Saturday, September 10, 2011

And still the box is not full.

John Steinbeck writes this in East of Eden - about the Salinas Valley in Northern California: Once, fifty miles down the valley, my father bored a well. The drill came up first with topsoil and then with gravel and then with white sea sand full of shells and even pieces of whalebone. There were twenty feet of sand and then black earth again, and even a piece of redwood, that imperishable wood that does not rot. Before the inland sea the valley must have been a forest, and those things had happened right under our feet. And it seemed to me sometimes at night that I could feel both the sea and the redwood forest before it.
What a writer.

I've just finished reading Dan Sleigh's glorious Eilande (Islands) - an epic piece of literature about the history of the Cape, starting with the arrival of the Hollanders in 1650. A mere few hundred years ago. A time when you made your own entertainment and there were lions roaming Table Mountain, indigenous cattle, elephants in Paarl, hippos in the Berg River - all destroyed for sport and bacon. (A small cheer in my heart every time a soldier got trampled or gored in return)
I think of these things as I walk the streets of Cape Town. This past Winter has been a quiet one for many in the film industry. Instead of bemoaning this, my friend John took the time to build a theatre in an old corrugated shed. We walked up to the farm last night for the first show. We were enthralled, lost in time. I understood anew why people would want to be actors.
A dog growled on cue.
The silence outside was dispersed by the clicking of a hundred frogs.  


D said...

Hm, never though of it before, but that farm is very Cannery Row.

The Sourcerer said...


... sadly the farm's days are numbered. Andre has been served with a final eviction notice. Within 2 weeks on facebook we raised the R 10 000 needed for an appeal - which is pretty damn awesome, but it will probably only serve as a short reprieve of the inevitable.

D said...

Not really suprising - it really is a health hazard. Who owns the property (SADF?) - it would be interesting to approach it as a more formalised organisc farm/job creation thingy. I'd play...

The Sourcerer said...

I fear another gated community like St Johns. I'll miss hearing the horses whinny early in the morning.