Where love grows with flowers – stories from the road by Ruan Smit
For a while now I’ve been wondering if the landscape or space we live in has any effect on personality. Obviously it has to… But in Namakwa I found proof. There is a theory that the bigger the pond is, the bigger the fish will grow. Namakwa is like this. The vast open spaces, the bossies and singular trees of this area that proves its beauty but once a year has surely influenced the colourful people that live here.
The personalities you find here are big, strange even, but most definitely wonderful. Every personality is characterized by the many flowers that find its way up the dry earth between July and September. When you meet them at first like the landscape you’re not entirely sure what to make of what you see. But give it some time and the area flowers …
I could not imagine this without experiencing it. I couldn’t see the flowers coming from that dry earth that has been burnt grey by the sun. But shower it with rain and it soars. Every piece of earth reveals beauty that takes your breath away and leaves you with silence.
The people here are the same. Every person I’ve met during my stay here has proven to be that flower. The personalities are unimaginable, they fill all the space. And they tell stories just like the landscape does. Springbok, Nababeep, Okiep, these towns showed me people with never ending stories, stories which can keep you busy for days just by the sheer detail they are told with. Every aspect of that story is broken into a whole novel on its own and you cannot help but listen, listen to every single word.
Sylvia is one such character. We have never met when I reach Springbok but that does not stop her. She shares the life of this region through tales that you wouldn’t find in any novel or history book. People here might not have much but what she tells me makes up for that. We chat into the late hours of the morning as she colours a vivid picture that you can almost touch. You jump into the story and experience the adventures, love and battles with the characters.
Love seems to be a major aspect of every story and the romantic in me listens with intention. Like the flowers that bloom here so does love. These stories are told passionately and with great care as if it was the storyteller’s story. A world of children’s fantasy stories open as the princess is swept away by her knight. Or a knight finding his princess in this unforgiving sun and offering himself to Namakwa to win her heart.
A man stops us in Okiep when we slow down to look at a little white house still bearing all signs of a history once lived. He has dreams for this house as big as the space that encompasses it. His dream is told as a story and once again I am swept into a fantasy as I see him bake bread, water his garden and sit outside in the singular shade on a Sunday afternoon.
Then it becomes dark as we enter Springbok. I look up at a sky and it is almost representing all the stories and dreams within the bright shining stars. Never would you see a sky so bright with stars. The black nearly disappears. Here one can understand the fascination with starts that make so many people dream. I get lost in them while trying to connect the dots.
If you have a dream this is the place to share it, if there is a lost thought it could be found here. Between the bushes, open spaces, singular trees and bright stars you will find the flowers that grow once a year. Namakwa is a place of dreams, maybe all the dreams of the known world grows here and if you’re lucky enough you will get to see them in the form of flowers. All the colours you could imagine. Maybe this is the space where forgotten dreams end up, the space where you and a loved one could remember what it means to pick a flower and the smile it presents.
Just make sure that when you come you don’t lose your heart in the emptiness, that you don’t get caught up in the stories or become one. Because this Namakwa is a different place, many have not left it upon entering and many have found a love so deep that you almost feel empty when leaving it behind …
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
- A human wallflower - from the road, by Ruan Smit
- She’s no Barberton Daisy ...
- Rashid had R30 - Stories from Explore SA Cycle Tour
- Not another high tea - stories from the road by Ruan Smit
- Give a Soccer Ball ...
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- Adin ‘The no money man’ - Stories from the road by Ruan Smit
- There is a city… stories from the road by Ruan Smit
- An Elands Bay Road trip - stories from the road by Ruan Smit
- 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