Lake St. Bernard is actually a favourite spot for trout fishing fundis – but we weren’t there for the fish. We were there for the idyllic beauty, the peace and quiet – and the company of our special friends, Rogan & Tracey and their two children.
Most of the weekend was spent relaxing, reading, paddling in the canoe, playing with the resident Eland and relaxing some more. We felt so isolated there (the nearest shop is a 2 hour drive away)… but I liked that feeling – the feeling that we had escaped from the world, somehow.
THERE WAS THIS ONE MOMENT…
On our last day at Lake St. Bernard, Nick and I decided to take the kids for a drive and to explore a bit of the area. Rogan and Tracey had decided upon a walk and went their own way with their kids in tow. For the first time – in a long time – I had Nick and the kids to myself. No work. No school. No daily-life chaos. No long lists of things to do. No deadlines. No interruptions. No staff. No phones ringing. no e-mails. Just the four of us… alone… surrounded by breathtaking beauty.
Nick wanted to drive to the top of the nearby mountains. We had seen the glint of a vehicle, way up there, the day before… and there seemed to be a small, winding dirt road that we might be able to access. We were also more than ready for a little adventure.
Our Renault Modus, however, was not!
After just a couple of metres on that rocky track, we realised that in order to get where we REALLY wanted to go (up the mountain!) – we needed a completely different vehicle. The little Modus was simply not equipped to take us on family adventures. It got stuck on a small boulder, only minutes after Nick attempted to drive up the track. And, as much as we tried to… and desperately wanted to drive up the mountain and go on an adventure – the Modus was having none of it.
It seems to me that the Modus was an apt metaphor for our lives. It had been a great choice for a season – and I don’t regret that season. But things have changed. We have changed. The lifestyle that used to bring us a sense of contentment – now frustrates us. And if we want to actually get where we really want to go – then it’s definitely time for an upgrade: a completely new life.
Since the mountain adventure was impossible with the Modus, we ended up taking a scenic drive down more manageable dirt roads. There was nobody else around. We didn’t even pass another car.
While driving, we happened upon a picturesque little stream which ran underneath a bridge. We parked the car under an enormous Willow tree with boughs that spread shade across the stream and much of the road. Joah was asleep in his car set – but Morgan was wide awake and ready to explore. Nick took her by the hand and they climbed down the embankment and played together in the clear, shallow waters – Morgan giggling with glee… Nick looking (for the first time in many months)… relaxed and content.
I opened the doors of the car so that Joah could enjoy the fresh mountain breeze, even as he slept… and I perched myself on a rock nearby – where I had a lovely view of the stream, the meadows and the mountains beyond.
It was one of those defining, beautiful moments of life.
“I want to live like this” – I thought, “More than anything – this is what I want!”
It was one of those thoughts that made so much sense.
I didn’t need the “stuff”. I don’t need the big house, the big car, the possessions, the “things”. Nick doesn’t need them either. What’s most important to us – as a family – are adventures, experiences and creating lovely memories.
Sitting next to a stream in the Southern Drakensberg – was the moment when my mind-set completely shifted. Instead of just dreaming… and wondering… and thinking about a different kind of life – I made a decision that day: It’s time for us to stop waiting to start living!