Running a Sanctuary

Framed photographs cover the one wall in my parents’ home in Plett. Kit stares up at them and most days, once of us picks her up so she can see them properly and we tell her who is who in her family. Some of the photographs are old. We point to a four-year old boy (or thereabouts) and tell her it’s her grandfather. We point to a little blonde girl with a fringe and a bob sitting on her grandmother’s lap and we tell her that that little girl is her “Momo”. That’s me. I’m Momo, which is a story for another day.

Today, I heard my mom telling Kit about another photograph: “That is your great grandmother, skinny dipping at Londolozi. So you see, skinny dipping goes way back in your family”.

Cut to this afternoon: Kit, naked, running in the lagoon on an overcast day. At the beginning of the trip to the lagoon she had a cozy on. She also had an immediate friend, which is a win in any context but for a 13 month old baby, it’s thrilling. Her new friend, almost four year old, approached in her round lilo, announcing that Kit could fit on too. When Kit couldn’t master the mount, she ran off to get a smaller floatation device: A blow-up penguin. This, too, Kit struggled with. Kit doesn’t like to be restricted (by hands holding hers) and certainly not by a tight circle of taught plastic, even if it does look like a birdie. No problem, her new friend, Annie, had other toys. She instructed Kit to follow her where she revealed a trove of toys: Helicopters, surfers, multiple spades…Really good stuff.

After some time with Annie, Jess decided Kit was cold. She thanked Annie for her lagoon hospitality and brought Kit back to our spot on the sand. I made the error of taking Kit back into the water to try get some sand off her legs. Kit took the gap and tried to make a run out of it, or at least a side-ways wipe out into the water – to her delight. Another swim session ensued before we got Kit dry and warm.

Charlotte, the bride that I’m doing a ceremony for on Saturday mentioned to me, when the wedding forecast came up, that her dad says of the Garden Route, “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes”. It proved true at the lagoon. The sun made an appearance and with it, we lost our desire to keep Kit from the water. Off came her clothes.

A group of older children huddled at the water’s edge, digging a moat, building a bridge, finding crabs to populate the abode. A lot of time, voting and town planning went into the project. As we were packing up our things to head home, I heard one of the children say to another, “It’s tough running a crab sanctuary”.

Photograph of the Day: 5 January 2023. That piece of sand – resting between the green and just before the the stair rail – is one of my favorite shapes in the world. On the left of the dune, before you reach the steps, rest the ashes of my grandparents, both sets, and of our dog, Shadow.



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