As the eastern sky slowly awakes, shakes off the covers and prepares to usher in a new day I find myself alone, sitting quietly at the southern end of Fish Hoek Bay. It’s cold this morning, especially so after the last two weeks of unseasonably warm winter weather. It’s taken me all the way from the house and up to the Fish Hoek municipal boundary to warm up sufficiently on my run this morning but now, sitting on the park bench, all that quickly recedes. All that matters now is this moment, this present natural beauty.
A pair of Kalk Bay fishing boats lie gently to their anchors in the bay, hardly moving at all. There is a distinct and abnormal absence of deep ocean swell. I easily imagine Ocean Blue lying alongside them, her hull and rig reflecting in the calm. Even the waves that manage to make it through to the rocky shoreline cannot really be called waves. It’s as calm and flat as I’ve ever seen it. The Hottentots-Hollands mountains across the water appear close enough to reach out and touch so clear is the morning air and, as the dawn greys fade and morph through reds and yellows, I drag my creaking knees off the bench and fire up for the return run.
Heading back home I like to think I’m running fast but the reality is I’m no longer eighteen nor as fast as I remember. The years, it seems, have taken their toll on my knees and, if I’m honest, I stumble more than run these days. But a little discomfort is no reason to stop and jogging is not an option so I push on, leading the pack behind me, even if only in my dreams.
My thoughts drift as I run along the coast….
“There’s a vicious front headed our way and I hope ‘Blue is secure in her mooring“, “I need to plan another road trip“, “There’s a fence post that still needs to be planted“, “I need to move the plumbing to reposition the dishwasher“, “I need to check what jobs are currently being advertised and secure an interview“, “How do I transport the mountain bike on the Zook“, “Today is a perfect kayak day“…..
The road is filled with cars ferrying their occupants to places of work. All over the city the majority of people fortunate enough to still have jobs are either travelling to work or are already at the office. For some strange reason I feel guilty, feel sorry for them. Despite the lack of income that not working brings there are other benefits. Not many of those I witness in the frenzied traffic could conceivably take an hour out of their morning to watch the sun rise and run the beach. They have places to be, supervisors diligently supervising, clock-watchers fastidiously checking clock-in times. Sometimes I like to think that the freedom I currently enjoy is worth the risk of the looming financial abyss.
Always, in the back of my mind, the cogs are grinding, trying to figure out the next income stream. We live a relatively simple life with few interests but those few interests do still require a certain level of sustainable income. Many folk from my past are stoic enough to sit out their corporate jobs and, sucking up the attendant unhappy bureaucratic crap, hang in for an envisaged better future once they retire with benefits. I was not so strong and couldn’t endure, stepping out as soon as I thought it possible. “Did I step out too soon?” crosses my mind.
I console myself with the thought that those that remain do seem to be dreaming of the life I am currently living. I have to admit it’s a damn good life this running by the beach, this sailing in the bay.
But the “How to pay for tomorrow?“-demon rides shotgun alongside “Happy Me” always ….. !