Friday, October 23, 2009
I just listened to the last crack and fizzle of a Highveld thunderstorm. I remember sitting in my hostel room in Braamfontein just over ten years ago swatting for my matric finals and enjoying the sound of the rain on the corrugated roofs outside as I took a moment to phase out and chew on my highlighter. I’m sure this rain can clean a scuffed heart, but mine doesn’t feel scuffed at all tonight, in fact it’s been licked all shiny clean by some interesting new acquaintances.
Today my best friend Sonia (the Guava Panty princess) and I visited a domestic animal sanctuary in Roodepoort named FORA. Hundreds of dogs and cats desperate for Love and affection crammed into a relatively small space, but clearly cared for as best as possible under the circumstances. All the more emotive because the land on which the sanctuary stands has been sold to developers and the people who run the place are now trying to raise funds to be able to prevent all these furry creatures from becoming homeless and abandoned AGAIN.
Off the bat the place reminded me of a gay club. The same hunger for affection and acceptance and the same happy-go-lucky ‘jollers’ who didn’t give a shit and just wanted to shag. (Quite a few of the dogs tried to hump each other and they didn’t care if their “stuk” was male or female.) I saw myself in the puppies, the old scruffy Labrador with a hoarse bark and the one eyed smoky cat that shared its living space with another few hundred cats in a space no bigger than a garage. The constant barking and the occasional scuffle ending with a high pitched “tchank!” got to me a little initially, until I decided to try and see if there was another way to look at the situation. We played with some adorable puppies who somehow managed to splatter us with their poo through the fence and afterwards we walked through different gated sections that housed many types of dogs of all sizes, ages, breed and personality. Each section lead on to another and the place seemed to go on and on with an endless variety of abandoned dogs yapping with gay abandon. Right at the back were these old granpa dogs in one section together wheeze barking at us, all arthritic and one even had a moony white cataract. Finally I ended up in the cat “cage” on a deck chair with at least four cats on my lap at a time; one would disembark only for another to quickly take its place. I love both cats and dogs but I really connect with cats because they are more intelligent and complex (just like me!). They’re aloof and then affectionate and I love that they keep me guessing.
The place in its entirety also reminded me of a squatter camp. In the townships I’ve performed in I’ve seen humans living in worse conditions than the animals I saw today. At least the animal had food, shelter and people caring for them. I can see you thinking “SHEESH DUDE! Where’s the friggin silver lining already!” Well, I did notice that almost all the animals like the people I encountered in the poorest of areas seemed for the most part happy and friendly. I know that sounds weird but beside their visible need for affection most of the animals seemed quite content in their set of circumstances and I realized that any form of dissatisfaction or self-pity I could conjure would not stand up against what these animals are purring and wagging their tails through every day. I left the place energised by all the Love they showered on me without me having to qualify myself to them in anyway. They just gave it to me. No holds barred. It was inspiring this Gung-Ho no fear Love that they freely and easily extended to me. Many have probably known great pain from the human hand and yet they didn’t hesitate to lick mine.
According to my personal numerology for October I am having an 8 month in a 7 year. An 8 month is supposed to be a month in which hard work and dividends begin to pay off. 8 is about intelligent work, motivation and reaping the harvest of all the seeds planted in days gone by. So far this month has been just that. Clearing the clutter, deciding what I want and then getting down and dirty to make it happen. I realise more and more everyday that life is not so much about what is presented to me but more about how I choose to see it and what I then decide to do with it. I must choose every day what day I want to have and then, like an order from Mr. Delivery, it arrives, even though it does sometimes come a bit late. So my strategy for success is to think cunningly like a cat, work hard and loyally like a dog and Love unabashedly like a puppy. Thank you FORA I’m going to find a way to help you.