Mak­ing mem­o­ries

Getaway (South Africa) - - Letters -

On hol­i­day we all be­come chil­dren again, ea­ger for first-time ex­pe­ri­ences, new feel­ings, sen­sa­tions and tastes. There are no to-do lists; just a whole lot of ‘noth­ing im­por­tant to do’ at­ti­tude, which I adopted on a re­cent road trip be­tween Cape Town and Oudt­shoorn. I could feel time peel­ing away my adult­ness with ev­ery ma­jes­tic moun­tain pass we drove through and crys­tal stream we crossed. This is moun­tain coun­try with a vast col­lec­tion of passes, such as Michells Pass, Gydo Pass and Bain­skloof. The kids were un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally quiet with their lit­tle faces pressed tight against the car win­dow, watch­ing the steep cliff drops of the Swart­berg. As the car care­fully hugged the road, each turn brought a brand-new vista, which al­ways turned out to be more spec­tac­u­lar than the one be­fore. Our col­lec­tion of first-time ex­pe­ri­ences in­cluded a chilly early morn­ing ride and my cau­tious daugh­ter ramp­ing her bike down 15 stairs with friends cheer­ing her on; hot springs on a win­tery Mon­tagu af­ter­noon; a bleary-eyed morn­ing hike to the Meir­ingspoort water­fall; sip­ping choco­late port at Bo­plaas; danc­ing to The Avalanches around a mid­night fire; my son zip-lin­ing across a lake and my daugh­ter rid­ing an os­trich, cling­ing on to its wiry neck for dear life. A 10-day hol­i­day can go by in a flash. Dur­ing the drive back every­one is a lit­tle quiet and smelly. The fa­mil­iar land­scapes un­roll and pass like al­ready-known path­ways in our mem­o­ries. They con­sume less won­der, less cu­rios­ity and arouse less of our at­ten­tion. – Maria Ber­rios Carter, Cape Town

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