What I saw on my walk

I write these blog posts on a Friday afternoon, based on an editorial calendar that I use to list ideas for future posts.

My rule is: no matter what I said the topic was all those weeks ago, I will just write it, whether I feel like it or not.

But today I just couldn’t. The topic (editing-related) just didn’t work for me. Nothing worked for me.

So I went for a walk, to see if that would get my thoughts going.

It did. I started thinking about the things I was seeing.

What did I see?

The warm winter sun shining on the tarmac.

Green grass on the pavements.

The man who walks his two Maltese poodles every day, and doesn’t greet.

The house where an indigenous garden has been lovingly planted on the pavement.

Two hadedas honking their way from one garden to the next.

A quiet suburban street.

What I didn’t see

Death and destruction and looting and poverty and desperation and fire and shouting and police and soldiers.

But I did also see

The house that is being renovated, where the building has just stopped.

The wall that should have been painted ages ago, and just hasn’t.

The electric fences.

The burglar bars.

The barking dogs in nearly every yard.

The gang-tag graffiti on the walls.

The signs for the armed response companies.

The little girl, playing on her private jungle gym behind the six-foot fence.

A quiet suburban street living in the state of fear and anxiety that is what it means to be South African.

So that’s why I couldn’t settle to a post about editing.

By the time you read this, things will (I hope) be back to “normal”. There will be bread on the shelves of the supermarkets, and petrol in the tanks. And, elsewhere, children going to bed hungry.

And so I hear the words first sung by Bright Blue in 1986, wondering how it is they they resonate still, decades later:

It doesn’t matter now
It’s over anyhow
He tells the world that it’s sleeping
But as the night came round
I heard its lonely sound
It wasn’t roaring, it was weeping
It wasn’t roaring, it was weeping

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Main picture: Nicholas Santoianni on Unsplash

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