The Southern Tip of Africa


We found out a couple of days ago that the southermost tip of the continent of Africa was about 100 km from Riviersonderend, so today we set out to see it.  When you’re halfway across the world from your normal stomping grounds, you’ve just got to go those extra miles (or kilometers) to see the touristy stuff.

It was beautiful.  Not nearly as dramatic as the designation would apply, but beautiful all the same.  Turquoise water hazing to azure blue at the absolutely flat horizon.  Nothing between here and Antartica except a lot of water (and, I think, one tiny island a long way from anywhere).

Where we’re standing is the dividing line between the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans.  But sit for a while on the rocks facing the shore and you quickly notice–there is no line.  No delineation of color, temperature, or any other observable feature that places this particular line anywhere.  It is all one body of water, as far as the water is concerned.  No separation.

It seems trite to draw the metaphor of the oneness of humanity, but that’s exactly what I’m going to do.  I’ve come halfway across the world, only to meet myself.  I see myself everywhere.  In the kids, glad to be done with exams, and excited for camp.  In the women and men doing their best to raise their family and make a life for themselves.  In the rowdy and drunken men watching rugby and escaping from whatever they’re escaping from for a while.  In the man who told me he’d love to come to America, that he believed one day he’d come to America, and in the next breath said he believed he’d die before he’d ever get there.

Like Narcissus, I’ve come to gaze in the pool and see only my reflection everywhere.  It’s another manifestation of the saying, “wherever you go, there you are.”  I always took that as a tautological statement.  Of course, wherever you go, there you are.  Yogi Berra could tell you that.

But I think it means even more than that now.  It means that you can travel the world, meet all kinds of people, and if you see the humanity in them, and recognize the humanity in yourself, you will see that we’re all the same.

We are all one.  One.


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