happy weekend.

alex said...

Sometimes your writing just blows me away darlin. bloody fantastic.

And by christ I LOVE your photos!!!

And I hope your part of the world gets rain.

And rest assured that I, who gets paid to do such things, have yet to "carve" a chicken.

PS And I miss you! xx

family affairs said...

Sorry you're sad and in need of water and Creme de mer face cream which I'm sure doesn't really work at vast expense. Funerals. Oh no. Must bring back very bad sad memories for you. Be happy and have a lovely wild horse ridey weekend and think of me stuck in a boring suburb surrounded by mad ex's (husband's and boyfriends). Big hug Lx

ps word veri is slingn - which is very appropriate for you - relates to horses, vodka and well, just life in general xx

Miss Footloose said...

Our lows make our highs better. It's all right to feel low and sad. You describe it very well.

Your man-in-the valley: there are many of them in out of the way places, women too, refugees from strange or difficult and often interesting lives elsewhere. Sometimes they will tell you their stories, sometimes they hide them.

Your man-in-the-valley offered you his, and espresso too. A little nugget of goodness to put in your memory box.

Lola said...

I wish you rain, happiness and to keep meeting wonderful people like the man of Israel and the boy of the periodic table.

The descriptions of your world are like the sweet Bach music playing in your ears. And with very little effort, your visual words transport me to Tanzania magically.

Any vodka left for me?
Lola xx

Bill Stankus said...

You know, I've been reading your blog for sometime now - and with each posting I have the same thought - I hope you gather all your essays and turn them into a book - you are ready for that, I'm certain.


Mud in the City said...

Wishing you rain, wishing you hugs and wishing you more wish-bringing comets dear Janelle. Your words brighten my day!

Janelle said...

hey elizabeth...oh we DEF make our own stress...its all do with approach. wow. your mother. hmmmm. . . what do you know of her? does it make you feel sad? or long to know what happened to her? xxx j

awwww i miss you too darlin'! delighted to know that you, la doyenne de la cuisine, cannot carve a chicken....! hooah. xxx j

actually lulu..not too much ridn' this week-end...its gone all wonky and mad...and guess what? have been asked to be DJ tonight! never done that before...another one for the CV...must must complete line up. xxx j

ah THANKS lola! and no, sadly the vodka bottle is EMPTY....thank christ. xxx j

jeez bill, ya think so? i would love to one day...find me a publisher!! xxx j

thanks MUD!!! as do yours always..! lots love xxx j

Janelle said...

oh and mizz footloose..thanks for your lovely comment too...! just in case you're thinking i missed you out. yes. he was very kind and interesting. xx j

tam said...

firstly, with a walk like that at your disposal darlin, I have to agree with the man about the stress.
and secondly, why no teaching with the boas and the sparkles, darling? just sayin.

Lori ann said...

Whenever I read your writing I forget to breathe. Good thing your posts are short.

I do hope the rains come, I remember praying for them last year too.
Thanks for your sweet comment, made me smile.
lots love, lori

SafariB said...

Again... I cant say a thing... for it would break the spell.

Yes... you are ready for a book.
Yes... that first photo is amazing.

God I love your writing!!! Your words wrap themselves around my soul. xoxoxo

Chimera said...

A gorgeous freefalling, spiral, golden dust mote of a blog me dear. Your writing is exceptional. Lots of death this week - the elderly begin called up into the atmosphere... Yom Kippur today and although i am only Jew (ish) I think i am fasting for the terrible waste of life. So wonderful your israeli man buys expressos with such love.
Write and keep hydrated and know you touch many many people with your wonderful dancing prose!
T xxx

Janelle said...

tam, ya know, wtf not eh? righto. tommorrow will find that pink feather boa and dangly diamante should go down a treat...not distracting at all. no . no. love you. xxx j

and lori, b and t...THANK YOU oh my bestests....what beautiful inpspiring comments you have left. these kind of words keep me writing. it's true! THANK-YOU and loving ya all madly. XXX j

Val said...

another cracking blog indeed - OMG you can WRITE! and those photos too..exciting stuff. Sorry for the sadness - i think there has been a portal open again recently. Hopefully it closes now. Always a good reminder for those that remain. Your blog is so full of life - a magic carpet ride..I love coming here. oh and carving a chicken remains an unaquired skill here too. Perhaps we should leave it to the stone masons.xxV