Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Tuesday 28th July

We have been having a real Winter in the last couple of days, after having a really mild time so far. Added to that, we have been without power (loadshedding and power cuts) for 19 hours over the last 3 days.


Despite all of this, though, things go on pretty much as normal. When the power goes off, there is a kind of ‘Oh’ reaction and then we just go on doing our thing. When it comes on, there is a kind of ‘Oh’ reaction and then we just go on doing our thing. When it goes off again after anything between a minute and ten, we get a little miffed and then go ‘Oh’ and just go on…

Such is the adaptability, I think, of we South Africans.

One of the kids asked me the other day if it is true that some place overseas (can’t remember where) has ‘fences like in Sedgefield’ (i.e. not high walls, no electric fences etc). The answer was yes. What it made me realise is that my kids pretty much know no other – ‘cept for going to Sedge and East London, where Oupa’s wall is about 3 feet high.

I’m not sure if this is a good or a bad thing. I do know, though, that it is something I am no longer even aware of. It’s just how it is.

I wonder, though, what psychological effects it has on people, especially kids. What underlying stress do they live with because of the ideas of the threat of crime?

And yet, in this biggest man-made forest in the world, punctuated by high walls, electric fences and alarm systems, there is so much beauty.

I got onto the water again yesterday. It was a beautifully mild afternoon, even though the morning was pretty damn chilly – extra so on our campus, I reckon. I actually just went to fetch Dani, but the water was so beautiful and everything so bright and familiar and calm, that I could not resist.  It was absolutely great and I was so happy to be back. There really is something about being in a boat on a flat expanse of water just steadily paddling along.

At the same time that I feel a degree of resentment towards this cancer thing that, because of it, it seems to be taking forever for my body to be able to really deal with some good, strong exercise, I also feel quite happy to be able to go out and do the degree of exercise I want to. There is something about the release of endorphins (and whatever else happens when we exercise) that does make me, at least, feel better within myself.

Each day is different. Each step is one that has to be taken and is just that which takes me just that little bit closer to the top of the mountain. Sometimes those steps are taken at a walk, sometimes they are taken at a jog. Sometimes, they are even taken on the water. But they are taken.

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