Reflecting on time

December 2013

Everybody has gone home

Hours ago

My office windows are wide open

As always

Blinds completely open so as to maximize my view of the garden

While I’m working

It’s pitch-dark outside

And quiet

No trucks on the road next to the railway

No dogs barking

No rooster crowing untimely as they so often do when I sit here at night

Madiba has died

Earlier this evening – while I was taking a bath – I listened:

“Reconcile: Bring together”

Then I came back to my fortress: my office

I suddenly also wanted to be done working

But then I came to sit down

And history ran through my mind

I’m way too slow to write it down

Perhaps just a line or three:

My parents on their farm – departed so long ago

Mountain tops holding on to the yellow sun where I sat on our stoop as a young child, watching how everything lingered on into the night

The sound of tractors drifting off into the night on its way to the farmers’ overnight stores

The sound of nightlife

There was a day when Verwoerd died

I was but a small child

Nine years old

I stood outside, watching how farm workers cried over the man’s untimely death

What did I know about race and class?

Then we only lived for the bread on our tables and the joys of childhood that would eventually pass…

History jumps back to my quiet office

I feel the silence of the night – piercing

I don’t see any streetlights outside

Almost as if they have also decided to wind down

It’s over: the year is at its end

One terrible year for some

One great year for others

Mixed feelings about that

I can’t prophesy

The future simply arrives

Time and again

Without telling you what it has in stall for you

You walk into our offices – every day someone else – but sometimes, more than once, you

You have a need and you share it with us

When you stop before passing my open door, I read the message on your face

It grips me

It oftentimes changes me

I want to share with you,

Appreciative of the relationship:

Thank you.

It is a privilege to know you and to be able to work with you

I never want to take the relationship for granted

I want to give you my best – each and every time

And to those who will never walk past my office door again

Whose breath and dust became one with nature

To you I want to bow my head

Our day will also come

When we will go

Where you are

To all who can look forward to a new day

It’s a time to light candles

To look around you

To appreciate life

How will we know when the day is our last?

May there be great things awaiting you

In 2014

And throughout life


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