30 May 2021

The Privilege of Movement - and 1 forest elephant

Much has been said of privilege these last 15 months. Truthfully, privilege has been defined not as "easy life" and/or "collected wealth", but rather as a "lack of barriers"; a privilege of movement where others are barred at worst and fear to tread at best. 

Ubuntu is a philosophy centered around me and you relying on each other for defining our "being" through our "doing". That is, if I am selfish we both lose out on relationship; without relationship we are nothing. Is ubuntu the exclusive domain of Africans? Or even of humans or animated beings?

What do you think when you hear the word, "Zoo"? Now just a bit bigger... a game park... or even a national park. Query?

What do you think when you hear the word "farm"? Fenced. Controlled. Query?

Breathe...

Reportedly there is just 1 forest elephant remaining in the majestic forests surrounding Knysna and the bottom of the Tsitsikamma Mountains. Many moons past elephants made migrations North East from there and back traversing through the Baviaanskloof and over the Zuurberg to Addo. This allowed other species to follow suite. Now, this lone pachyderm is paralysed and does not leave the thick forests even though there are some small corridors to travel.

Biodiversity ensues movement. It is symbiotic in nature.

What happens when "civilization" invades? Fences and roads and rails and all manner of "ownerships" were once claimed, fought over and staked out; those aggressions on movement remain ongoing, the poison of the privileged. Animals shot out the wildlife as if they were the parasites. And 1 forest elephant remains.

At worst: nature requires our action for our children to experience half of what we do, or even to survive at all. At best we can begin the healing of the land by encouraging substantial corridors of "green" (that nebulous word describing a return to more sustainable and suitable lifestyles that do not harm our remaining natural resources or each other, and intentionally look for ways to enhance the healing and restorative processes).

The Tusker... a 230 mile (360+km) "run" in 108 hours (4 and half days) from Addo to Tsitsikamma. My "B" goal this year.

It is one of only two events allowing you to contribute to this corridor restoration and the subject of the short film by Damien Schumann and Clyde Berning called The Privilege of Movement. I will be partaking in July 2021.

You can contribute to this healing cause in 2 ways:

  1. Get in touch with me to "plant a tree" through the Community Conservation Fund Africa, or
  2. Donate via Backabuddy.
We all need to do a little bit better. I call you to join me in my support of these causes, please. In fact... its almost a beg!

23 May 2021

May. Green.

May. 

It is nearly time for The Tusker. But this last weekend I watched a couple of strangers, and more than a couple of friends, complete between 50 miles and (nearly) 200 miles at the Mac Mac Ultra! (The best part for me was that I didn't get an earworm - lol... read here as to why).

What a privilege to watch the human spirit toil, train and fall, possibly to rise, or just triumph not quite effortlessly. Kudos to the athletes and the organizers for another fabulous weekend.

I see me in #LancasterLight. I see his mom, #LancasterLovely. I also see a future that I don't like... but one that we can change together, and I ask that you consider getting involved. Next week I'll let you know more details.

It may be our future... it may also be changed up.

May.

What do colors mean to you? My father tells the story of buying what he thought were tan (light brown) shoelaces for a pair of work shoes that required some. My mother played along with his joke until he got to the till... where she let him know they were luminous yellow. His red/green deficient vision is a reminder to our family of all of our "blind" spots. My father handles his with humor and humility.

To me GREEN means life, trees, happiness, grass, flowers, content, and the opportunity to remind ourselves of the important things. 

There are studies on the benefits of flowers and plants on our mental health. How do you feel in spring when someone walks into your presence with a flower... just for you? Have you ever received a flower? Have you given a flower?

Plant that tree... or bush. Water it. Let it nourish your soul. Not just MAYbe... it will change your life.

16 May 2021

One Land Love It: Chubby Unicorn Skin

Coffee. Strong. It is dark; the coffee and the night. I have been invited to hunt a chubby unicorn to collar.

Is the coffee strong enough? Yes. Am I? 

The destination is secret. Chubby unicorns are rare... and hunted for their purported phallic prowess; mumbo jumbo, but it has real side effects.

Extinction - the only one that matters - is exceedingly close. 

And a few choices, some education, and a lot of heart, will make it death or daring life in all its fullness.

5 years ago I was asked to consult on a mad adventurer's trek around the country on a bicycle. It was going to be Christmas, summer in chubby unicorn land. 50 degrees C (over 120 F) regularly, 80 days, 6000km (3725+ miles) and 19 National Parks later he'd done it. Crazy. 

In the 6 months of the campaign, over USD250,000 was "raised" in awareness and spend for efforts to support conservation, orphanages for chubby unicorns (ag sweet, babies!) and anti-poaching initiatives such as this. 

Click here to support and find out more about One Land Love It.

Since then I've run 100's of miles and raised a little more money and awareness for #OLLI. I've joined Sharon Jessop as she set a Guinness World Record (102 consecutive days of half marathons) around Nelson Mandela Bay raising money and awareness for OLLI. And here OLLI invited me on a hunt.

The smell of the reclaimed farming fields, the dazzles and herds, the flocks of songs and twits surround the open vehicle. We've just been briefed as to our roles... I'm going to occasionally make sure the chubby unicorn has a heart beat. Where? 

Underneath the tail. True tale!

A quick hunt. A relic monster with an average phallus is felled with human-lethal doses of sleep-juice.

The excitement of a sleeping tummy hefting slowly up and down at waist height for me (I'm 186cm, 6ft1) is great... for Claire Venn, who wrote the OLLI theme tune, and Jenni Gault (of Jenni Gault Jewellery) it is almost overwhelming. 

Measure the necessary. Place the collar on the ring finger. Give the chubby unicorn a quick manicure.

Job done and we all wake up from the dream reeling. Magic lives in our world because we believe.

Breathe.

Don't stop.

Believe.

Don't stop.

And our kids can too... 

Click here to support and find out more about One Land Love It.

09 May 2021

Trite bites continued

It is said that discipline keeps you going where motivation lacks.

It is said that inspiration wears off, which is why you need to renew it every day.

Trite. Not quite lies, but also not full truth.

Intrinsic worth is not dependent on culture, orientation or pigmentation... but that doesn't mean we should ignore them. It is not dependent on specie or even animation! If it weren't here, neither would we be as we are right now.

What does that mean to YOU and ME?

Sometimes we don't know that we don't know something (tautology is occasionally useful!) And so going into relationship or exploring relationship with our world around us we have to use this quiestion as a starting point:

    "Tell me more about yourself". 

How do I inspire when I don't have "inspiration to give"? 

How do I motivate when all I have is questions?

How do get up and go, when I have a twisted ankle?

Discipline sometimes fails... have a look at my messy desk :) (No, I'm not going to post a picture). 

Will power? I think I removed that from the dictionary!

Dreams? They're there. I can even see the steps. I know I can take the next step. 

Sleep. 

So that I will do.

Tomorrow? There will be other steps to take tomorrow. I may do those then... but today, I sleep.

How long is your shadow?

We'd spent the day climbing. The trees far below seemed small. The stolen clementine had been a sweet treat with which to start the trek...