Yesterday, after the hike, I walked along the promenade and for the first time I felt my great grandfather in a very tangible way. Kind of looking over me, having my back, giving me a gentle nudge forward. Perhaps the mountains had popped my senses open....his presence in the people I passed, something about the bustle of strangers, stirred a recognition in me. I saw him as a child digging his heels into the sand. I saw him watching the ocean, dancing to a song yet to be written.
This morning I woke up with excitement, headed to the National Archives for Western Cape. I hoped to find his name, trailed through huge books of handwritten dates, but It was not amongst the pages. Documentation began the year he was born and for so many it just wasn’t practised or familiar to write someone’s name when entering the world.
I am reading a book called ‘A Field Guide To Getting Lost’ in which the wonder of the unknown is explored. The book talks about how intuition and emotional response serves as well as fact and logic in the journey of losing and finding oneself. How closely loss and gain dance together.
‘...To forget the past is to lose the sense of loss that is also memory of an absent richness and a set of clues to navigate the present by; the art is not one of forgetting but letting go. And when everything else is gone, you can be rich in loss.’ - Rebecca Solnit