I’ll rather be Rathering

According to the Abrie Joubert Definitive Dictionary of Dubious Denotation (DDDD), the word rathering is a noun denoting groups of words which are:

  • acronym-ish (not the first letter of each word)
  • Scrabble-ish (in the vertical columns, only the mutual word is a recognized word)
  • and refer to an alternative to the current reality

As per the example underneath – read cyan first:

In other words Krista of WordPress is asking for photos of what you would rather be doing?

To have a meaningful life you have to live in the moment and not in an alternative reality, but I’ll have to admit that some moments of alternative reality often outdo at least some moments of current existence.

In the December holidays I was sitting with friends on a wooden deck at their home which faces the Outeniqua mountains in George, Southern Cape, South Africa. I mentioned that I would like to go and cycle that afternoon and the communication tower (to the right and middle of the photo)  was mentioned as a destination point but also dismissed for being too far. These amateur soothsayers didn’t know me and I decided to make that my target. That tower was very tall and could be seen for miles on end.

The green green grass of George. Foreign to the Capetonian eye

A soon as I reached the edge of the mountain, the lush forest surrounded me. I couldn’t even see the tower but it didn’t matter. I was alone in nature and enjoying it. Riding a myriad of zig zag paths. I got to a rail track and literally drove on it, (between the tracks) a first for me. By this time I was way past the tower to the right. From the tracks I saw a path leading upwards and back in the general direction of the still unseen tower!

After about an hour on this path, I noticed that the front tyre was loosing air. This had never happened before. These were tubeless tyres and contained slime (sealant). I have seen the sealant in action before, when it sealed 23 punctures caused by thorns when pulled from the tyres and I was able to ride on. Thus I didn’t bother with a pump or manual patch and solution. My common sense told me I should turn back while there is still air in the tyre, but my sense of adventure told me that my common sense is common… There is a reason why common sense is sensible though and it should not let itself be intimidated by sticks and stones…

I cycled further with adventure keeping my tyre “afloat” until I had to tell myself that these rims are very expensive… but by then about  60 metres further on, I could see a wall or something and I gleefully pushed my bike towards it. It turned out to be this beautiful old dam. I did make a call though informing my wife that despite having a flat tyre I will be home before dark. It was 6pm and sunset was 8pm. It was theoretically possible if I was able to find the shortest route – maybe…

I would admit having the wisdom of hindsight, that it was not prudent given the context, to explore the dam and take photos for close to an hour. But it was amazingly beautiful. The images in the magical hall of mirrors changed totally each time I pointed the lens in a different direction.

Eventually I decided I better get back to my friend’s home and the hiking part of my adventure started. But the call I made earlier triggered a rescue mission. I was a bit disappointed when I heard my friend’s son telling me that he knows exactly where I am (he drives around all over on the mountain paths with his motor bike).  They would be here in about 15 minutes. I told him that as there is only 1 path to the dam I will be walking down it so long. I got to a t-junction and being responsible enough (sigh) not to miss them waited there. The phone rang again and he told me they are at the dam; where am I?

I saw the sun and the confidence in the son’s voice setting  in unison when he realized that his dam has a wall of soil while my dam has a concrete wall. “I have no idea where you are”. I spoke to his father and told him I am going to try and find my way home, but will phone them when I get to a recognizable landmark. I found my way back to the railway track (but not at the same elevation as earlier) and knew I would find the dirt road which brought me to the track if I keep on hiking and pushing my bike.

.

Well I did find that specific dirt road but with it I also found the last rays of the sun. It turned the forest into a wonder-world which seemed to be on fire followed up by inspiring silhouettes. But I wasn’t  worried by the dark setting in. My friends were looking for me and besides I was confident that I would find my way back even in the dark.  Had I only known…

To be continued.

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55 thoughts on “I’ll rather be Rathering

  1. Now THIS is an adventure and a half! BEAUTIFUL photographs – I love the one of the natural forest especially. Well, the ones of the dam too AND the setting sun lighting up the pines … don’t keep us in suspense for too long – I want to know the rest SOON!

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    1. Ek was aanvanklik onder die indruk dat die munisipaliteit en huisboners biljoene op kunsgras spandeer het want die gras is dan groen!! Vir ons hier in Kaapstad geld die die idioom van die gras is altyd groener glad nie meer nie. Die gras is altyd groener as hier punt.

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  2. Nee, nee, nee! Jy het alles gedoen wat jy nie moes nie, Abrie. Ek voel weer daardie benoudheid toe ek in die woestyn verdwaal het. Jou foto’s is pragtig! Ek hou asem op vir die uiteinde van jou avontuur…fools rush in where angels fear to tread. 😉

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    1. Daar is ‘n bewering dat iemand met my persoonlikheidstipering nie maklik ‘n magseer sal kry nie (maar baie veroorsaak…). Maar my vrou het die aan lekker gekuier by haar vriendin terwyl die virendin se man en seun my probeer vind het.

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  3. Abrie – I can only assume you made it back safely since you were able to write this post. But perhaps you are writing from the hospital where you were taken after you were recovered from the wild woods? or from the insane asylum where you were taken after going on this adventure with no map, no idea how to get to where you wanted to go, and no patch for your bike tyre (or tire as it’s spelled by real English-speaking people). I cannot believe you left us hanging in suspense – although at least you got some amazing photography out of your crazy adventure!!!

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    1. Asylum? Just because I spell tyre tyre. To quote Asterix: “these Americans are crazy”. Of course us Afrikaans- speakers are real English speakers. It is a given.
      When my mother called to university residence many moons ago this conversation greeted her:
      “Good day Gotham asylum for the criminally insane”
      She was unsure what she heard and asked for me
      “Can I speak to Abrie’
      “That won’t be possible – he is in the padded cell…”

      But then all first years were in the padded cell. I will admit this is done from the padded cell, but not because to the alluded lack of responsibility. It is because I am hanging people… (in suspense).

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  4. Adventurous, indeed… a little stubborn perhaps? Masochistic! Lol! A friend of mine told me they’re “camping” this week in Warmbaths. You can camp in Warmbaths? Do we want to join them? My response was “me no camp, mi amiga.” Give me a 5 star hotel anytime. I might hike… like a kilometer, no inclines. Ha-ha-ha! A lot of what you do are simply not easy with high heels. 🙂

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