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There’s a Painting

Updated: Jun 6, 2023

There’s a painting that hangs in my living room. It’s been there for over 20 years. It hangs opposite the spot by the window where I wait each morning, tea in hand, for the Eastern sky to roll back the dark blanket of night.

The image of the painting evokes memories of riding through the last section of the Freedom Trail from Cambia to Wellington.

Last year sunlight reflecting onto the canvas made me notice something I hadn’t been aware of before. The detail of what that was doesn’t matter. But it did occur to me that riding the trail is similar. Experiences and memories of the various places we pass are ‘coloured’ by weather, time of day, travel mates and levels of fatigue.

There are places that stir within me both good and not so pleasant memories. One that comes to mind is the night spent with Casper at Dooringbos Lodge. We spent a very uncomfortable night snuggled up in a space blanket entangled in the overhang of a thorn tree. It was dark. It was wet. The wind was blowing and it was miserably cold. To be sure it was uncomfortable and the misery of the night only evaporated once the sun came up. But sharing that experience with Casper made it one of the most memorable moments of my time on the trail.

Every time I get to the the place where you cross the fence to begin the Elandsberg portage I look out for that thorn tree and smile. It’s like the painting on my wall. Stand up close and have a good look at the chickens. They are just a few blobs of paint. Stand back and you get to appreciate the genius of the artist. Distance unlocks the rich perspective. When you’re out on the trail and not having fun it’s worth remembering that you’re creating indelible memories that given time and distance away from the trail will develop into rich memories.

Artist: Luther Marais

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