The weather in Cape Town appears to be mirroring the rest of the world in that it is completely unpredictable. Can you say ‘Climate Change’? Last weekend was really relaxing, yet really busy. If you are working at something you enjoy then it is not really work is it?
Norm finished the grouting in my little shady patio area and I worked at tidying up my back fairy garden. I tried to distribute the bark that Norm had bought but it was so hot and it was too much physical effort for me to climb around the trees and plants so I sort of half-heartedly chucked a few handfuls of bark around and then went in to the shade as it was a crazy hot day and then Norm finished it for me once it had cooled off a bit.
We gave the grout a bit of time to set and now we have put the new metal chairs I bought there, I just have to wait for my table to arrive and it is all good to go.
This has been an eventful week in regards to the pets. It started with Blue kitty when we discovered a horrid big tick on his jaw bone. The skin looked all inflamed but armed with a pair of gardening gloves and an alcohol swab we managed to remove it and put some medication on him. We then administered his flea and tick meds and found an even bigger one on his shoulder. Treating a cat is not easy.
Last Sunday night Finn was out in the garden on his own and we heard a yelp followed by some whining. But these are also the same noises he makes when one of the cats slaps him for being an overly invasive beasty so we just called him inside. He was hopping a bit on his back leg and I felt all over him and felt what seemed to be a tight tendon over his leg. The hopping stopped and Norm told me I was imagining another ailment. When we woke on Monday Finn was not himself. He looked very downtrodden instead of his usual happy self. I knew he was not right. Norm had a meeting on Monday and when he got home Finn was awkward when jumping and Norm finally agreed to take him to the vet.
The vet said that Finn has a mild strain of his right rear knee joint. The problem is that once he was given anti-inflammatory meds and it was no longer sore he became his usual self, bouncing off of everything. I was sitting outside when he launched out the front door, took the pool steps in one leap, then flew up about 5 feet to try and catch a squirrel at the bird feeder. #WhiteDogsCanJump So much for taking it easy on his leg! We cancelled his dog walker for the week to rest his leg and for now he seems right as rain but we will keep an eye on him.
On Monday evening Panda started coughing. As regular readers may remember, he has COPD and a collapsed trachea and sometimes the mucous makes him cough and hack in a horrid sounding way. It is quite stressful to hear as you want to help him. He seemed to settle when we went off to bed but he woke Norm who had to get up and walk the floors with Panda up on his shoulder like he was trying to burp a windy baby. We took him in for an injection which always helps him but this time it is not lasting and he is coughing and gagging almost constantly. The vet says there is nothing we can do about it other than try and manage the symptoms as his heart is failing. When not coughing he is fine, trotting about the house following Norm, eating and keen on the evening ritual of everyone sitting around Norm for a treat fest. It is so hard to watch him struggle and if we think he is in pain we will have to review what is best for him. At 12 years old he is an elderly little fellow in dog years.
It was Pixie’s 13th birthday this week too. She is about half deaf and has cataracts so can barely see. It is so hard when your beloved babies get old.
We also had a few days of protest in our village and we stayed in to avoid the drama. The months-long dispute between the City of Cape Town and minibus taxi operators over impounded taxis reached boiling point on Thursday when angry protesters took to the streets of Hout Bay, causing massive destruction as they went along.
The rioters hurled bricks at passing cars, poured petrol on other vehicles, and burnt tyres in the vicinity of the main circle in Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay. This is ironically just next to our police station.
To deal with my stress I started watching a new series which is absolutely ridiculously nonsensical and total and utter trash, i.e. right up my alley as a relaxation destressing aid! I started with the Australian version, The Real Love Boat Australia.
When I was young I remember my family all sitting around the telly watching ‘The Love Boat’ and it was cheesy and fashionable, much like the 70s to 80s decades when it was filmed.
The new version of the show is a reality dating series and has a group of young women and men who pair off and those who do not get picked are chucked off at the next port. They alternate whether the women choose a partner or the men choose to keep it fair. There were some toxic men and some insecure women but that is probably a representative sample of reality.
The thing that came to mind when they stopped in these beautiful locations and dined in these amazing restaurants, is that my actual day to day life is full of such beauty and fabulousness. I have the most amazing views right on my doorstep and the most exquisite restaurants to choose from so close to me. It makes me very aware of my privilege. When you live in a gorgeous environment you can take it for granted but I never do. I sit in my garden and stare with amazement at the mountains and beauty around me.
Do not think that because I have a life of privilege now that I have always had that. There were times while trying to obtain my divorce that I was living in a tiny holiday town on the coast of South Africa and surviving on scraps from the kitchens of the restaurants and pubs where I waited tables. I had absolutely nothing of any value. My rent was paid at that time by my ex-husband but he did not have to pay any maintenance or support and I had not worked since we had left Los Angeles. Since it was such a small town there were very few jobs available so I took what I could get. At least if you worked in a place that served food you could take home some of the things which were left over at the end of the night.
Maybe my empathy is from the trauma of those years of just managing to survive but I get emotional over the strangest things. I love following auctions and I often view the items on sale when they announce new lots. This week there is an auction of the goods from a pawn shop that has closed down. I expected to see some very valuable things people had pawned but instead it was utter rubbish. Used earphones, old fishing rods, even a set of old cheap pots. That took me down the rabbit hole of sadness that someone had so little that the only item of value they had to pawn out of desperation is of so little value. If I open up to allow all of the sadness and desperation of so many people into me I will drown in that sadness.
Once, I had anxiety.
A mind that wouldn’t stop.
Thoughts that wouldn’t be silent.
So I stopped trying to silence them.
And I dropped out of the mind,
and into the Earth.
Into the mud.
Where I was held strong
like a tree, unshakeable, safe.
Once, loneliness cut deep.
I tried to distract and numb myself.
Ran to people and places and things.
Even pretended I was “happy”.
But soon I could not run anymore.
And I tumbled into the heart of loneliness.
And I died and was reborn
into an exquisite solitude and stillness.
That connected me to all things.
So I was not lonely, but alone with All Life.
My heart One with all other hearts.
I also read something this week that said that those who have been through a lot of trauma are well suited for doing healing work as we have such deep understanding of trauma ourselves. I am finding my way out by looking back to my ancestral roots, NOT to my past.
We all break, it is just the results from putting yourself back together that matters in the end, the beautiful composition of the mosaic that is created from the broken shards. The universe needs time to assemble our mosaics as we need time to understand how we want our story to play out.
Norm often reminds me that not everyone is on our same journey. I then remind myself that some may miss the enlightenment train completely in this life. I need to celebrate my own progress and not compare it to anyone else’s.
I am still honouring my Ancestors every morning by praying to the 4 directions, above (Grandfather Sun) and below (Mother Earth). It sets my day in a way that focuses and calms me. One morning this week I finished my prayers I looked down and saw a HUGE black grasshopper who was no longer for this world.
I apologised for Finn murdering him (Finn loves to eat grasshoppers) and said a little prayer for him and went to move him off into the bushes.
It was then that I discovered that it was actually a root. I spent 5 minutes apologising to a tree root. One of my friends said that this experience was a perfect way to describe who I am which I thought was quite sweet.
I have been thinking about my new drumming group and this week I advised the drum chief that I am dropping out. The dance is early next year and I am unable to attend the rehearsals for the rest of this year so I will not dishonour the dance by being unprepared and as I mentioned in my last blog, the situation was stressing me as was some of the energy around the circle. I drum for connecting to my ancestors and to honour them, however I realised I do not need anyone else to do that and I have been drumming on my own more often. I may even round up a few local friends for a casual drum circle at my house. I am putting the idea out there to Spirit and if it is to be, then it will be.
Now, as mentioned in my last blog, I will attempt to fulfill the request from my Ancestors that came through in my recent drum journey, to tell the truth about our history. This week I will enlighten you about the true story of ‘Thanksgiving’. It has been over 400 years since English Pilgrims and Wampanoags allegedly sat down to a three-day feast in a territory the immigrants called Plymouth. The holiday dates back to November 1621, when the newly arrived Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians gathered for an event regarded as America’s “first Thanksgiving.”
In school American children are taught that the Pilgrims and the Natives all had a jolly big meal together and maybe played charades or board games after. But this is another false narrative from those who want to alter the reality of their own ancestral shame. By emphasizing peaceful coexistence between newly arrived English migrants and the Wampanoags, annual celebrations of Thanksgiving have minimized the violence inherent in colonization.
There are so many inaccuracies in the myth around Thanksgiving. One is that history doesn’t begin for Native people until the Europeans arrived, however people had been in the Americas for at least 12,000 years and according to some Native traditions, since the beginning of time. At the time of their first contact with the English in the 17th century, they were a large confederation of at least 24 recorded tribes. Their population numbered in the thousands; 3,000 Wampanoag lived on Martha’s Vineyard alone. By pretending that American history started with the arrival of the English is a way of dismissing the history of the Natives. The second is that the arrival of the Mayflower is supposed to be the first contact the Natives had with the white man. Wampanoags had a century of contact with Europeans–it was bloody and it involved slave raiding, disease and death as the primary gifts from the Europeans.
The story actually begins in 1614 when a group of English explorers sailed home to England with a ship full of Patuxet Indians bound for slavery. They left behind smallpox which virtually wiped out those who had escaped capture. When the English returned to America they found only one living Patuxet Indian, a man named Tisquantum (aka ‘Squanto’ the 1st incidence of white people not attempting pronunciation of people’s names?). Tisquantum had survived slavery in England and could speak English. He taught the settlers to grow corn and to fish, and negotiated a peace treaty between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Nation.
As word spread in England about the freedom, land and opportunities available in the new world, religious zealots began arriving en masse. They seized whatever land they fancied and captured the strong young Natives for slaves and murdered the remainder. However, the Pequot Nation had not agreed to the peace treaty and fought back. The Pequot War took place between 1636 and 1638 and was one of the bloodiest Indian wars ever fought.
In 1637 near Groton, Connecticut the Pequot Tribe had gathered for their annual Green Corn Festival which is the Indigenous day of celebration of the corn harvest. In the predawn hours the sleeping Indians were surrounded by English and Dutch mercenaries who ordered them to come outside. Those who came out were shot or clubbed to death while the terrified women and children who huddled inside the longhouse were burned alive. The next day the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony declared “A Day Of Thanksgiving” because 700 unarmed men, women and children had been murdered.
Abetted by the ‘success’ of the attack on the unarmed Pequot, the colonists and their Indian allies attacked village after village. Women and children over 14 were sold into slavery while the rest were murdered. Boats loaded with as many as 500 slaves regularly left the ports of New England. Many male Wampanoag were sold into slavery in Bermuda or the West Indies, or on plantations and farms run by colonists in New England. Bounties were paid for Indian scalps to encourage as many deaths as possible.
“Following an especially successful raid against the Pequot in what is now Stamford, Connecticut, the churches announced a second day of “thanksgiving” to celebrate victory over the heathen savages. During the feasting, the hacked off heads of Natives were kicked through the streets like soccer balls. Even the friendly Wampanoag did not escape the madness. Their chief was beheaded, and his head impaled on a pole in Plymouth, Massachusetts where it remained on display for 24 years.
The killings became more and more frenzied, with days of thanksgiving feasts being held after each successful massacre. George Washington finally suggested that only one day of Thanksgiving per year be set aside instead of celebrating each and every massacre. Later Abraham Lincoln decreed Thanksgiving Day to be a legal national holiday during the Civil War — on the same day he ordered troops to march against the starving Sioux in Minnesota.”
It is understandable how the Wampanoags today remember the Pilgrims’ entry to their homeland as a day of deep mourning, rather than a moment of giving thanks and why the Indigenous people do not want your damn turkey.
Today I am cleaning as we have friends coming around tomorrow. I’ve already cleaned my bedroom and sorted out the pile of dozens of pairs of sandals piled in the corner where I kicked them off.
I am in a bit of a heavy place emotionally but hopefully I can snap out of it by tomorrow. I am going to cleanse my ancestor altar and burn a candle for them next and then Norm and I are going to watch a film before I attack the kitchen. I hope you all have a good weekend and week ahead.
Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxxo