One of the finest pleasures of living in the city of Cape Town is, paradoxically, the speed at which one can escape it. Not quite the city per se, but the city in general. The noise. The bustle. The fumes. The chaos. The urban life that most of us must endure, while in our souls we crave that bucolic lifestyle in the countryside.
Enter Cape Town. A few minutes drive from home and one can begin a hike, walk, run, mountain bike ride up onto its glorious mountainside and within literal minutes escape all of this, yet keep one’s urban salary and sanity intact. You can also keep your thermos of tea handy, too, but that is another matter for another day. The mountain, the forest and their views are enough to wash away all bad memories of the day and I’ll have to capture this all on camera somehow, someday.
However, Cape Town has the dual privilege of also having an ocean, almost around its whole self; especially if you live on its southern-jutting peninsula. Which brings me to the even greater escape, that to the ocean. If you can’t imagine the former escape, you shall hopefully be able to fathom this latter one, considering half the world lives in a coastal region. (Don’t quote me on that “fact”). Somehow, going down to the sea and staring at its simplicity, elicits an emotion that I am sure is more calming than any medication, or hour-long conversation with a psychologist.
No poem does it any more justice than this one below. A must-read for humans.
Sea Fever by John Masefield
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.