Learning to dance with life

Old books
Source: https://pixabay.com/en/book-read-old-literature-pages-1659717/

She ran her hand along the row of book spines. The titles were familiar. Some plots still fresh in her mind, others just vague memories …

Volume 1 Wide eyed innocent wonder
Volume 2 Little girl lost – Invisible and observing, how to stay hidden in plain sight
Volume 3 How to lose your identity by following the misguided crowd
Volume 4 The hermit years
Volume 5 Wandering in the desert of the money god – Control, deceit, heartbreak and loss.

Volume 6 was in her hands. Searching for the light at the end of the tunnel –  Friendly strangers, diamonds in the dark, learning to read and speak between the lines.

It felt very heavy now, how had she carried it all of this time? It was a hard and harrowing read, but it also had beautiful and light moments along the way. She was thankful for what she had gained from it. Knowledge she would take with her wherever she went.

She slid Volume 6 into place. She picked up the last book.

Volume 7 – Little girl found – Learning to dance with life, the wonder years return.

She turned the book over and read the synopsis.

It promised to be a good one.

Robin work in progress

Robin work in progress
Robin work in progress

I started this little watercolour Robin on Saturday and spent a few hours on Sunday and Monday to get it to this point. It is done on a tea stained background with torn paper edges, which I love. I am thinking about adding some tea stain back into the soft blue background when I’m finished. If all goes well (meaning – if I don’t mess this one up) this will be my first painting for sale in my new shop.

I love that robins are monogamous. A female will only look for another mate when something happens to the first one. Clever gal in my opinion , one male at a time is more than enough 😉

I have such a love/hate relationship with watercolour. There has been countless times over the past few years that I wanted to throw my brushes out of the window and just quit. But there is just something about it and I always come back to it in the end.

Did you know that water is traditionally a symbol for emotion? I have found that when I’m feeling balanced emotionally I can paint, when I’m feeling out of balance… not so much.

Learning to control the flow of water is the key in watercolour.

Just like emotions it needs to flow, but also needs to be controlled to some degree. Too much water in one go and it causes chaos and floods everything you have worked so hard on together into one big mess. It also forms hard lines when it dries. Too little and it has a harsh, scratchy look to it, nothing flows and blends together.

And so too with emotions. Too much uncontrolled emotion thrown at a situation and it causes chaos. It can flood everything good in a situation and cause one big mess. It can cause hard lines to be drawn between people if we don’t watch out. Too little emotion and life is ugly and harsh.

Art has taught or reinforced so many valuable lessons for me over the years.



River pebbles
Source: http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com/River-Nature-Stone-Waters-Pebble-Pebbles-Rock-823698


We meet many people in our lifetime but not everybody that comes into our lives are meant to stay. Some stay only for a little while and are meant to teach us a lesson, help us figure out who we are, what we stand for, where we fit in or what we believe. Sometimes they choose to leave and we might or might not  know why, other times we are the ones saying goodbye.

If you are the one saying goodbye, whether it’s to a friend, a lover, a business partner or a loved one, please be honest and kind. Honesty is always the best option.

Many times when we later look back at our lives we can clearly see, that what we thought was a tragedy at that moment, was actually a blessing in disguise.



As al wat ons storie op die ou einde bring,

is dat ek my stem weer kon vind.


Dan bedank ek jou met liefde

en vra dat jy met deernis aan my dink.


Twee harde koppe kan mekaar blink poets,

Maar meestal mekaar net verniel.


Wie weet waar ons storie sou eindig,

Maar vir nou sê ek totsiens.


English translation



If all that our story brings in the end,

is that I could find my voice again.

Then I thank you with love

and ask that you think of me with compassion.

Two hard heads can sometimes polish each other,

but usually just destroy each other.

Who knows where our story would have ended,

but for now I am saying goodbye.

Wie is jy/Who are you?

Source: unsplash.com

We all wear masks to a greater or lesser extend.

Some masks are pleasant and kind and loving while we (hopefully) take time to really grow those attributes in ourselves and heal the not so nice or painful parts.

Others wear ugly, angry or rebellious masks because they learned that the world they were in stomped on love and kindness and vulnerability.

Most of us are a combination of both light and dark inside and outside and we need to bring those wounds into the open to be able to heal it. Whether we show unhealed wounds to the world is up to us, but we at least need to show it to ourselves.

When we do however show our vulnerability to the world or a select few, we risk ridicule and shame, but also helps ourselves and others know it’s safe to be ourselves and not completely 100% whole. Who is anyway?

A word to the wise then, choose those that you open up to wisely. Not everyone is ready to accept vulnerability in themselves or others. Closely listen to your intuition to know who to share your wounds with.

The poem underneath is about those who seem so whole and polished and put together that you can’t see behind the mask, even thought you might usually be able to. You wonder whether this is who they became through a wonderfully perfect and for most of us elusive childhood (can there truly be such a perfect childhood when all parents in the end, are perfectly imperfect at their best?), through learning their lessons well or whether it’s just another elaborate mask.

Sometimes you long to see just a touch of raw, unsophisticated humanness to have something to connect with.

Wie is jy?

Wanneer die koue winterson 
‘n uiltjie gaan knip agter die berge,

Lê jy jou imposante masker neer?

Of dra jy hom saam 
waar ookal jy gaan?

Het hy deel geword van jou, 
is hy nou jy?

Wie is jy drie uur in die oggend
wanneer slaap jou ontwyk?

Wanneer lewe en liefde en die wêreld in geheel soos ‘n oorlog lyk?

Glip die masker en word jy weer weerloos, kaalvoet net mens?

It’s difficult for a novice to translate poems from one language to another without losing the feeling and rhythm, so I’ll keep to a more or less direct translation.

Who are you?


When the cold winter sun

lies down its head behind the mountains.


Do you take down your mask?


Or has it become such a part of you, 

that it has become you?


Who are you three o’clock at night,

when sleep doesn’t come?


When life and love and the world as a whole

feels like war?


Does the mask finally slip

and you return to your vulnerable, barefoot human self?

Southern Boubou

Southern Bou Bou (Laniarius ferrugineus)
Laniarius_ferrugineus Southern Boubou Public Domain photo from Roberts Birds of South Africa

I haven’t been able to get into the garden much these past few weeks, except for a few moments here and there with my dog or when watering my plants, but I finally got a photo of a bird that has been hiding in the bushes or one of the macadamia trees in front of my yard for quite a while.

Every time I saw it, I either did not have time to wait for a good photo or did not have my camera with me. It finally landed on one of my water bowls I put out for the birds and I could get a blurry photo from a distance.

Nothing beautiful about the picture but the bird is at least identifiable – a Southern Bou Bou (Laniarius ferrugineus) Suidelike waterfiskaal in Afrikaans. A type of bushshrike:

“They were formerly classed with the true shrikes in the family Laniidae, but are now considered sufficiently distinctive to be separated from that group as the family Malaconotidae.

This is an African group of species which are found in scrub or open woodland. They are similar in habits to shrikes, hunting insects and other small prey from a perch on a bush. Although similar in build to the shrikes, these tend to be either colourful species or largely black; some species are quite secretive.”


I’ve been wondering which bird it was that made the raspy sound!

Interestingly enough I had an intruder in my garden this week and as my dog was barking, it was also rasping/clucking along.

You can hear what I believe is known as it’s alarm call here:

While it’s normal call is quite beautiful:

You can read more about these little birds here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_boubou