Digging for Dreams in Kimberley – stories from the road by Ruan Smit
It’s more than just a really big hole, much bigger than a cavity filled with water in a region that is known for its dry heat. It is a whole that had many dreaming about a future that could be, a future that happened for many. And the history that was left by a hole that has no known end.
The road that leads to Kimberley, or the one that I choose to take is one filled with the beauty and inspiration of the Northern Cape, the biggest South African province, the province that allows one to be the self you inspire to be with people who allow you to dream to the edges of your imagination. I find sunflowers big enough to wrap my arms around, staring at the sun and bathing in the light that shines without expecting much back. Lawns of green grass that will someday allow children to play and run and get dirty. Lucerne showing off white flowers in pastures that sees a thought falling and resting on a bed of green and white.
I find myself looking for The Big Hole of dreams and when I find it I am struck by the amount of history preserved in a space only big enough to let you feel comfortable. Unused railway lines and horse stables, old buildings and forgotten forms of entertainment allow you to instantaneously become part of the rush that once was.
I sit down at one establishment to refresh my body after a powerful day and am swept away by the magical experience of shovels and sieves. My cycle become a horse as I tie it to the bar built for horses and I feel like living a moment in the adventure of a western. Reality brings me back when Ivan introduces himself and asks about my horse… ummm, cycle. His words and thoughts begin the experience my tale as I share detail of journey inspired by earth and people. And as his imagination becomes enthralled in this world he starts sharing what inspires him.
He speaks of challenges, his own and those that others have managed to defeat. He finds respect in taking up a dream and sharing it with anyone that needs to listen. He realizes that only by choosing to take a first step can one fulfill the dreams that grown inside us all.
He shares some of his own dreams, the dreams of a man that has seen many challenges and lived to tell the tale of those experiences that make us all human. Ivan reminds me about the human nature and aspects of humanity that makes us the special creatures we are. The hardships, the fears, the dreams, the accomplishments, the love and the laughter that we experience and share every single day that we choose to exist and live.
His gentle ways and conversation allows me to see Kimberley and many other towns like this from an old and new perspective. What dreams became and how a city never manages to satisfy its thirst for the thoughts shared by many generations and eras.
I look at Kimberley with new eyes, I see the monuments, remembrances of times past and wars lost. Buildings and trees still providing the same shade as it did when the buildings were young. I see the sun come up and the breeze taking away the sting of an afternoon much like it did for the sons lost in memories of grandmothers and history books. I still smell the dry earth of promise that anything is possible if you just seek it from the earth.
My dreams become part of the dreams that have been shared for decades. My head rests and the body feels its mortality as muscles have taken strain from what the earth provides as road. I smile. I am human like every man, woman and child that dug to realize a dream. The difference only being that our dreams are not limited to small plots and hand tools used for excavation. Our inspiration lies in the vast alleys of imagination and sharing. Sharing with history and finally joining …
You are reading Explore South Africa Cycle Tour Series Read more from this series of articles.
- Collecting people's stories – Cycling 9000km in 70 days
- Scraps of Hope - Pre cycle-tour Free State visit
- Where is Ruan? Join us as we follow him on his "Explore SA" cycle tour
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- Where love grows with flowers - stories from the road by Ruan Smit
- A River of Life - Stories from the road by Ruan Smit
- And Douglas smiles - stories from the road by Ruan Smit
- Digging for Dreams in Kimberley - stories from the road by Ruan Smit
- Seeking the sun - stories from the road by Ruan Smit
- Pitching a tent - stories from the road by Ruan Smit
- Parys with a ‘Y’? - stories from the road by Ruan
- A different forest - stories from the road by Ruan
- For the love - Ruan makes it home