West Coast: A Place and a State of Mind

West Coast moments. Photos: Denise Crawford

Sometimes I think that the West Coast is not only a place but also a state of mind…

Our weekend road trip had to end with a meal. But where would we have it? In some chic little restaurant asking the equivalent of a small country’s annual budget for a meal? The answer was a no-brainer.

We’d buy takeaways and eat it under the trees. The trees we had in mind were the ones towering over Mamre’s historic Moravian mission station. And so we headed there purposefully, and took up position on a bench facing the church.

We were in Heaven… Or on its doorstep. “Can you hear the silence?” my friend asked. He was multi-tasking, eating his fish and chips and listening to the silence.

The silence was silky
I stopped eating my smoortjie and did the same. I could  hear the silence. It was soft and silky. It was hard to listen to for long, attuned as I was to machines that go ping and beep and thump. I tuned out the silence after a minute or two of listening and focused on my smoortjie again. The Spar had given me enough to take on a trek to the Andes. Why hadn’t I stopped them? Greedy guts!

My friend recalled all the times that he’d been to the church. He’s attended it with a passion. He’s gate-crashed weddings and funerals. He’s watched the band play outside the church and watched the funeral cortege snake up the hill, to the cemetery. Solemn thoughts. And then the balmy air drove away the thoughts of mortality, and my friend sang a bit. Quite fittingly he sang a few snatches of a love song. It was that kind of outing, you see. Simply sublime.

One does not get such moments often inside one’s house. One gets them when one hits the road and feels that life, and all its possibilities, are busy unfolding in front of one.



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