Oh what a difference a day makes! All of a sudden, there's this sense of purpose, of urgency, of 'yes, we can do it' – and this isn't the US and we don't have a 'we are doing it' leader at the helm – but that's what the new year will do to you. Even though in reality, nothing much has changed since last year, erm, yesterday for the majority of us, other than possibly a babbelas that is taking some time to work off….
Maybe it had something to do with the fact that it was a Blue Moon with a partial eclipse – now, how often does THAT happen at New Years? Or maybe everybody had just had enough of what most had claimed to be a really k*k year and were glad to be seeing the back of it.
Whatever it was, this is always a good time to take a look back at what the year gone by held for us. For somebody who’s not all that interested in the news (of course, a bone of contention in our house as my husband’s a photo-journalist), I can only relate to the news that had a direct effect on my own little home in the Big Smoke.
The biggest smoke was of course the demise of the aforesaid man’s beloved Ducati Monster, which went up in flames in Diepsloot when the police, who had designated parking for the press, went on lunch, which proved to be the ideal opportunity for all those who until then had been ‘peacefully protesting’ the lack of service delivery to go on the rampage and torch the bike. By all accounts, from the international press that were there, the scene was almost exactly like one out of “District 9” (yes, the movie that caused all the trouble with our ‘neighbours’ up north, those that have now made Hillbrow into a suburb of Lagos!) How this would help the demonstrators get water and sewerage out of the ANC councillors, the Lord alone knows, but they must have had some idea – mustn’t they?
But once the haze had cleared, we realised that we are still incredibly fortunate compared to the majority of people who inhabit this country – and really glad that for some reason I’d had the foresight to have SASRIA cover for just this occasion. I’m sure, at some stage, the insurers will get it together and pay out… Fingers crossed!
An event that may have passed many by, but proved to be a great teaching experience for our twins was the precious collection of sacred relics of the Buddha and many other Buddhist masters which toured the world during the year. Heading to the Lam Rim Buddhist Centre in Cottesloe to have the family blessed was certainly worth it – and the girls managed not to dissolve into giggles with the ‘om-in-um-oh-in’ from the monk giving the blessing over their heads. These relics were found among the cremation ashes of said Buddhist masters and resemble beautiful, pearl-like crystals and are believed to embody the master’s spiritual qualities of compassion and wisdom and are deliberately produced by the master at the time of death. Would have been nice to get all the hectic, stressed, road-raged people to come and find some peace – but thanks to the Maitreya Project for spreading the word! The project is based on the belief that inner peace and outer peace share a cause and effect relationship and that loving-kindness leads to peace at every level of society — peace for individuals, families, communities and the world. A good thing to reflect on not only at New Year, but also pretty much every day, methinks.
Obviously not being a news hound, things like cultural events, sport and dance, music and all the entertainment related things (like tv) which pretty much make up the world in which I live and work were the things that got noticed. They may not happen in Johannesburg a lot of the time, but getting out of Johannesburg to spend some time at Splashy Fen in Underberg with its amazing line-up of music, or heading for Durban in the middle of an icy Highveld winter to have all the locals shaking their heads at these weird Vaalies taking a dip (well, it was warm for goodness sake!), taking a three hour drive to the middle of the Free State to spend some time at the Holy Trail (a seriously fabulous mountain biking spot somewhere near Fouriesburg) or sending the man off to Afrika Burns in the middle of Tankwa, Karoo, certainly make living in this mad, hectic city bearable.
And that’s why we’re so lucky to be here. It’s so easy to go off somewhere completely different without too much hassle, too much trouble, or too much expense. Yes, mostly the talk from people we bump into is hey, what an awful year 2009 was. And it was difficult for so many, not just here, but worldwide because of the economic climate. But hell, most of the time getting a positive attitude towards everything that goes down around you (and boy, can it go down sometimes!) can make a world of difference. It’s a thing to do not just when the calendar ticks over to a new decade, but every day. It’s not something to be considered once in a blue moon after all….