Tag Archives: trees

Our Fall Tradition.


One of the many reasons why Cape Town, South Africa, is one of the most beautiful cities in the world is that has always been covered in oak trees. The trees were first planted in Cape Town by the European settlers in the 17th Century. They grew huge and magnificent, lining the streets with their magesty. They have become a part of the fabric that is Cape Town.
I was lucky enough to spend my university years in Cape Town at the University of Cape Town. What wonderfully exciting years those were for me. I remember them with a quickening of my heart, days of newfound independence, spiritual awakening and academic adventures where the ‘child me’ became an adult. I was lucky to experience this growth in a city so full of magic.
One of my happiest memories I carry from those days is from the Fall. In Cape Town, Fall happens in April. April is when our first exams of the year are held. It is tradition that students, in preparation for their exams, go into the oak forests to ask the oak fairies to help them. The oak trees shed their leaves, dropping them into the crisp autumn air. Did you know that if you catch an oak leaf you will have one wish granted? We would chase leaves wildly, and if we caught one, we would wish for good grades. I have no doubt that the oak fairies helped me through many difficult tests.
This weekend, as is our tradition, our little family went to ask the oak fairies for wishes. We found a huge oak tree and dashed madly about in the fresh air hoping to catch a falling leaf and make a wish.
A Good Man and I caught some, K caught many…
but poor T could just never get there in time. Perhaps it was the monkey on his back that slowed him down?
Lucky for him, his sister loves him very much and shared her wishes with him. They wouldn’t tell us what they wished for as a shared wish doesn’t come true. I have a feeling Santa should be strong this year for all the toys he will have to cary down our chimney!
Sadly, the oak trees in Cape Town have all but vanished. They have been decimated by a disease and beautiful tree after beautiful tree has been blown over by the powerful storms of the Cape of Good Hope. It is a terrible sadness to watch these kings go. I do wonder how the students of today ever manage to pass their exams without the help of the majestic oak?
Blessings and magic.

Making a list for a Nature Hike.

Whenever we go to El Dorado, our local Nature Center, there are a few things we always do. The first is walk along ‘The Stepping Stones’ at the entrance. ‘The Stepping Stones’ is a little stone entrance wall. It is a highlight for my kids to balance along it. Mr T thinks he is oh-so-very clever that he can now balance along the whole length without holding my hand. ‘In The Beginning’, I used try to hurry them along ‘The Stepping Stones’, eager to get to the hiking part of the walk. But, now that I am a little wiser, I let them get their fill on this beloved attraction… why rush such a fun activity. I sit on the ledge and ‘oooh’ and ‘aaaah’ as they walk up and down, down and up. It is a joy to watch their concentration, their daring, their delight in their own agility.
Look at how hard Mr T is concentrating…

So, our ‘favourite things’ aside, I always try to introduce something ‘important’ for us to do on our walks. We have looked for shapes in nature, colors in nature. This walk, we made a list of things we wanted to see.

Here is the list…

K set to work enthusiastically, marking off the treasures she found…

A spider was on the list and it was Mr T who spotted this beauty. Look at the view from his kitchen…

We definitely weren’t expecting Mr T to find this little guy…
Mr T couldn’t believe his luck when this baby lizard happily walked onto T’s hand. T proudly showed him off to the rest of us…
K couldn’t miss her chance to hold the ‘tiniest little lizard we have ever seen in our whole lives’ too. She wanted so badly to take him home with us for a pet. I reminded her of the story of ‘A Fairy Went A Marketing’ and the rule that we can only hold wild creatures for a little while before letting them go back to their mothers and fathers. K dutifully let our baby lizard go home.
I love watching my kids love nature. This photo made me smile as it is so typical… K is sprinting down the hill and Mr T is sprinting behind her, trying to keep up…
As they ran, they ‘whooped’ in joy, I think a little loudly for this grumpy fellow!
I always feel refreshed and refueled after a hike and my kids and I get on so well for the rest of the day, wish we could live in the woods and be a forest family.
Blessings and magic.