I am conscious of stopping sometimes to take stock of my life. Look around. Admire the scenery. Stop to smell the roses (actually, I don't grow any, but I am growing jasmine!) Get a little Zen. That's when my camera comes in handy. It seems that when I have a camera in hand, I look at things a little differently. These upcoming images are the result from such a foray into my garden not too long ago. Note the bright wintery sun lighting everything up with a stark clarity. A trip like this always concludes with the fact that, yes, I am blessed, and live in truly beautiful surroundings. There is beauty everywhere, if we stop long enough to look and find it.
I love how every day, friends on the World Wide Web, post motivational sayings, which sometimes come at just the right time, a reminder or a provocation to do or be a little better than we are. This quote is precious, by the Dalai Lama: “Man surprised me most about humanity. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then his is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”
|A Balinese guardian in the garden.|
|An angelic cherub to guide me along, each day.|
I do not have a lot of things to remind me of my father. That's the direct result of emigrating to a country thousands of miles away. My sister sent me a package when he died, it contained his wooden folding ruler, and this plaque, below. It apparently hung outside his one room cottage in Coffee Bay. It now hangs on my small garden cottage to remind me of his spirit. Thlala Gathle Mdesaleni.
|African wall plaque.|
I peered in the window of our garden cottage and this is the resulting image, the leaves reflected in the glass, with a glimpse of the artwork inside. I love this little recycled cottage - everything used to build it was sourced at a demolition yard in Te Aroha (means The Love, in Maori). From the cladding, to the roof iron and gib board to line it. All pre-used. Second hand. A testament to the fact that objects bound for landfill, can be diverted to make something of use and infinite beauty.
|Reflections of the Garden.|
|Looking inside, from outside.|
|Looking out from inside.|
|A welcoming corner of the cottage - the world on a light-globe, giraffe family from Michael and Brittany, our American helpers, and artwork on wall, by Cam, aged 5yrs.|
|The one bedroom cottage where our Helpxchangers and guests stay.|
Note the light prisms reflecting on the wall.
My husband often jokes that he thinks I might be a Buddhist. No, I am not, but I do love Buddhist sayings, the truth resonates in me like a tinkling bell in a gentle breeze.
"When you realize how perfect everything is, you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky” - Buddha
How often do you laugh at the sky?? It is a practice I can definitely start to include in my daily meanderings. Ha ha ha......
|An old upcycled sandpit toy box, rescued from kindergarten. It contains summer-living outdoor cushions and soft furnishings. The designs were painted by Julee, our German helper.|
|The cottage reflected in our solarium windows.|
For about 7 years, I feverishly created an intensive edible landscape, only something which we could eat would be considered worthy of growing. But I grew up. And older. And then I started to plant flowers. Some could be eaten. But most were just to feed not my body, but my soul. And that sustenance is as vital as the food for the body. I gather joy from looking out and seeing masses of colour which creates the insect highways and by-ways in our backyard.
|Beautiful sun-shiney flowers in a pot by the door.|
|Emerging hibiscus,with snail-like tentacles|
My home space is my haven. My sanctuary from the world. From the busy-ness and business of the fast-paced life-as-we-know-it out there. It was necessary that our home and garden reflect that feeling of sanctuary. Of coming home to a sacred space. Over the years, we have added a little touch here, or a touch there. A momento from travel to a far distant tropical place. Or a gift from someone who has crossed our lives, for a short or long season of togetherness. A token of friendship. So our home and garden are a reflection of those experiences and people.
|Come inside. A knocker bought in a dusty, dark shop in Kottayam, Kerala, India.|
|Mosaic house number, from broken tiles used in our home-building project.|
|Adonis and young acolyte (from Michelle), flanking a South African beauty.|
And of course, we couldn't be without a token of our roots, our African-ness. In honour of those roots, we planted plumbago, a reminder of our first home we bought in Table View, Cape Town, a strelitzia (bird of paradise) that is oh, so Africa, and last year we planted a protea (national flower of South Africa). It is one of those hideously beautiful botanic entities, like a orchid. I find myself stroking it as I go past, and crooning to it; "Hello, my little African Beauty". Must be nostaligia.
|Nature in her finest!|
Let's think ONE. Think BEAUTIFUL. Think LOVE. And don't forget to laugh at the sky!