Tunneling a path through fire

This week Tina Schell of the esteemed Lens-Artist quartet ponders about paths inspired by the path of hurricane Florence:

Your path may be literal, such as I’ve illustrated in today’s images, or figurative, giving us a glimpse into the direction in which your life is moving.

This is  a wild buck/ animal path. No path especially those of animals should be devoid of vegetation.   A few brown leaves are visible, which wasn’t completely destroyed by the veld fire.

After reading Tina’s post I was unsure which path my brain would follow – literal or figurative. Go read her post and you will also ponder which path to pace.

The synapses in my brain immediately created neural (no neural not neutral) pathways connecting Path and pathological. Often pathological is associated with a mental condition but in reality each and every member of the medical profession needs to be pathological. Pathological comes from a Greek word, pathologikos, which means “treating of diseases” — pathos means “suffering.” Anyone who studies or treats diseases,  in essence uses the path “ological”.  The usage is therefore much wider than the psychological applications, but that doesn’t diminish the destruction a pathological liar causes to relationships.

Pathos is also a technique in art (visual or performance art) that stirs up emotions of pity, sympathy, and sorrow. Many speech writers (read political leaders) use pathos rather than facts or logic to appeal to the emotions of an audience – but let me not go there now.

Photographers,  due to the nature of the animal will at times unintentionally or purposefully create pathways to Pathos. For instance imagery of 9/11, the effects of hurricane Florence or “merely” a photo of a bird with a broken wing tend to trigger an emotional reaction in the human psyche.


I was purposefully skipping the 3.9 km Huguenot tunnel by using the longer Du Toit’s Kloof pass. The Huguenot tunnel goes through the mountain while the much lessor traveled Du Toit’s Kloof pass over the mountain and besides it has it has its own shorter tunnel where you can stop and take photos.  My first stop overlooked the eastern entrance of the Huguenot tunnel

After a few captures I climbed back in my car and noticed for the first time the traffic police officer about 800 meters from me. As I came closer his gesticulation became quite frantic in signalling me to pull off the road. I got a speech worthy of a school headmaster. He told me that he couldn’t believe my arrogance, as in full view of him I decided to pull of the road at a very dangerous place to stop inside a yellow line (oh yes I forgot to tell you that), to casually take photos. My actions put myself and the public in danger.

I supposed I could have gone into teenager mode and tell him that not even one car passed us during his Oscar winning performance, but I didn’t. I apologized, told him that I honestly did not see him because if I did I wouldn’t have parked there. However I realize that the absence of a traffic officer is not an excuse to transgress the rules of the road.

And I shared something personal. “I just love taking photographs and it makes me feel better when I am feeling down“. He accepted my apology and let me go with a warning. I thanked him sincerely.

Tunnel times twice

Focused green

⇑My next stop was at a designated parking place on the Eastern side of the Dutoitskloof tunnel built by Italian prisoners of war during and directly after World War 2.

⇓More recently a fire was fought in this area. The scorched mountain can be seen in the direction of Worcester. During this fire the safest place to be was probably inside this tunnel.

Focused nothing

A river runs through it

⇑Taken on the Worcester side of the tunnel. The trees next to the now dry river were spared offering an unusual image.

⇓ Taken on Paarl side of the tunnel. Similarly the river stopped the the fire’s attack

Earth and moon (Blommeland vs Gifappeltjieland)

This path leads to light

⇑This year the tunnel is 70 years old. Maybe somebody should give it a face-lift by removing the limestone deposits (but that would detract from its photographic beauty). I also note that on the left wall somebody scribbled the political path they are on.

A plague celebrating the relationships built

None of these 1 500 P.O.W. could have imagined it would be on their life paths to be sent to Africa to come and build a mountain pass. Many decided to make South Africa their permanent residence.

  • Enemies by political association
  • Friends by human interaction
I think the opposite of Proverbs 10:12 can also be true. The wrong path depending on our reaction can lead to life. But the original certainly applies.
There is a pathway before each person that seems right, but it ends in death. Proverbs 10:12

32 thoughts on “Tunneling a path through fire

  1. I always smile when I see your name Abrie as I know I’ll enjoy a good read. Of course you did not disappoint! I did laugh at your escaping a traffic ticket, and at your silencing of the teenager within 😊. I enjoyed your meander through the pathology of path-making and path-following. But my favorite story was the path of the POWs especially those who decided to stay. Well done my friend!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Tina, I do enjoy your delicious dissections (but o, the pressure being put on me by the connoisseurs!)
      Today at moon rise I took a few photos which may find there way into a post. While meandering among the small grasses and puffy clouds, the birds and fences, the soft light – I couldn’t help but feel as if I am on a barrier island inhabited by connoisseurs!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dankie Abrie vir die inligting en die lag. Ek het jou verkeersbeampte storie baie geniet. Daardie laaste tonnelfoto is soos ek my die dood voorstel…. dis ‘n besonderse foto.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As a student I was a guide in the Cango Caves. I told the tourist the roof of the cave varies between 20 and 120 meters in thickness. “That does not mean that the roof won’t cave in – it just means that you will be quite flat it it does”. I know I was such an inspirational guide…


  3. Always a treat, Abrie, your posts! I must say …I also break rules in order to get a good shot – but never in front of a traffic officer…And after many years of trying to teach students the noble art of speech – There is a lot of pathos…around.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Leya. So you break the rules!? I am staring to understand why you have so many names 🤔😁. I wouldn’t mind to be taught the noble art of speech by you, although in my case the results may be ignoble… and pathos abounds


  4. I enjoyed the tunnels the most. They remind me of trips to see my grandparents. We had to go through several tunnels and as a child it was especially amazing that we were actually going through the mountain. Good choice for the challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

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