Hogsback; a magical place with fascinating people - Day 351
Still in Hogsback; a magical place with fascinating people. Quite a spiritual place amongst the mountains.
Ah! A missed photo opportunity first thing this morning. At about 6:30am I was sitting writing when there was a clatter on the roof. Our hosts had warned us about visitors who play up there. I looked up at the triangular window, and there, looking through was a Samango monkey with its funny little face peering down. Hopefully next time I will capture the moment.
Our first stop for the day was at The Edge Mountain Retreat with its beautiful views, where we hoped to meet Ken again. Unfortunately, we were too slow, he had already drunk his coffee and gone back to his home. Never mind, we had a delicious breakfast with stunning views of the cliffs and forest with clear blue skies, but the air was rather parky! We were glad we had our puffer jackets.
We had heard that there was a labyrinth in the 15 acres here. When we reached it, there was another couple already walking along 1.4km of the pathway, making it one of the largest Labyrinths in the world! It was such fun to follow the path in such stunning surroundings. In between the concrete path were rock plants with small daisy flowers and a lovely orange Crocosmia, which, I have discovered, is native to South Africa. We had a large one in our garden back home (which we sold exactly a year ago).
Labyrinths are quite spiritual places and are often used to help people contemplate life, pray and meditate. Sadly I didn’t see much of this going on, and I must admit that when I finally reached the middle, I jumped and cheered. Oh dear. The other couple somehow arrived at the centre after us. I’m not sure how as we started after them. We got chatting and had such a pleasant conversation. They are from Pretoria and were celebrating the young lady, Diana’s birthday. They both were very interested in studying psychology, so we got chatting about mindset, understanding where our psychological experience of life comes from. They were delightful and seemed sincerely grateful for some of what we both shared. We said farewell and walked to Ken’s place at Crystal Corner, Hogsback where we met his delightful wife Suneya, who does crystal readings. Ken kindly showed us around his 5 acres of magnificent gardens, with azaleas dripping in full bloom. What a perfect time to see them. He also has the most beautiful, massive Pin Oak Tree that we could sit and make a wish. Next, he took us to an area with thick moss on the ground. “Careful of the tardigrades”. Tim had heard of these; they are micro-animals that are believed will outlive the human race as they are deemed indestructible. Within the grounds, Ken has built a stone circle, made from massive dolomite rocks, which he had placed along the lay line. The sun was beaming down in the middle, making the place feel quite magical. Onto his Circle of Light Labyrinth, which Tim and I both walked around later, then back to his and Suneya’s shop which is heaving with all kinds of polished stones, gems and crystals, and a heavenly scent as we entered. I had lost my one pair of earrings a week or so ago, so found some here to replace them. Sadly I didn’t keep the piece of paper informing me of what stone they are made from. As well as being fascinated with spiritual energy and shamanism, Ken is a keen and gifted photographer, so we popped into his gallery to see his stunning photos, many of misty views of delightful local vistas or capturing incredible shots of birds in flight. How generous of both Ken and Suneya to welcome people into their garden. An exceptional place and people.
Our next visit was at the award-winning Eco-Shrine. As we walked down the slope and turned a corner, we both gasped at the sight. A vast outdoor art installation with a circle of large cement shapes with mosaics, beautiful oil paintings and sculptures. It truly was stunning. It was completed in 1995, taking 14 months to create by artist Diana Graham with the help of Dagamnyama Wara, a local bricklayer. Despite being uneducated, he was perfect for the job, not only with his skill of building but also his innate creativity. It’s funny how often the ideal people turn up at the right time. As we walked in awe, Diana appeared with her Doberman. Tim sat, stroking the dog. It is so lovely seeing him connecting with animals now he has discovered he no longer is allergic to them. As Diana was about to inform us of her installation, our two friends we met earlier appeared, so the four of us listened to Diana, this softly spoken red-haired lady. She is hugely passionate about planet earth and environmental crisis that humans are causing. Sharing her thoughts, Diana was very mindful of other people’s belief. She certainly needn’t have been concerned with me, I agreed with everything she said. It is a travesty that we are raping the earth of resource without any plan for the future. I did read today that the European Union countries are banning single-use plastics. Hurrah! That is a good start. Diana’s art is deeply thought out and comes from her heart, reconnecting to nature. My favourite painting was the Earth Seed; representing the earth as a self-regulating organism. I have the same opinion as Diana that we are all part of the universe, interwoven and connected. We don’t own this planet, as mentioned in a previous blog, the earth will probably continue far beyond us, as it already has for millions of years before we existed. It is us who will become extinct if we carry on treating the earth with disrespect. As Diana says “.. we now have the ecological knowledge and the technology to devise systems that work symbiotically with Earth’s ecosystems rather than at the direct expense of the life support systems of the planet.” It was an unforgettable experience, thought-provoking and beautiful, with the surrounding mountains being the perfect backdrop, demonstrating the interplay with humans and nature.
We drove down the rough track back to Butterfly's Bistro for a late lunch, enjoying fresh, healthy food, while contemplating our morning. Hogsback really is a magical place with fascinating people.