Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Thursday 23rd April

We have definitely learnt this week that time is a differently-understood concept and commitment and attendance can be transitory.

These are not, of course, ideas that one should necessarily just accept – except when there is literally no alternative, but to have to go with the flow – which is just about the best word to describe the pattern of attendance at the workshop this week, especially today. Uncertain numbers. Familiar and unfamiliar faces. Input, then nothing. That is how the day went today. How is one supposed to effectively shape a session  when you literally don’t know who is going to be there, or what they will have done?

I understand that this is due, in a large part, to the nature of the campus and the size of various departments. It’s just really disruptive to have to deal with, though. It’s also a really good learning ground. Talk about thinking on your feet and adapting as you go along!

Maybe that’s what the cancer thing has taught me, in a large part: to be able to go with the flow, but to adapt as necessary – which may very well mean doing a whole lot of waiting, or just taking what you can when you can get it.

Patience, as I’ve said before, has never been my virtue. When the last of the apparent participants failed to return after lunch,  we rebelled, closed up shop and headed back to Clarens. Why not? No-one was actually doing anything anymore!

In complete contrast is the hive of activity that is our farmhouse – in the process of being renovated by our neighbours. It is looking lovely and will be almost new soon.

There was only one word to describe what the farm looked like this evening: golden. From the grass, to the sunlight to the golden poplars, everything glowed and looked rich and gleaming. It really is the most beautiful place in the world.

I went to the dam to visit the site where the ashes are scattered. I had quite a sense of both Mum and Dad being nearby. Such lovely thoughts and memories.

That is what the farm is for me: such a lovely place, full of such lovely moments and memories. Some of them aren’t even mine, but are those I heard from Mum and Dad over the years and have somehow added to my store to gather as my own. They just make the experience richer, the place more meaningful and the history more binding.

I walked around a bit and collected sticks to make trees for Michael’s play. Such simple actions, such familiar pathways, so much meaning.

Time is, perhaps, after all, very differently-understood when you are coming from different places. There are moments, though, when things change. These are moments that we must grab while, at the same time, looking for and taking to heart new moments and new ways of doing things.

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