Big City Lights by Anton Behr

by Anton Behr on Wednesday, 29 December 2010 at 10:22

 Wedding Feathers

The mountain fades in the distance as we drive along the highway. The South Easter blows as if often does coming from the sea to cool the air. Another mountain is coming into my view. It has a tunnel I have to go through to leave this city behind. I know this road all too well I have travelled it many times before. This is the same road through the mountains I have danced in for many years.

 Only this time I will just be passing through.

I leave for a city I once knew nearly eighteen years ago. I grew up there in another time. Things were different then, I wonder how much has changed. There is a feeling inside me that just won’t go away, one of trepidation and anticipation bundled into one. It is crime riddled I am told; they hijack your car and rob your house.

A change is good. For me it is also a case of finally closing down dad’s cafe’ and starting a new life in a different place.

A short distance behind is my son on his first long drive with a girl I don’t know. She will keep him company. Someone to help me stay awake he says. I find her just a little strange - another of the many Cape Town youngsters involved in the Drug Culture. She has escaped from drugs just in time. Does he like her or is she just a friend? I can’t tell. He’s grown up now and all of 21. I have tried to be a good dad as much as I can to him and his sister who is 16.

Anton & Amanda

Next to me in the passenger’s seat is the most beautiful Hello I know. The Moon to my Sun.

I am cautious to place too much on this Lady I have come to know through courting the old fashioned way. Writing has been our foundation. The way I have come to know this beautiful Hello. Now we consider sharing our lives. This union was sealed on a weekend of romantic bliss, in a lovely guest house.

The day she kissed me on my cheek I felt like I knew her my whole life.

 We have spent time all over this country, weekends away together. Stealing a moment here and there with phone calls, emails and text messages throughout the day. I can’t tell if this is madness or the way things should be. It feels so right I can’t explain. Her Woman reflects my Man.

 We are Cappuccino and Chai tea so very different and yet exactly the same.

We have a sparkling new home waiting for us in Sandton, a place to build a life together. Her son Chris and my daughter Savannah will be living with us in our new home. I will get another son and she will get a daughter. A new family at our age is a big commitment that extends beyond ourselves. Chris is bright and can be reserved and Savannah can be a little wild and defiant at times.

 Anton and Amanda, O Magazine Shoot,  I'm Cappuccino, He's Chai Tea

How will this work out?  I just don’t know. I look over at my Hello and see her smile as I leave the mountains behind. I will miss standing in the shadow of these rocky outcrops. I will miss the streams and forests. I will miss the walks into the wild with my best buddy Kai. Will I ever sit next to my favourite waterfall again and look out over the valley I know so well?

 It does not matter because I have Amanda by my side. The most beautiful Hello I know. I have made up my mind. We will be fine and work things out as we go along. The promise we make is as big people who both know that joining our lives will not be easy. We have decided that if we are together we cannot fail. It will take patience and Love all the time to learn each other’s ways. We are not youngsters anymore.

 The cell phone rings breaking the comfortable silence as Hello sleeps. Donovan is on the other side. “I am going to need some gas soon Dad and I want to take a rest.” I am proud of my son he has lived with me since he was five. This is the longest drive he has ever done following me closely as he has done for years. He trusts me even when he does not get his way. We are friends more than most and yet his buddy I am not. 


A stop for a coffee at an all-night garage. Cappuccino for Amanda, black coffee for me. “I will have two Red Bulls Dad,” Donovan proclaims, only to be met with the same response. Those things will kill your liver in no time my boy but do what you feel is right for you.

 Amanda is awake and looks over at me I can see she is weary from the drive. Sleeping in the car is not rest it is just killing time. She smiles that gentle smile that warms my heart and reassures me that what I am doing is right.

 A short break and some gas and we are on our way. Amanda has bought some snacks and another black coffee for me. The cappuccino ended up in the bin. Hello has a discerning palate and that was just not good enough.

We fall into comfortable conversation as we leave. It is so easy to speak with her. We talk about anything and everything, we have nothing to hide. I tell her of my reservations about returning to a city I left behind more than 18 years ago. She reassures me that I will find my way.

The drive should take 14 hours I said when we left. I did not know about the road works, which have stolen more than three hours on the drive. It is late and the only company on the road are big trucks. The quiet of the night takes hold as Amanda starts to doze. I remember my visit to Johannesburg just a few weeks ago. The image burnt on my mind was the “Big Smoke” as I flew in to check things out. The South Easter does not play here; the sea breeze is far away. It smelt different to my sensitive nose, a bit like Cape Town centre in rush hour.

The road becomes two lanes then three, light on either side of the highway illuminate our path. The quiet of the night left behind like the mountains I love so. This is a new life for me, a full circle it seems. I grew up in JHB and now I return to a place I once knew.

This time it is different, Hello is by my side.

Sandton is quiet, I am told. I remember the suburb. Just from when I was a child. It feels like such a long time ago. The lights grow brighter as we approach Johannesburg. It is so bright I can’t see the stars. Have they gone and hidden away. How will I tell the seasons apart when there is no moon? How will I know the north without the stars? 

 Anton Jesu Behr

I have lived on a mountain in Scarborough a village near Cape Point with no tar road or streetlights to steal the night away. They call me Bear in my neck of the woods. A Shaman by calling. A lucid dreamer and healer to some. I am just another guy who wants to save some trees, the dolphins, the mountains and the streams. I know I cannot teach anything to anyone. The best I can do is reflect the best or the worst of themselves. It all depends on them.

 We turn off the highway and take the last stretch to what I will now call home. The thing that strikes me most is the amount of light.  I know I find peace in the mountains on my own, but can I maintain my centre in the middle of a storm, can I still live by the whisper of nature between these bright lights?

 Adapting to the noise and bright lights has been a challenge to me. No mountains around me just mounds of sand called mine dumps and the remnants of koppies here and there. The mountains are more than an hour away and don’t feel the same as the ones I know so well. Malls and busy people surround me all the time, meditation has taken on another face. The quiet time I have had in the morning for the last 18 years is interrupted by cars rushing past the high walls that surround me.

 I have come to understand the seasons here. The moon is still in the sky and the stars still shine. They just fight with the big lights to be as bright as I know them to be. The centre is within, like it has always been. Now I understand more of what it takes to find my centre no matter where I am. The thunder and lightning of the Highveld humble me like the angry sea and mountains once did.

 Amanda Patterson & Anton Behr 

I remember the Source at the centre of it all who will never forsake me or cast me out. It is my eyes that have needed to adapt to the new surrounds. The city is the same no matter where I live; it is the world inside me that gives me peace.

The place of peace is something at our fingertips. Just listen for the whisper of the earth mother and connect.

Many cry for help enchanted by the bright lights. I have told so many people who have had cross my path that to find peace learn to recognise yourself in others and your judgment will pass. Be kind to yourself and those around you.

Don’t try and save anyone because only they can do it for themselves. I have had to apply the lessons I have shared to my own life. Consciousness is a choice that I will continue to make. I need to keep my eyes right so I don’t get confused and lose my way.

Now, two years later, Amanda is still the Moon to my Sun, my Alice in wonderland. She has become Mrs Behr the woman to my man. I trust we will continue to grow forever young together, no matter where we are.

I am now an urban shaman and have found my centre in this city of lights. We have our children living with us. Christopher is my son now. Savannah is here too. This is the family I longed for and I never expected to have but now that it’s happened, I feel I am finally at home. 

 Anton Jesu Behr with Amanda Patterson Behr At Home 

The best love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds. And that's what you've given me. That's what I'd hoped to give you forever~Nicholas Sparks

My centre is where it’s always been, it has a new face that is more groomed than before.

Hello has her own Ugg boots and this bear still shaves no more than twice a week. Now it is shoes almost all the time. Barefoot in Sandton City won’t go down well.
The ‘I’ of the mountains is still the same. The bear has not changed.
Keeping my centre in the big lights is not as simple as before. The mountains have few distractions and huge electronic signboards hide the stars here.
Consciousness has so much more to absorb and filter than before.
A movement exists here even when the city sleeps. The energy of these big lights and the movement of its people has its own rewards.

There is a reflection of me now. One to look at when I wake. It doesn't matter where I am.

I call her my Love, the most beautiful Hello I know.

 by Anton Behr

 Anton died unexpectedly of a heart attack on 9 March 2011 

Anton's Vows: 
Amanda–Lee You have made my eyes smile from the moment I met you, you have enchanted me, 
You have Loved me and you have challenged me. You showed me the “lady” was not extinct. 
You made my heart skip a beat You have become my friend and my confidant. My ally and so much of my life. 
You are the Woman to my Man. 
My Alice in wonderland, 
With my Love and my Labour I will cherish you. With my might I will protect you and with my flesh, I will honour you. 
With all I am, I will support and encourage you, to be all that you can, In good times and bad, in sickness and in health. 
I will join myself with you in Mind, Body and Spirit and promise to Love you until we journey on I ask you to make covenant with me, and be my wife. 


Amanda's Vows: 
I love you, Anton. You are my friend, my lover, my heartbeat, my sunshine, my safe place. 
You have made me smile from our first hello. I have waited a lifetime for you. 
You have made me beautiful with your words. You have made me kinder with your love. 
I will always love you for the dream you were, and the reality you’ve become. 
I promise that I will support you and inspire you. I will laugh with you, and I will comfort you. I promise that I will love you when life seems easy and when it seems hard. I promise that I will be there when loving seems simple, and when it feels impossible. 
I promise to cherish you, and to respect you. Today and all the days of our life. 
I will treasure your mind and the pleasure it brings me. I will cherish your spirit and the love that shines from deep within you. I will honour your body with mine, and take comfort in our union. 
I promise you this for better or for worse, in times of sickness and health, until death parts us. I love you, Anton. 
10 September 2009