Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Midlands Meander

I posted recently about Byron and Adél's wedding. I flew up to Durban, stayed over on Saturday, drove about two hours to Granny Mouse's Country House (en route to Balgowan) along the N3 and back to Durban that night around 10pm. It was a truly whirlwind tour, with my flight back to Cape Town scheduled for 6am Monday morning, and incredibly tiring.

But there were some incredible memories and inspirations to be drawn from the trip. The flight, the excitement of adventuring through Durban - my last visit there having been for the Currie Cup final back in 2010, the occasion of which yielded a revelation that changed my life - the drive through the breathtaking Midlands Meander, the peace resting in the valley in which Granny Mouse's is located, and the realisation that no matter how awesome the journey, it means very little when no-one is there to share it with you.

It was about an hour out of Durban on the N3, headed towards Pietermaritzburg, when I passed a troupe of Vervet Monkeys. Seen by many as pests, and certainly on a trip to Sedgefield years back, I can attest to their mischievousness and general destructive behaviour, I found myself slowing down, wanting to point out to whoever it was in the car with me that there were monkeys at the side of the road. I live in the city. Seeing wildlife along the roadside is something I will never tire of. Hell, I still get excited to see squirrels in my garden.

There was no-one else in the car with me. I felt somewhat sad, knowing that Loved One would've enjoyed the drive, would've enjoyed the adventure, that many stops would be made and tons of pictures taken.

You see, we often forget that the destination is only a small part of the purpose of a journey. While my destination held awesome wonderment in store for me, I still longed for a driving partner. It was only a little two-hour jaunt, but it was a little two-hour jaunt that took me through some incredible valleys, past the quaint town of Hilton, past a troupe of monkeys, alongside a noisy gaggle of Harley Davidson motorcyclists, and saw me being overtaken in a flurry of high-pitched noise and flashes of red and black by some or other gang of Ducati-mounted demons.

For the most part, I found myself reaching over to the passenger seat with my left hand, and finding none to meet it. Words are useless when road noise is whirring through the thin doors of a rented Getz, but the feeling of another hand meeting yours, soft and smooth, is comforting.

When fingers interlock, there is the most amazing sense of calm that betakes one. Solid ground, as my best friend describes it. It augments every experience. Even just walking down a street, sitting in a restaurant, lying on a couch quietly watching crappy TV... suddenly, the mundane becomes sublime.

With the simple application of another human's hand in yours.

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