Laying the Past to Rest

By Pippa M.

This evening my husband and I came home from 3 days in the north of the country on a game farm. It was a strange thing, being there, not 100 km from where I spent most of my childhood, riding through the Kalahari bush that I had not seen in nearly 30 years, all the almost forgotten birds and the animals.

Some weeks before I left I had been feeling very despondent about my capacity to beat this addiction thing. In the drive from Johannesburg airport to the northwestern border of the country, so many memories came flooding back. Riding past my now dead brother’s old property. Seeing all the acacias, all the grass.  All of it was almost too painful to bear. I decided that I would never make this struggle, it was going to defeat me for sure, I do not have it in me.

We spent many hours in the early morning and evenings, riding around in an open Land Rover with a game ranger. Many times I thought how nice it would be for you all to see real Africa this way. So many animals for whom life is just the now. No searching for some greater meaning, more understanding, more sanity. Just the now. Where living and dying has nothing to do with choice. Where each creature has its place in the food chain. One morning we came across a pack of seven wild dogs. These one doesn’t often see. They were on a hunt, circling, scheming, trying to find a young buck or other prey. We followed them some three hours, until we lost them. I wasn’t sad we hadn’t seen them find their meal, since they often start eating the animal before they have even killed it. It is so hard to face how cruel nature really is.

But there were many other things also. A huge herd of elephant, and us being mock charged by the matriarch. A mum black rhino not ten metres away, her young calf suckling. Giraffe, impala, springbuck, kudo, gemsbuck, eland, wildebeest, a civet.  Saw no big cats though. Warthogs romping in the water hole just outside our cabin. A bateleur eagle with its vivid plumage. Many many birds.

None of this is going to help any of you with your addictions, but it might help me. Reclaiming the past, perhaps, and laying it properly to rest. I didn’t even smoke the weekend, and when the peach brandy came out, which is lethal stuff and right up my addiction alley (a bit like tequila) I wasn’t even tempted to smell it.

So I survived for now. I don’t think my train of thought makes a whole lot of sense tonight, and I hope you’ll forgive the irrelevant content.

Thanks for being in it together.