I haven’t written a 2Summers Support Group post since February and I think now is a good time to revive the series. It’s a strange time to be in South Africa, at least for me. I feel super weird and whiny.

It’s winter and we’re all huddled inside next to our gas heaters. We’re in the middle of a third covid wave — nearly 8900 new cases were reported yesterday — and the country’s vaccine roll-out has barely started. (Only people over 60 are eligible so far.) South Africa’s health minister, who we’d been counting on to help get us out of this mess, has been accused of corruption and put on “special leave”. We have constant rolling power cuts and water outages.

My friends and family in the U.S. are out and about, vaxed and mask-less, wearing shorts and attending weddings and professional sporting events. It feels like much of the world is crossing the covid finish line already, and we’re down here struggling to get out of the starting gate.

I’ve booked a one-month visit to the U.S., leaving two weeks from today. I’ll be seeing my family for the first time in 18 months and I’ll be able to get vaccinated. I’m really excited and grateful for this opportunity (thank you, American passport privilege); South Africans are still banned from entering most Western countries. I’m so fucking lucky and have no right to complain. But I’m also really apprehensive about the trip.

I finished the first draft of my memoir this week, which I should feel excited about. Instead I’m frozen with anxiety over the next step: Rereading my hot mess of a draft and attempting to edit it into something coherent.

Traffic on my blog is at its lowest point in years, probably because I’m not doing much and not excited to blog about the things I am doing. When I do publish a post, I feel like I’m sending it out into a silent void. I’ve always told myself I blog because I love blogging — that the number of people who read is secondary to the joy of writing itself. But the dirty truth is I’ve spent the past 11 years seeking validation from my WordPress stats. The lower the numbers go, the more self-critical I become and the less I want to blog at all.

Can I get an amen from the other insecure bloggers out there? Does anyone else feel this way? Is anyone even reading this?

I woke up this morning, shivering, feeling pressure to blog. But I had zero inspiration. At 8:26 a.m., just as I was settling in front of my computer, the power went out. Fuck. I didn’t want to work in a coffee shop (because covid) but my laptop battery is shot and I can’t work from home without electricity.

In desperation, I drove to Emmarentia Dam and wandered about aimlessly. The sun was out for the first time in days. The park was blissfully warm and quiet. Birds chirped. Dogs scampered.

I spotted a guy at a picnic table in the middle of a huge open field, picking away at a guitar and looking down at his phone. When I got closer, I realized he was giving himself a YouTube guitar lesson.

I wandered over to the upper part of the botanical garden, where the aloes are. The aloes were in full bloom — deep orange against the crystal blue sky. Legions of honey bees buzzed among the blossoms. Glossy starlings, iridescent blue with bright red eyes, and black sun birds with long, delicate beaks flitted about, sipping nectar from the flowers.

Aloes in Emmarentia

I sat on a bench and gazed at the aloes. I was warm for the first time in days and suddenly felt inspired. I silently thanked Eskom for switching the power off.

The electricity was back by the time I got home. I wrote this post. The end.

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