The Tabletop at Christmas EveBy | On Dec 24, 2009
Now as it Christmas Eve and I’ve mentioned a tabletop, and all the discussion here is generally food-o-centric, one might assume that this is about what’s to be consumed on the Christmas Eve Table; but not so. Today went atop Tabletop Mountain, arguably one of the oldest identified mountains on earth. Rising some 3,000+ feet above sea level (and thus above Capetown) it is a magnificant site. What was once on the sea bottom, then an island now towers over the city and accompanying mountains. The strata of this formation was not twisted when it was heaved up, thus the stone erodes considerably slower than the neighboring peaks. The top is the effect of a glacier that gave the mountain it’s J. Jonah Jameson flat-top. The summit can be reached by foot or cable car, needless to say which we took.
After a long queue we finally got on the cablecars. It was like a transport to another place. I was constantly reminded of the current time, because contrary to many a view, Americans no longer have a strnglehold on The Obnoxiuos Traveler title. How refreshing to see that in addition to a new global economy there’s a global commitment to rudeness and complete abdication of any responsibility for what your personal tiny terrors are doing running amok on the cliff top. Some people seem to assume that since they find it amusing that little Hans and Little Gertrude scramble all over the narrow paths (with no guardrails and straight drops) screaming and shoving at full blast like they’re running some screen play for the Steelers, the rest of us chuckle along as well. Note: we don’t chuckle nor find any of it amusing or cute. Those disgusted looks belie our real feelings. There, now that the cathartic Scrooge like rant is done I can move along and avoid the three spirits coming for me tonight-unless it’s Dom, Moet or the Grand Dame herself, they’re perfectly welcome.
So now understanding why Robert Frost suggested the road less taken, that’s what we did. The tourist site disappeared behind us, along with the noise and all the trappings of civilization. It was the wind, the sky and the view. It was humbling. Within those moments of solitude were captured the grains that give rise to legends of times gone by. Our holidays (with all the commercial propaganda), our countries, religions, even our significance as a species faded when viewed in this context of Nature revealed. Perhaps we have, in our “civilization: become true cyborgs-not physically attached to machines, but unable to survive without them?
So this Christmas Eve make it simple. Contemplate the birth of Jesus (no matter your faith, or lack of, it has affected the course of human history), and contemplate yours. Amaze at the “connectedness” of our modern existence and then amaze at your existence at all. Take the feeling of that moment and bury it within you, let it spring forth like that wildfloweer when you need it. In the true Spirit of the Season, Yule be glad you did.