“For Lent, 1966”

It is my Lent to break my Lent,
To eat when I would fast,
To know when slender strength is spent,
Take shelter from the blast
When I would run with wind and rain,
To sleep when I would watch.
It is my Lent to smile at pain
But not ignore its touch.
It is my Lent to listen well
When I would be alone,
To talk when I would rather dwell
In silence, turn from none
Who call on me, to try to see
That what is truly meant
Is not my choice. If Christ’s I’d be
It’s thus I’ll keep my Lent.

Madeleine L’Engle


Robert Frost once said – A scholar is someone who sticks to things. A poet is someone who uses whatever sticks to him.

I’m covered by beggar-ticksknapsekêrel, my Afrikaans readers. I thought I was no stickler, but the empty entries blurt the truth. I’ll handle the little beggars, one tick at a time.


teaching the dead bird to sing


the title of a book. it called me. i’m into birds lately. so it seems.

” … to perch on a lonely sill, with only myself for companionship… perhaps to be discovered by One capable of teaching me to sing an untimely song in an unlikely place …

… the life most of us live is a lonely one … wandering through our own wildernesses, eager to find a traveling companion with whom we can be vulnerable together.”


extracts. elixirs.


It is a cold day nearing Autumn’s end. My mom is 76 today. Over the phone I heard the tinkle of cups and conversations, the deep whir of my dad’s voice, and I felt peace pulsing  across the ether … six days gone we honored my dad’s 80th birthday … goodness and mercy follow us. I sit on my sill (in reality a doughnut shaped cushion), apron strings hugging my body. Wafts of early morn’s baked bread still hovering (not puffing the struggle with a cold sourdough starter). I listen to the sound of woodwork tools. Timber and trestle, shavings and sawdust – young adult hands dovetailing old wood into new dreams. A self figuring out another self – jigsawing pieces together.

And here I am, seesawing – 27 years older than the young working on his life’s puzzle, and 27 years younger than a lived-life of 80. Perched and cold.

… and rigid fingers start typing, pressing words into a blank space … for some One to read and see, for i remember another’s written words –  for me, to see

…. to break the bread of our lives with one another through any form of sharing is prayer…








1-7 September 2014


It is Zero Waste Week in parts of our world. And I’m staring at tonight’s supper-to-be: frozen chicken – 12 pieces neatly nestled in a foam insulated plastic wrapped tray. The save! value for money! only at this price! stickers catch my eyes, and I know like so many yesterdays’ suppers that it’s not possible to reuse or recycle this warped wrapping. And I know that this supper’s left-over packaging is again going to find its way to Marie Louise, our nearest landfill site.

I could’ve refused the value pack, I could’ve reduced the needed want for ease, I could’ve decided not to eat chicken… I could stop defending comfort.

when a sleepiness of soul makes us value our comfort above all else and ensures that we do not have to confront all this noise*  …

… fleeting thoughts fend while I’m still staring at the frosted pieces. Do I need this moment to learn to abandon what has become comfortable?

And all this noise for chicken… for one meal.

A taste perhaps of a new piecemeal happening.

And I know a peace meal needs no fuss about what’s on the table – that there’s far more to my innermost than the food I eat.  And I meet this sleepiness of soul – the one that hesitates to confront noise, the one that makes me value my comfort… and I see the poverty hiding in wealth wasted.

  When we use things in a throwaway manner, we too, are somehow thrown away. We invite disregard. For convenience and speed we let go of living moments that are our precious life. We hurry towards a deadline instead of savoring a lifeline.  Could we enjoy a cup and really drink from it? Could we peacefully clear our tables and our minds? Could we linger with ordinary objects and discover the prayer in them? Objects in themselves have integrity. We seem to think so when we send them in the mail – Handle with Care – our packages say. Could we learn to do so daily during the little distances that things are handled and moved from here to there? Could we move with care, touch with care, and ever so slowly become care-full? **

Thoughts continue to fleet and fend… and I gather myself together for the uncomfortable.


* Robert Sardello, Silence: The Mystery of Wholeness

** Gunilla Norris, Simple Ways


Of learning

Studies serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability. Their chief use for delight is in privateness and retiring; for ornament, is in discourse; and for ability, is in the judgment and disposition of business…

… Francis Bacon, a man of many a written word, professed. And I confess: If learning is the trap, then I am the mouse – and the learning process – well, that is the bait.

The words serve me well. A steady and rhythmic meditation – from ignorance to competence – fires the need in my hearth. Practicing what I’ve learned, until it matures into a habit, livens and lightens me. Simply put, I do not seek to become the expert –  it is the journey that matters.

Inviting me lately – cheese-making.


The bait was there … and a mouse needed


And you, dear reader, where do you see yourself on this learning journey? Or, what delights you?


ten random things

A conversation started at knitsofacto – a place I often visit:

I started a ‘ten random things’ cascade! My ten random things post inspired others to post ten random things, and those posts begat other posts which begat other posts, and so it goes on. If you join(ed) the fun…Would you play along?

To honor this blog’s reputation I asked myself – what ten random things would be worthy thoughts to treasure?

But, things are not always thoughts – or were they at some point in their existence?


I’ve picked some thoughts Annie (from knitsofacto) shared in one of her conversations – thoughts written by Jack Kerouac – and I hope that they’ll help me change random things into worthy thoughts (but then – do thoughts always have to be worthy?)

... Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind …  Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition … ..  Dont think of words when you stop but to see picture better …  Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in yr morning … Write for the world to read and see yr exact pictures of it

So, I’m playing along.

1. it takes me a few hours too many to write one simple blog post

2.  a camera enthusiast lives with me – it took me a long time to realize, that the aforementioned is not the same as being an enthusiastic photographer (although they look-alike)

3. i’ve tried  numerous menu-planning ideas – to no avail – throughout any given afternoon my mind wanders through the contents of the cookbooks on the shelves, the contents in the pantry, and the forgotten perishables in the fridge – a meal is then created – sometimes never repeated – not because of a lack of interest, appeal or taste (normally quite the contrary) but of a mind that wanders, every afternoon

4. because of the latter thought this blog might benefit from the safe keeping of any such found culinary treasures

5. at this precise moment the vegetable garden provides a feast of spinach for all the kwêvoëls

6. my favorite drinks are wine, coffee, water, tea – one can argue that the words are placed in descending order

7. there’s a smell of burning leaves and grass in the air – it’s the start of a dry grey winter season – i close the doors and windows

8.  i wanted to marry a farmer or a pastor – i married a scientist who believes that life is too short to always be serious – even though i continue to function as the serious variable in the equation

9. at any time throughout a given season one might find an average of 25 clothing items in my wardrobe – i believe there are more balls of wool in my handicraft basket – and i’m not a knitter

10. the smell of burning leaves and grass is getting stronger …  i see the scientist – just arrived from work – with hose in hand: the smell of burning leaves and grass is real and present: a smouldering compost heap in our backyard …  an hour later it rained – the weather doesn’t do rain this time of the year – i pray a not so softly  ‘thank you’


Anybody else care to play along?