The cool water runs over my naked body as sweet as a kiss. The river chatters like an old friend. The morning light washes the air clean, leaving no trace of yesterday. I sink down and inhale the silty summery smell of the water. I have a few minutes alone. Two. Four. Maybe eight. I don’t know when I will be needed again, when my name will be called. But I take the time to move slow. To look at the bush stretching up the hillside above. I drink in the play of sunlight over the acacia trees, see how it seeps into the terra-cotta of protruding cliffs. I find a spot by the reeds, in a quiet eddy, with a rock that curves round my hips. I reach for the soap tucked among the plants, dip it into the flow, then bring it close to my face and breathe in its scent of ylang-ylang, cardamom, and cloves. I slip it down my neck, around my breasts, under and over my arms. Now its exotic perfume whispers off my own skin. I am of the river, of the land beneath its waters, of ancient stories and time eternal. I am here, now.
‘Mama!’ Four minutes.
I rinse off quickly and stand up to see my four-year-old daughter picking her way through the thorn trees.
‘Here I am!’ I call. I wave to her dad watching from the top of the path with our six-week-old baby in his arms. When Emma reaches me she stops, momentarily surprised by my nakedness knee-deep in the river.
‘Do you want to come in too?’
‘Yes please.’ She lifts her arms for me to pull off her shirt, then pushes down her shorts and panties. I help her in, and she leads the way across the rocks scattered in the river’s breadth. She is an explorer, an adventurer, and I try to keep up. I show her how to splash water on the burning stones; she shows me what it is to be fearless and in love with the world. I was blessed by my moment alone with the river, and I am blessed by my journey across it with her…
It is white outside. Not the soft veil of mist, nor the rolling waves of fog. Just thick white clouds without relief of blue. It is as if the world has been packed away in cotton wool. From my bed all I can see is this vast nothing. It aches inside me, because I too have been packed away from life. My soul, my essence, my very self. A fresh new reality is settling into my bones, trickling through my veins, seeping from my flesh. My limbs are hollow and my heart stuffed with space. I have been washed away by my new role. Mama of two. Mother to a son. This reality smells soft and feels sweet, but it is also heavy and enveloping. The wide windows of my house wrap around my bed. Only three weeks post-surgery, post-birth, my child and I are nestled deep in our duvet cocoon spotted with sour milk. The large swaths of endless cloud reflect to me my blank-white soul.
Hello and welcome:) I am a South African artist and mama who believes in mindfulness and living on purpose. I love traveling, reading, yoga, leading our family business, and eating delicious food in beautiful places. And tea. I love tea. Pour yourself a cup and settle in for a read.