The road

 
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The road can take you anywhere. If you don’t plan too much, it will take you directly where you need to go, with all the necessary detours in between. The road will take you away from everything you know and present you with all the options you need. It might take you first through the dry and dusty Karoo, and you might get stuck in a conversation with an old farmer about the scars burnt into the land and the history of all the expressive native names it carries. Gamka, Outeniqua, Tankwa. Hard, clicking sounds that echo over the open plains and land in the rocky outcrops beyond.

The road might lead you through that landscape as you shed more and more layers of yourself, leaving the pieces that don’t fit anymore to dwell where you made peace with them. The Karoo is filled with fossils much older than you are – don’t you remember that you held one in you hand, tracing the fine seashell imprints left by a million year old ocean? Leave your fossils in the desert, that is why the road passed through there.

Lighter now, the road might take you right past the crowds gathering in the streets of Oudtshoorn for Easter weekend. The uncertainty of your destination might start to get to you, but don’t lose heart. As you follow the slow bends through the Outeniqua mountains you will pass out of the Karoo and into the forest. Suddenly you’ll be able to breathe more freely. The forests and the trees – no less ancient, but brimming with life and mystery – see to that.

On the road without destination you might cry out for familiarity and comfort, but it’s not a problem because you packed for the journey. Trust that you have everything you need. You might stop by a friend in Wilderness. Then again, she might not be home. She might send you to the backpackers on the neighbouring farm, and if you go you might feel like you've arrived home for the first time in such a long time.

You might spend the night on the roof looking for hours how the full moon illuminates the passing clouds in arrays of muted colour, certain that life couldn’t become any more beautiful than this, and then laugh hysterically when it inexplicably does. You might stay on that farm on top of a hill overlooking the Indian ocean and guarded by the same mountains you drove through to get there. You might go back there a second time. Maybe even a third.

Then again, you might never leave home. The road is there, the choice is entirely up to you.