The underneath of things

Farm work at Fynbos Estate in the Swartland

I often think about what people want when they leave home and come to the farm, and it seems more than anything they want the perfect and the surface and not at all the underneath of things.

They don’t want to see the cleaning of houses or laundering of linens, the weeding of the garden or the carting away of rubbish. They don’t want to know about sourcing of provisions or the continual fixing of things. And they certainly don’t want to know that the hostess has a burning headache and the admin person is stressed because she has a son in hospital.

And why should they. That’s what they are paying for – to be freed of the underneath of things – things which they have to deal with continually in their own lives. They want away – just for a bit – of the underneath of their lives.

On reflection it may be even wider than this. They perhaps want away traffic jams and the need to fortify their houses, the floods in India and loss of elephants one every 15 minutes, the disturbing nature of local politics and the corruption and greed worldwide. The devastation of climate change. It all just gets too much.

But now and then people view the farm in a different way. They don’t want to separate the underneath of things from the surface. They want the wholeness of the farm and they even sometimes want to reflect on the tragedy of politics and the planet and the way in which we try, in our small way, to be clear and clean. We are always a little taken aback and of course more than happy to show them our underneath of things. In fact if they don’t watch out they will be put to work in a jiffy on the underneath things.

Some photos of us getting on with the underneath things: