EMPTY CITY

Sunset.

Johannesburg is almost empty.

Everyone has gone down to the coast.

I am content to stay; I love the peace that descends here at this time of year.

Someone, another stay-at-home, is having a braai a few doors down, with rowdy friends. I can smell that it is an inelegant affair; people will eat sinewy lamb chops, straight from the fire, with their hands. Lamb chops that have a thick strip of fat on the side and which have been marinated in a store-bought mixture, standing in a Tupperware dish in the sun (for hours) Β while the braaimaster gets the fire going and gets a few stiff drinks down his throat.

They’ve got all the house doors and windows open, so that the music can drift out onto the lawn to them from the lounge. Tonight, it seems, they are having a Creedence Clearwater Revival Marathon.

I like it, once I put my snobbery to bed, and rather envy them their charred meat and bonhomie. But it is a mild envy and I take a sip of wine, pull my legs up under me on my chair and turn back to my book and escape to tales of Morocco.

Language… has created the word “loneliness” to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word “solitude” to express the glory of being alone.

Paul Tillich

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55 Comments Add yours

  1. deepercolors says:

    I experience both. I know what you mean.

  2. halfp1nt says:

    Both are equally good.

  3. I love Joburg at Christmas. Except for the fact that so many restuarants close so you have to phone around.

    1. theonlycin says:

      You can always come here πŸ™‚

  4. Liane says:

    I have to agree with you, Cin. This time of year is some of the best to be in Jo’burg. Two years ago a friend and I did a lot of cycling around the holiday season and you could literally smell it in the morning air when Jo’burg had arrived back from their holiday by the sea. It was my first year at home in many years and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    I miss the smell of ‘braaivleis’. Hope you’re enjoying your book!

    1. theonlycin says:

      I’m loving the book, thanks Lee πŸ™‚

  5. nrhatch says:

    Language… has created the word “loneliness” to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word “solitude” to express the glory of being alone.

    Love that quote and I revel in solitude ~ the glory of being alone.

    1. theonlycin says:

      It is a lovely quote, has stuck in my mind for years.

  6. Decent Lamb chops (imported from SA and Aus) cost an arm and a leg and a second bond on your home here in Mauritius so needles to I am very jealous about your neighbours braai, although I could skip the marinade.
    πŸ™‚ Mandy

    1. theonlycin says:

      You can’t get lamb? Oh dear, poor you. But you do have wonderful seafoods at affordable costs πŸ˜€

  7. leigh says:

    Bad moon, rising.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Hassie one rising, yes.

  8. Chantelle (JustMe) says:

    I newish (normally never seen or heard) neighbours had a Juanita revival over the weekend! LOL Was actually good to hear that people live there and were having a good time πŸ˜€ *hides bottle of Lappies Sauce*

    1. Chantelle (JustMe) says:

      I meant MY newish!

      1. Chantelle (JustMe) says:

        I am not aware of their religion. Oh, mind you they have a huge Christmas tree up, so um … no, not my Jewish neighbours πŸ˜€

  9. slpmartin says:

    Just back from an excellent evening of classical music…and now ready for bed…I do love my solitude also..nothing better on a winter’s night..good night Cindy!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Glad you enjoyed the music, Charles.

  10. Jem says:

    love that quote Cin!

  11. Solitude is my foundation- love me, then love others!!!!
    I also love JHB now, although it is a bad time to go Christmas shopping anywhere!!! No solitude there.
    xx
    http://husbands4hire.wordpress.com

    1. theonlycin says:

      I don’ venture further than the Rosebank Mall. My family are out at Clearwater this morning, I am sure they will all return in foul moods.

  12. Tandy says:

    I embrace solitude! I used to love being in JNB in December – but, if I don’t go to the beach, it is peaceful here πŸ™‚

    1. theonlycin says:

      I agree about the beach, when I’m in Cape Town I keep to my balcony πŸ™‚

  13. Supa says:

    *waves chop and sings “there’s a bathroom on the right”*

    1. Chantelle (JustMe) says:

      *shakes head and wonders at what time Supa delved into her Zesty stash*

  14. souldipper says:

    Thoroughly enjoy Paul Tillich – great writer. Enjoy your solitude, Cin.

    1. theonlycin says:

      I know very little about him, souldipper, and am enjoying my research into his work. xxx

  15. I am suffering from envy too: a book and that sunset. Peerless.

    1. theonlycin says:

      I regret to say that I am not at all envious of your water slide dilemma, Kate. Sorry 😦

  16. nursemyra says:

    Love the image of clouds and birds

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Myra, it was a magic moment and I happened to have my camera with me.

  17. I love going to visit my friend in Jo’burg at this time of the year because there is no traffic.

  18. Tes says:

    I love solitude… I wish I can escape to be with myself alone more often πŸ™‚

    1. theonlycin says:

      Difficult when you have a little one, I know πŸ™‚

  19. I’ve experienced Joburg at Christmas – it’s usually in Cape Town! πŸ™‚
    Solitude is a gift – enjoy it.
    Sunshine xx

    1. theonlycin says:

      Yes, I see on Facebook that all the coastal dwellers are moaning about the influx of Vaalies πŸ˜‰

  20. Chloe says:

    Great quote πŸ˜€ I too love solitude – and it seems I appreciate it more the older I get. Is it summertime for you guys? It’s getting pretty cold here in the UK xx

    1. theonlycin says:

      Yes Chloe, it’s our summertime πŸ™‚

  21. lusciousvegetarian says:

    With each passing year I become less enamoured with December holidays away from home. Since I live in Cape Town we’re usually inundated with visitors as well, which tips me directly into hibernation mode until at least the middle of January. This year seems unusually quiet, though, or perhaps it’s just the stretch of seaboard where i live. NOT THAT I’M COMPLAINING! Solitude should be treasured, all too soon the new year and all its attendant mayhem will be upon us. Enjoy Cindy, and thank you so much for your kind support.!

    1. theonlycin says:

      You’re welcome Sonia, thank you for all the inspiration during the year πŸ™‚

  22. Wonderful piece, Cindy.

  23. suzicate says:

    I love me some CCR, my fave! But I’m sure you’d already heard it through the grapevine!

  24. gospelwriter says:

    Ah yes, loneliness vs. solitude… love how Paul Tillich defines the difference for me. Glad you’re enjoying the peace…

    1. theonlycin says:

      Less peaceful this morning, electronic thump music going on in my lounge … give me strength!

  25. Lyndatjie says:

    Of cours Johannesburg is almost empty – the buggers are all in Cape Town at the moment! *sulk*

  26. Berwick says:

    I agree about the Joburg peacefulness this time of year.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Hello Berwick πŸ™‚

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