Running in our own lane

We have a phrase that gets bandied about in our family of churches – “running in your own lane”, meaning everyone doing what they’re best at, and getting on with it. (Inadequate summary – sorry.) If you’re my generation or older you’ll remember what happened when Zola Budd strayed a little outside her lane in the 1984 Olympics. Interesting facts section: Zola was born in Bloemfontein! After knocking over the American she said she actually slowed down so as not to win the race because she couldn’t face lifting a medal in front of that stadium full of boo’ing crowds. In an interview I read, Zola said she had still never watched footage of that incident – hard to imagine eh?  

Anyway, every Wednesday and Thursday when I pick up Evie from hockey I think about running in my lane, because the hockey pitches are next to the athletics track. If I had to sum up our lane at the moment in one word, I’d say it’s DRY.

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We had a brief shower back in early June but not a drop since. I sometimes wonder if all the scriptures/ poems/ well-known phrases about winter make more sense in parts of the world where winter is dry rather than wet. Winters of the soul… parched lands… pools springing up in desert places…. it all seems more emotive in a dry winter. Some parts here are almost devoid of colour, it’s quite stark. It has a beauty of its’ own but how much more beautiful must Spring seem when it arrives after this?

“Melancholy were the sounds on a winter’s night,” wrote Virgina Woolf. Well, I don’t mind the nights so much because I love blankets and telly. The mornings though, I do mind them, in fact I mind them very much – they can be bitter, and we have to get up in the dark. UGH. Every single time it’s my turn to do the school run I struggle to come to terms with the shock at what is happening to me. I have never been a morning person even in a temperate climate with central heating, double glazing and 2 extra hours in bed before school, and now… THIS?? It’s one of the questions I’ll ask God when I get the chance. Seriously??!! I can’t ‘wrap it around my head’ as my friend Chantalle says. This phrase always makes me laugh because I have always tried to get my head round things, rather than getting the things around my head.

Staying positive, here’s my list of things that are GREAT about winter mornings here in our Lane in Bloemfontein.

  1. My tea cools down nice and quickly, which is brilliant for me personally because I’ve always been one for leaving it a good 10 minutes until optimum temperature.
  2. The stars look stunning.
  3. …….. Nope. That’s all I’ve got. Those stars are pretty special though.

Having got all that off my chest, I would also like to say that we are more connected with the seasons here and I like it. We’re amongst farmers and gardeners – they can smell rain on the wind, sense the shifts of weather patterns deep in their bones almost. We on the other hand are townies through and through. We don’t know our buck from our deer. I’ll never forget the time we requested a watermelon in winter at the supermarket. “They aren’t in season ma’am”, Teboho told us, with impeccable manners and no hint of an eye roll at our ignorance.

Winter here is a time for hunkering down and staying snug. During our time in Lesotho we learnt that people simply wouldn’t come out in the evenings, or even some days, for events – far more sensible to stay home around the fire and conserve heat. Evie on the other hand is having a camp out tonight – we’ll see how long they all last, whilst Isaac is filling the house with FIFA players so the house will be heated up by teenage bodies overnight.

Alongside bread, milk, apples etc we now other staples on the shopping list – moisturiser/ lip balm/ hand cream. It’s all chapped lips, cracked heels, flakey scalps and dead skin here in the Free State. If I stay here much longer I’m going to look like this before 50 …. “Suffering for the gospel” they call it. Ha!

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Photo credit: the legend who is BADDIE WINKLE – one of my role models I follow on instagram.