Change, it seems, can hang indefinitely in the air, remain silent in the corner like an unacknowledged guest, biding its time – one knows it’s there, one knows it’s going to be big, when it comes: and then something is released, some tipping point is reached, and change is all over us in a moment, a landslide, an avalanche. Except that these are metaphors of destruction, and it is change as risk and renewal, change as life and celebration, that floods my mind at this moment.
Rob and I were talking, yesterday, about this momentous decision we’ve made; she had been doing some online research, and thinking about the fact that one of South Africa’s top restaurants is in Krugersdorp: perhaps we could hold our wedding there, and fit in as part of the proceedings a game drive in the small game reserve nearby? I liked the idea of something simple, a feel of the highveld and the bush, but somehow the restaurant didn’t grab me, the game reserve seemed a bit underwhelming. How about the Pilanesberg, I wondered? An attractive thought, but too far, too expensive, we concluded.
And then, somehow, it came to me: why shouldn’t we get married at the Cradle of Humankind, on the deck overlooking the gorge where the fossils of some of our oldest ancestors have been recovered, at the place where a new evolutionary link has just been found: what better setting for a Canadian-South African wedding than the locus of our common African origins as a species? Call it serendipity, the power of association – but somehow the smell of dust, the landscape of bush and dry hills, came together in an instant, a prospect and a vision, and the conversation was transformed.
Suddenly we were both excited – our imaginations caught fire, and as we chatted about the possibilities and about dates, the availability of family and friends, travel and logistics, something magical and inspiring, yet simple and down to earth, seemed to have been created out of a few words over a telephone line.
Change, as I said, remains on pause, as we consider our decision and begin to investigate our options: but change is ready to leap all over us, and pretty soon, too, by the look of it.
Meanwhile, I spent time today sending out emails to friends and colleagues, advising of my imminent transition from company director to independent consultant: and it was heartening to see how many responses came back almost immediately, and to find so much encouragement, and practical as well as moral support, from different quarters. I have to confess to some anxiety, these past weeks, some negative emotions, too, which do not belong here and which, in any event, I am happy to have finally put aside: again, change is the catalyst, the trigger, the release at last.
On the 1st of May, I begin my new life as a contractor and consultant. May 1 is my father’s birthday. Perhaps it is a good omen. Perhaps, in accordance with our African heritage and origins, it is to the spirits of my ancestors that I should turn, on my father’s birthday, for courage and encouragement.