My life has never been so complicated. I can’t explain why right now; I wouldn’t know where to begin. But I can tell you the things I’m doing to make life feel simpler — writing, taking pictures, and walking in the park.

I’ve extolled the virtues of Joburg’s parks, like the Melville Koppies and the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden, on many occasions. But I haven’t written about Emmarentia Dam until now. (In South Africa, a ‘dam’ is not necessarily a big wall that diverts water. It’s also another word for a man-made lake or pond.)

Emmarentia Dam.

Emmarentia Dam, just a few minutes’ drive from Melville, is basically a huge dog park. People bring their dogs there to chase tennis balls, romp with other dogs, and swim in the dam. If you’re not keen on being sniffed by slobbery canines, the dam is not for you. Instead you can stroll in the lovely Johannesburg Botanical Garden, which adjoins the dam and where dogs are prohibited. But if you’re looking for furry companionship, go to Emmarentia Dam.

This is Jessica.

Jessica’s sister, Daphne. I think Daphne had just been for a swim.

There are cute children at the dam, too. This is Amayi. She was hanging out with her mom and two dogs.

I don’t have a dog but I think I might visit the dam more often. Dogs and babies are a good reminder that life doesn’t need to be complicated.

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