FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2013
DAY 20/40) Trees For The Forest!
How far can you go into the forest? That question was in my Science final exam, Pretoria Boys High School, 1970. (Or was it Biology?) Worth 5 marks! I paused. Then with my pen dotted for myself a forest, and before I was half way through the answer came to me. Ha! Does it now to you too?
On this 20th day (out of 40) the half-way point seems very much a fulcrum. I entered this forest on Friday the 1st of February, two weeks ago, and momentum has not stopped. Well, not quite. Between 3:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. each day there are some necessary moments of comparative inertia. One must ‘take a break’ to refuel. So there is of course breakfast, mid-morning coffee, lunch, late-afternoon tea, and then around 6:30 or later even yet another pit-stop for dinner. Then energy is re-invigorated, and some three to four hours of focus on the task at hand precedes bedtime. To sleep, to dream. Only to repeat the pace all over again the-next-and-the-next-and the next day.
Like debarked blazes on the trees in the forest trail these precious days need demarcating or else they shall slip by into the oblivion of time unrecorded. I prefer not to find myself in the middle of things, disoriented. We do tend towards becoming lost, lest we be aware, conscious of our beginning, let alone our end point. The quotidian diurnal is our nemeses; we cannot escape its tick-tock of similarity however we may choose to differentiate our perceptions and try to drag time out, or to make it go faster. Yes?
Ringed around me, this forest of the present comprises well naméd trees. Distinct individuals, though of the same geneses. There are eighteen laden down stations, each clearly labelled: Sir Arthur; Wife Denise; Maman Angêle; Uncle Walter Tittle; Douglas; Pat; Denys-the-twin; M’Lady Nancy; Denys-the-husband; Linda; Diana; Ian; Fiona; Nick; Perry; Boy; Flinds; Friends and Faces; and... Well, I am only half way through the record and examination of individual phylum and genus. Each alone represents a sentinel to a complex past. Cross-fertilized, yes, but each is strong and unique. And ensconced within the centre of them, their detritus now all ringed around me, I am but at the half way point of the time allotted to the discovery of each, and all. My task (as bruited from the first day) is comprehensively not only to record their individual significance, but to render their collective presence into M’Lady’s Memoir of this Forest of Illustrious Treasures. Thing is, it is not just the solid and self-evident trunk of each tree gathered here that is examined, it is each species branches and the many offshoots of twigs and leaves. Then there are the birds that roosted; the seeds that have dropped; the laurels worn; the weathers of misfortune endured; and the friends and faces significant to each of their having once been. This is no petrified forest (though all but three of the family are deceased). It is a living organism being revitalized as fodder for the future.
Which part of our lives is the half way point? For Nancy, soon to be 91 on April 01, 2013, that median moves each year. To make our daily journey fresh and vital becomes the quest. If days be trees in a forest, or so too for the people we meet, then the very distinctiveness of each makes our trek not only interesting, but noticeable, vital, invigorating, and... traceable.
We each leave significant records of our growth. With ever-enlarging rings within our psychic centers we spiral upwards in circles of aspiration, repeating and repeating the process until it is time for our own selves to yield up to yet other growth in this forest of life. And we can but reach for the light, or do we stunt ourselves too much in another’s shade?
'How far can one go into the forest?' Why, only half way, before one is headed out again! Ha!