Saturday, June 7, 2008

facing fear and walking on down the line....

my how time flies? don't you love it? flying time? i am unsure, myself. the last time i wrote was wednesday - about elephants. . . had the gig on thursday which seemed to flow, a good crowd and a beautiful new moon hanging behind the people, the fountain and the frangipani tree - late in the west. yeah.

i have been thinking about this exact moment since thursday morning. it seems to me that i write a lot about scarey things. or things i consider scary but not really. they are realities. but if you think too hard about them - bloody terrifying! you know, kalahari ferraris doing surprise raids from the shadows, charging killer elephants (no, no dumbos or silly little walt disney bambis), killer stomach bugs, performing in public and i haven't even started on the robbers in the mangos and under the mulberry trees and broken mirrors and bricks in my bed, snake encounters ... and lions prowling past my door, towards my baby, in the dark and me crouched by the door praying like hell, promising my world to whoever, whatever higher powers that may exist - EVERYTHING EVERYTHING - if the lion stayed away from my baby sleeping in the outside rondavel (round hut) . please make the baby not wake up and cry, please please please - keep his dreams sweet, golden and quiet. don't let him cry. please go away lion, please go away. the baby cries. i hear him on the baby monitor. i hear the lion breathe. i hear its footsteps in the dark night, outside my door - between me and my life, my baby. i run into the dark night, towards my baby, my everything. i sit on the bed, still, barely breathing, listening. listening to the thunder of my heartbeat in my ears. listening to the hint of lion footfall on dry leaves beneath my window. the flutter of lion breath. i drink whisky from the bottle with the .375 loaded, across my lap. i sit next to the small cot next to my bed, knowing i do not have a clue how to shoot this weapon, but if that lion comes near my baby, my life, my everything, i will stick these double barrels up its nostrils and shoot it....cold dead.
no. i haven't even touched on that. on that and lions in the long grass, fires in the sugar cane...but i have brushed on witchcraft and its hideous acts. why? am i trying to scare you all? scare myself? impress someone? everyone? well actually, i'm not. i love telling stories! ghost stories are a speciality. i can scare myself with my own reflection. the stories seem to brim to the surface as i blog. tales and visions which beat like wings against a cage.
"face your fears," i tell myself. i say to myself, "they make you feel so alive. so alive. so real. walk through them. dive through them, jump through them. do whatever it takes. it brings me closer to myself. it is liberating. its that letting go feeling."
living in towns, there are different fears. like going to the ATM at eight at night. getting stopped by the police. being followed. hmmmm. nasty. nasty stuff. human fears. breaking glass in the night and sirens. and gun shots.

its death. it colours life.

elephants. yeah. they scare me but i love them more than rainbows. and chocolate (well. that's pushing it) - the rumble of leviathon stomaches, the rush of air from an elephant breath, the quiet, quiet snap of a twig, the impossible softness of a giant elephant footstep, seeing their great wrinkled selves pass inches from your nose, in the moonlight, stepping gracefully through and over the tent ropes and the solar panels, holding your basket of potatoes elegantly in its curved trunk. moon on ivory. water falls in throats and curled trunks...

i will never forget the elephant eye in my window one morning, the sun rise catching it, pure amber - for a brief moment, then it was gone. i knew it was meant to be. i knew then that i would never forget that moment; that in fact maybe this was the one thing i had come back to see. this was why i was here at this moment in time. to see the amber eye. i had dreamed it.

elephants crowd my memory, my excuse for living, my dreams.

there is one fear i refuse to even let in the door. its about my kids. its the fear of losing them. its too monumental to even consider, to look at it - in the eyes. but it lurks in the shadow, this dark menacing, hooded, scythe-bearing fear, until i shout at it, scream at it and chase it out into the great african sunshine with a broom - and i see a whirlwind rushing, spinning crazily across the dust courtyard, pick it up, pick this loathesome, sickening fear up and suck it into the sky where it came from. where it belongs. with my dead mother.

the power of visualisation is immense! so healing. thoughts are so powerful.

so i attended the boys inter school cross country this morning, with dear, dearest close friend S from Lamu, Kenya. we go back years, her and i, through thickets, babies, splintered hearts and lives, mad starry nights, laughter, snorting laughter over farting, lying by the fire and talking talking late into the night about our worlds, our lives - oh yup - she is one of those friends and i feel so lucky to have her staying - with all her kids growing up - like mine - like weeds. i love the thought of her and mo and all the kids shopping the markets this morning. they have all trooped off to the mitumba (the huge second hand clothes markets) with dear mo (Queen of Salaula (pronounced sal ah oolah - z to find woolie hats and scarves and boots because the two older girls are going to climb mt kenya this next term.

rubin and daniel ran unbelievably well this morning...with all their hearts and mights. the boys from kilimanjaro are magnificent athletes. east africans are known for their athletic prowress. daniel and rubin are great, great sons. they can do the squeedgy. they are african.

near the end of rubin's race, he threw whatever he had to give, to push into third place and tripped as he was about to pass the other runner. like the ice skater falling. oh my heart. his heart. what a moment. to watch him, mother me, standing frozen, breath held. to watch him pull himself from the grass and gravel, under the flame tree, under this great skyscape, look upwards, his face torn, his knee bleeding, and run to the finish - my boy, my child, my baby. so i hung back from rushing to him. i watched him through the crowds, his crumpled face. i watched him lie down. arms and legs asunder like the da vinci drawing of man, a wheel. and was about to go to him when i turned around and saw my dear friend s - with brimming eyes. so i cracked up. so there we were, the two of us, in the shadows of the flame tree, fighting back the tears. pathetic! its not him falling. its the heart. its seeing The Heart of Someone. it blows me away everytime. everytime.....but then again i have been known to cry watching baby nappy ads .....
(photographs: credits to daniella, craig and richard the canadian)

Kitchen Board: Saturday Morning: 7 June 2008:
Contributors: Veronica and OTB

Comments: OK so we forgot to update friday to saturday. i had a willing model though, in the shape and light of OTB. he made sure that i knew his dad had said: " I don't have to smile if i don't want to." so. we popped him on top of the silver rubbish bin - it was a little scarey and wobbly and um, high. remember his nickname is Mr Unguka (sp?) Hapa (i fall here). he seemed perfectly brave and surfed his fear, tubing it and popping out unscathed at the end. he popped over to see the horses but " they aren't in their cages...?' and the reason why, dear OTB, is because naughty mwali and godwin are riding them and were bust showing off on the road by the factory going faster than i suspect they anticipated. unfortunately i was the car which passed them. . .

snap snap. there you go darlin'!

toodely pip. and week-end njema (swahili for the day - good week-end!)



Dumdad said...

Enchanting, evocative post. So much to fear, so much to enjoy. There is a moment in The Lion King when the son says to the lion, "You're afraid of nothing dad!" He replies, "Yes, I am. I'm afraid of losing you." We're parents, that's how it is.

Fear and how to face it. It's a battle everyday in some ways. I sometimes recite in my mind this incantation by a secret sisterhood, the Bene Gesserit, from the sci-fi book Dune by Frank Herbert:

Litany against fear

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

Dumdad said...

P.S. Is that a glass of red wine you're holding in the bottom photo?

Mickle in NZ said...

My mutterings against the now Wellington Winter seem feeble compared with what you have, and will face. your positive nature helps to lift me from my current depression (real, clinical, as always I don't realise I'm in there till is profound)
Weird what helps lift things - I just sang along to Ethel Merman on the radio "I hear singing and htere's no one there/ I know just whats the matter, my heart goes pitter patter.

Of course with Etheyl, as long as you hit the nore, your voice can be as raucous as you like.

Stop, Michelle, enough from you.....M Might just hunt down Ethel M on U Tube. Guess who is single without kids
Huggles, always to you, Mickie, the Mickle

Janelle said...

ah is suspect there is nothing feeble about a wellington winter M!! and dear dumdad!indeed it is a glass of red wine...and thanks for the piece on fear...beautiful.
as the dalai lama says:

if you're worried about something and there is something you can do about it then there's no need to worry. if you're worried about something and there is nothing you can do about it, again, there's no need to worry.

remember. life is supposed to be fun! thanks for visiting and for COMMENTS! hooray! xx janelle

Diana said...

Ah, yes. The universal, unspeakable fear: the loss of a child. Were I an actor, all I'd have to do to summon tears would be to contemplate this and the tears would flow like the rivers.

I love your visualization to banish that worst of fears. I shall have to come up with one of my own, but more in keeping with my Wisconsin (just below Canada) locale. Maybe being blown away by a blizzard? Not a tornado, though, we've had some the past few days and I think that'd feed the fear.

Janelle said...

yes yes. blizzards would do it....all swirled and blizzarded away and frozen in out of space....thanks for visiting and reading diana! x janelle

Chimera said...

Dumdad siad it and I say it...evocative and lovely writing Janelle! Gorgeous and profound and still so sweetly funny. your writing reminds me of cooking black pepper on pineapple on the braai! delicious.
But on a serious note I am also thinking of you facing such things as elephants and policemen, lions and ngangas and wishing you courage and sanctuary.
Tanvi x

Janelle said...

ah thanks T!!! and ooooh yum pepper and pineapple in smoke...eish.xx

bellananda said...

thank you so much for starting this blog and sharing your world. i found you via riana lagarde's blog ("these days in french life") and haven't been able to put the laptop down until i swam through your whole blog. lovely, stream-of-consciousness style writing and i look forward to seeing more! :)

--bellananda in kansas city

Janelle said...

thanks bellananda for visiting..will pop onto yours now! hmmm - dreaming up next posting...something about Early Birds NEVER get the worms in Arusha Tanzania....ouf! x janelle

Ernest de Cugnac said...

How nice of you to visit the God Diaries and like them! I shall have to go on writing now!

Loved yours. Lived in SA, but it's no longer wild unless you go to the parks.

Miranda said...

Aaaaah, I've done it.
Honest comments please (but put kindly if they're horrible!)

quatrepattes said...

I haven't had time to read this post, although it looks amazing, I will read it tomorrow. I just wanted to let you know that I have tagged you to write about some 'places you have called home'. See the 'instructions' here:
hope you enjoy it, I can't wait to read some more amazing stories from you,
Lune x

bellananda said...

actually, my blog is here. it's mostly been friends-only as, when i need to blow off steam, i bitch and moan about my job on there (besides plotting and planning future endeavors) and don't want any of my coworkers to get clever and find it. (*grin*) however, i've been in the process lately of going back through entries and opening them up, so i do hope you visit (eventually) and enjoy it!

also, my boyfriend and i recently ("recently" being a year ago now [good grief!], but we're still completing odds-and-ends projects, decorating, etc.) completed a complete gut-and-rehab of a 1922 house, and created a blog for that here. that's always been completely open, so there's more to read (and loads of pics) and you're more than welcome to visit that if you like as well! :)

Janelle said...

ah thanks bellananda (is it bella?) will peruse...! for now gotta rush into shitty town - millions of boring chores...yuk. whoa. gotta shift the negative. gotta shift the negative...jeez. and LUNE, thanks!!!! will go see! need to post again..just hectic here at the moment..crazy! thanks thanks thanks you all for popping by. its great! lots love x janelle

Miranda said...

Bolloks, left you a comment earlier but its vanished. Thanks for your help with the fieths today. Look forward to reading your post on the great Arusha tyre heist (if indeed you write about that!) And if not, still look forward to reading your post. love them.

family affairs said...

GORGEOUS piece of writing...and look how many comments you've got and where are you? That's the longest so far that you haven't blogged for...not bored already I hope Lx