Saturday, February 5, 2011

So what's a Slow Town?

Sedgefield officially is - a slow town that is. I saw a photo of a man with a certificate from some place overseas. The gist of it is, Sedge entered, qualified and got it.

I thought Joubertina was pretty slow. Twee Riviere more so. They were so slow in fact that I got into the habit of never wearing a seat belt, never stopping at stop streets - just a gentle pause on the brakes, and through we go.

At first I did that in Sedge. I soon stopped, especially in the Silly Season with all those GP number plates.
They are not slow, although having said that many was the time when I found myself trapped behind an abandoned GP SUV in the carpark road whilst family members unloaded, loaded, disembarked, chatted and ignored everyone else - very slowly. They had embraced Sedgefields status whoeheartedly, and who can blame them really - they only have two weeks.

Sedge has a different kind of slow.

Slow has something to do with the tortoises. There are many around, some real, some not. Some are huge and mosaiced, some huge and emblazoned with the South African flag, outside the tourism office.
The Island is an unofficial tortoise sanctuary. I lived there once, and exceeded 30kms on the gravel roads sometimes. Frantic residents ran out often, waving at me to slow down. My dust was landing on their rose petals. I had a babysitter waiting - and I've never squashed a tortoise yet. And I did slow down.

Thats what Sedgefield forces you to do. Slow down.

Speed cops hide beneath trees all season long on the N2. Cameras are almost permanaently in place. The slowness gives you time, as you saunter down that particular strip of N2 to admire the worst part of Sedge. The shop fronts. And the row of horses/zebras that surely everybody knows. They stand in an arty row, frozen for many years now, looking good for their age.

Now that only the locals remain,they breathe a sigh of relief that the GP drivers have sped off and having spent cash like lottery winners the town can survive til next time.

Sedge locals rarely speed off anywhere, and anyway we can't afford to. So generally we cruise around, with our windows down, sunburnt arm on the sill, a warm breeze ruffling our hair. Why seal yourself in a bubble of aircon when the air is filled with african aromas of the sea and fragrant fynbos.

There is the adrenalin fuelled side of Sedge. Which isn't slow at all. Kiteboarders skimming over waves, surfers gliding in to shore, paragliders leaping off Cloud Nine. Thats another signature of Sedge, those paragliders hanging about the hill most days. I counted thirty up there one day, just dangling.

When all the extreme sport is said and done though things do seem to slow down a bit. I mean, who has the time to hang out in the sky most of the year, or surf in the middle of the day. Or sit around the beach restaurant with their bare feet dug deep in the sand, drinking beers?
What work does anyone do around here? Whatever it is, I guess we do it slowly.

There is always time to relive the moment just one more time, to tell the tale of that big wave, and share a slow smile, a chuckle.

There is a love song about a 'slow hand', a caress. Thats it for me. The wind through your hair, a sip of something cold, the sun on your face.
Life that caresses your senses.

Slowly does it.

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