I've never been much of a gardener but it seems as if the older I get, the more my plants like sharing my space with me. I'm even contemplating a trip down to the nursery. I think it's time to invest in more colour, the fact that my clivias and the agapanthus have survived and actually flower more prolifically year after year, indicates that it's time.
I feel as if the colour in my garden is nature's gift to me, there certainly is something therapeutic in watching something develop from a little bud to a beautiful fragrant flower!
I am busy monitoring an an even bigger miracle in my kitchen at the moment.
On a whim I stuck a custard apple pip in a pot plant together with the existing tenant of the pot, a Dracaena Lemon Lime Cane my mother gave me. And lo and behold, a little plant has actually popped up. At the moment it has four and a half leaves and a super slim little stem. I have to assume that this is a baby custard apple tree, unless it's a weed of sorts that found it's way into the pot.
I choose to believe it's a custard apple, the timing is just to weird for it not to be. I'm going to try my absolute best to keep this one alive and well - I really do love custard apples! A photo journal will have to follow soon - I'm just so scared I'll jinx it by making too much of a fuss but if this has a happy ending and eventually results in fruit on the table, I will be one happy gardener, not to mention a believer in miracles!
Here's one of the most beautiful Agapanthus in the garden - new life in all it's glory!
This week was also very much a week of giving for Cape Town. The last three days thousands of shoe boxes filled with Christmas presents for underprivileged children were taken to collection points. The initiative is called the Santa's Shoebox project, you can read all about it at http://www.santashoebox.co.za/. The idea is that shoe boxes are filled with age appropriate gifts, wrapped up and dropped of at points all over the country. Each and every box goes to a specific child that you have chosen beforehand according to age, gender and school. This way they ensure that every child, in every school or home that they have picked to participate in the project, receives a gift this Christmas.
They started with 180 boxes in 2006 and this year more than 30 000 boxes have been pledged! What a wonderful way to ensure that kids, who might not have received anything this Christmas, also share in the joy this year!
As the heading says, this week was also about discovering new pilgrims. I have met the most interesting man in the virtual albergue that I belong to. His name is Fr.Picardal. He lives in the Philippines and has just recently walked the Camino Santiago. This is how he describes himself on his blog intro: Biking Priest, Professor, Theologian, BEC expert, Pro-Life & Peace Activist, Healer, Occasional Hermit, Tai-chi practitioner, Marathon runner, and Doctor in Sacred Theology (Gregorian University, Rome).
What drew my attention to him initially, is a video he posted on the site of himself, playing a guitar and singing a song about the camino that he had composed whilst walking. More amazing is the fact that he walked a great deal of the route without wearing shoes!
I have asked his permission to post his video on my site as I think it is just delightful! I almost think that it could become the official camino song - I found my own feet tapping along from the first time I heard it!
Before I post the video, I thought I'd post a piece that he wrote on his blog. He reflects on his camino and I found it very inspiring. This is what he has to say:
'There are three important phases in a pilgrimage.
The first phase is the preparation - a time for planning and preparing (physically, psychologically and spiritually).
The second phase is the actual pilgrimage itself.
The third phase is the post-pilgrimage stage which includes a time of prayerful reflection, reentry and going home.
The third phase is as important as the first and second phase. We should not rush to go home and forget what we have just experienced. We need time to go over deeply what we have gone through, observe the changes and transformation in ourselves (physically, psychologically, and spiritually) and sum up the lessons and insights that we can bring to our life.
This is what I am trying to do as I live in solitude in my hermitage. Hopefully after this period, I can share my experiences with others and apply to my life what I have learned in the Camino.
The Pilgrimage did not end in Santiago de Compostela (the field of stars), it was not the final destiny, neither was the Finisterre (the end of the earth) overlooking the deep blue ocean. Our whole life is a pilgrimage to our final destiny - beyond this life, to the Divine Source of life. Meanwhile, the journey and pilgrimage continues - within ourselves and in our daily struggles to make this world a better place to live in.'
This is exactly what I am hoping to get from my own camino. Fr. Picardal lived in virtual solitude in the mountains for two months after completing his camino as part of a seven month sabbatical. I am discovering, as I talk to pilgrims, that there seems to be a need to reflect and be silent after the walk.
I totally understand that and as part of my planning, perhaps I will do good to allow for a weekend of solitude after my walk.
Next I will tell you about a pilgrim that I have met closer to home. More about that, as well as Fr. Picardal's video tomorrow...