Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Sunday 9th August

There is a place on the farm the kids call ‘ice heaven’. It is a bend in the river where there is a perennial seepage and which gets no sun, particularly during winter. Each year, there is a layer of ice on the rock – sometimes quite thick really and sometimes very extensive. Whatever the conditions, the kids love ‘skating’ down the ice and trying their luck at staying upright and not getting too, too wet and cold.

Every year, inevitably, they come away with not only wet bums, but just about wet everything.

Today, we went to ice heaven. This was after a rather wonderful feast at the Guest Farm braai, where you really can eat as much as you like – and you do!

There were few reasons for doing the long walk up the valley, including trying to balance out the amount of food consumed at lunch 😉

It was easy to tell that this winter has been so much milder than last year by the amount of ice (or not) at ice heaven. Still, skidding on, and down, the frozen patches was great fun. It rather reminds me of negotiating patches of life, where one false step could bring you down, or could just add to the excitement.

We all came back from the walk up the valley tired and excited – and so very much more refreshed having had the chance to walk in the sun and wind and fresh air. Oh, and to slide around getting wet and cold just for the sake of being, well, wet and cold. And intrepid.

This place definitely feeds my soul. On the way back from ice heaven, we had to stop at my favourite place in the whole world, where there is a large rock that galumphed off the mountain long ago and landed at a rather amenable picnic spot. It is a kind of pilgrimage to climb ‘The Rock’ each time we pass it. I mean, what else does one do when there is a large piece of mountain just lying there? 😉

Having had so much happen during last year, it is always a good thing to be able to take any opportunity to feel at peace and to feel our souls breathing. Even as I have dealt with losing Mum and the cancer thing, the moments I have had (like climbing the rock, like just being here at the farm) have given me other kinds of strength and have reminded me of the other things in life we all need. And can find if we just look around. And take the time to climb, or look at, or just to see.


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