Wow! This is my 15th blog for We Are White River – has it really been that long? As 2016 draws to a close, our town experiences the extremes of behaviour.
Community and connection are two of my strongest values and living in White River, I am lucky enough to get to fulfil these almost on a daily basis.
Despite the fact that Summer tried to elbow Spring out of the picture completely, it IS the season of renewal, regeneration and rebirth. The season of change. As I inhale the delicious perfume of the jasmine and yesterday-today-tomorrow that fills the overheated air, there is a sense of expectation.
As Margaret Mead said “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Driving home from Nelspruit late at night, I silently pray that I won’t see any, but as I sweep on up the R40 arms reach out from the dark pavement, desperately trying to catch my attention. My heart sinks. Outside the Mall, again when you come into White River and then at the big roundabout at Casterbridge, you will see them – restaurant staff and shift workers trying to get home at the end of a long and tiring day.
If you perceive White River and its folk as unfriendly and closed off, with nothing to do, then that’s what you will see. Choose to open yourself to the warmth and friendliness of the town that is home to my heart, and you may be pleasantly surprised. What have you got to lose? More importantly, what will you gain?
Writing this blog every month gets Di Atherton to take a closer look at the town she has called home for the past 20 years. She was shocked the other day to realise that 2016 is the 20th anniversary of their move from Benoni out onto a farm in the Peebles Valley.
If you ever attend a function in White River, no matter what it might be, there is a fairly good chance you will meet at least a few people you know. Shrieks and cries of joy fill the air as your gaze falls upon a familiar face. As you happily rush to greet them, you may well be introduced to someone else with the words “I am sure you know “XYZ”. Very often the response will be “well, I haven’t met them, but the face is familiar” or “No, but I know the name”.
I don’t have to “escape” to peace and quiet, to seek somewhere surrounded by bush, where the only sounds are bird calls and the buzz of insects. I am able to enjoy it every day. Green, peaceful, open areas that soothe the soul and restore balance are, for most of us, a stone’s throw away. Even the township of Kabokweni has some beautiful views on its doorstep.