Winter in the Highveld is not pretty but I love it. It's not snowy and pretty like the European winters in the picture books, instead it's endless amounts of dead grass and harsh blue sky and empty trees. (In fact it's so ugly there is even a song about it.) It's quiet and cold and dead and colourless and its my absolute favourite time of the year. Ever since childhood I have loved it as much as I have hated getting up early during it. Most people I know resonate with the vibrant life and colour of Spring, but me I always look forward to Winter.
Maybe it's because I'm naturally melancholy, maybe it's because I like the quiet, maybe I just enjoy the rich warm food, sleeping deeply under a pile of blankets and being able to wear all my favourite winter things. Maybe its all of that. It doesn't really matter.
Maybe the reason I love Winter so much today is because it reminds me of the beauty and necessity of death. Don't get me wrong, I don't mean that in the way emo teens with too much makeup and a propensity for bad poetry mean it. I have been around enough death to know the despair it brings, the incredible and indescribable wrongness of it. To this day, my dreams refuse to let my departed loved ones go. Even now so many years later in dreams (and sometimes even awake) I forget to remember that they are no longer around and for a few bittersweet moments get to live as if they never left. Yet I do not hate death. I have accepted this ancient dance of the seasons, this eons old heartbeat of the universe. Life and Death, Life and Death, Death swallowing Life, Life arising from Death, destruction and creation endlessly making way one for the other.
In the last year I finally had to do as countless others had before me and face my own fragile mortality. It wasn't easy, I didn't enjoy it and I sincerely hope that I do not have to do it again anytime soon. Yet I am not sorry I went through it because it was a necessary experience I think. I have gone through the seasons from death to life and something in me has changed. Physically I am not who I was a year ago. One year ago I had a tumour that was threatening to end my life (thanks to my own stupidity) and today, almost exactly a year since my first surgery, I am completely clean and cancer free. I lack the words to describe the jumping-around-fist-pumping-Beethoven-listening-joy that fills me with. Clearly, I have changed emotionally too. Because of this, even though I disliked the process, I have immense respect for the cycle. I now grasp better than before the need for the seasons, the need for death and life, ending and beginning.
This blog was born in wintertime about a year ago. I think it too has gone through some seasons and I believe the time has come for some Winter. It's not the blog that needs to die though, it's my concern for it. Back when I started it, I didn't expect anyone to read it, much less enjoy it. The fact that it resonated with a small group of really interesting people around the world came as a big surprise to me. Unfortunately this turned the blog into something it wasn't supposed to be. I started it as a way for me to process my thoughts and especially to try and work though my issues regarding my faith. Unfortunately along the way I wandered away from that and started caring instead about being topical, relevant, interesting - a good read basically. I started caring about being Christian enough for the Christians who read it and skeptical enough for the skeptics who read it. Inevitably by trying to be something interesting for someone else I failed to be true to myself. Therefore I think it is this infernal care that needs to face some winter frost.
I believe in change. I wish to be able to live without being labelled but maybe I should aim more for not caring what you think.
If you are reading this, please know that you are very welcome. If my path crosses yours in this vast expanse that is cyberspace it may be because of random chance or it may be because of predestined purpose - we will never know which it is if we don't take the time to find out. If my journey resonates with you at all then please feel free to say something, I enjoy feedback and comments, even if they disagree with me. But as for me, I am going back to writing for the ghosts.
I spent most of my life as a fundamentalist and discovered Reason much later than I would have liked. I'm still dealing with the trauma and this blog is my therapy. So this is me: non-conformist, heretic, fan of delicious flavour and a man without a home. I’m a cynical optimist and a really angry zen master. I am just a man trying to make sense of it all. This is my life in juxtaposition.