Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Tuesday 7th July

Sarah’s birthday.

Sometimes, the sheer beauty, magnificence and splendour of nature can be almost overwhelming and can remind us how, at times, it is only possible to respond with your soul.

The sunset tonight was like that. The boys had been at the shops, while the girls and I got ready for having the family to supper. David phoned to say, “Be ready, we are going to look at the sunset.” Just four blocks away, there was the most wonderfully golden, extraordinary sunset over the distant mountains – all of which was reflected in the watery stillness of the Swartvlei.


And a lovely birthday moment for Sarah.

It reminds me, somewhat, of a few years ago, when we were up Gericke’s point and looking towards the coast going off to the West. The afternoon sun somehow conspired with the top of the dune it was peeping over to produce a perfect ‘S’ on the beach below. Another moment when nature just called out ‘Happy Birthday’ to Sarah.

Such moments are rare and are, of course, transitory. Sometimes we manage to capture them through a lens, or on a canvas. Somehow that is never quite the same as the actuality. The true uniqueness and value of each moment like these lie in the fact that they cannot be repeated, can only be experienced once and then are gone, except from our memories.

These are also moments that everyone, no matter who you are, or what your experience, will recognise as being something to imprint on the depths of memory.

In many ways, being a cancer survivor provides a particular frame for approaching life. With such magnificent images, though, no framing is needed – nature does that admirably just by presenting us with the privileged moment.


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