A-Z Blog Challenge Theme Reveal

   April A-Z Blog Challenge -Theme Reveal! 

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I’m sure for many of us the excitement is mounting! I hope for all of you it is going well! Thank you to all our hosts, co-hosts, minions, encouragers, helpers, gnomes, fairies, those seen and unseen – it makes a huge difference! 

OK, onto theme reveal. It took me ages to decide on a theme. Once I started I nearly gave up and changed direction because the task was too big to do it justice. I even thought of quitting! 

I’ll be posting on Dreams as I believe the gift of them is much unrecognised and undervalued. As above, so below. Those dreams we have come from our own inner being. They are a direct expression of the unconscious, of the psyche, and therefore my approach will be a psychological one that explores the treasure house of dreams, capable of revealing its jewels if we pay attention and persevere.

I’m keeping them short (under MAXIMUM 300 words). Most are around the 250 word mark.  I won’t be analysing my or any other dreams per se but will hopefully provide pointers and an incentive to you to take your dreams a little more seriously. Like an explorer setting out with trepidation on a journey to unknown lands and places, the dream world offers just as exciting a journey, inwards -

I hope you’ll join me ..

The dream is always on your side, as guide, even it appears otherwise.

There is time to join the April A-Z Blog Challenge: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/p/a-to-z-challenge-sign-uplist-2015.html

New Moon, Equinox, Solar Eclipse

New Moon, Solar Eclipse, Equinox 

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The new moon (super moon) is tomorrow, Friday night and at the same time, there’s a solar eclipse (partially viewable only in some parts of northern Africa and Europe. The total eclipse is viewable from Greenland and Iceland); and it’s the equinox the following day on Saturday. Three rather extraordinary celestial events.

The new moon is always an inspiration to me – even if she causes a solar eclipse while passing in front of the sun (the solar disk) and her shadow falls on our planet. The moon will be in her waxing phase from tomorrow night, growing brighter and fuller in the night sky  – even if she plays hide and seek.

 The equinox, when the days and nights are of the same length, 12 hours each, before the days and nights slip into a different gear. For a moment, balance. Here in South Africa, the days become shorter while in northern climes you’ll be welcoming spring and longer days of sunlight. Here, we note the advent of autumn. Already I see signs of it when I walk around my small garden. But surprisingly, while I note some things looking decidedly tired and weary, I note other plants and flowers coming into their own. They’ve been lying low, giving me surprise and joy. Yesterday when I went for a walk, my first in ages, I noticed the lengthening shadows, and the sun lower down in the sky.  It’s our season for turning towards darkness and burial, while for many of you a time to look toward renewal. 

As I write it is hailing, something I haven’t seen for a while. So far it does not look destructive. The thunder is rumbling, at times hugely banging. We have fearsome lightning bolts. I’m writing off line as I’ve disconnected from the plugs – I’m taking no chances while the celestial happenings are making themselves felt.

May the balance of the equinox, and the new moon and the sun in alchemical counter poise to each other, be a reminder to us all of the changing and turning of the seasons, bringing change into our lives, a harbinger of a positive and healthy kind amidst all the turmoil of the world.

With Easter and Pesach approaching early next month, I’m reminded that both are times for redemption and renewal. May these days irrespective of your perspective, bring you exactly that. 

Health and Anarchy

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Does anyone feel really fit and well these days? You know, fighting fit, glad to be alive, full of energy, full of the joys of life and brimming with good will?

I’m  not sure if it’s the change of seasons here in South Africa from summer to autumn – harbinger of winter – but so many are ill, feeling low, exhausted, depleted, weak. But sometimes I wonder if it is the outer events on the world arena that predispose one – me – to feeling drained, enervated, anaemic, from hot to cold, like the weather, and back to feverish again.

The world near and far seems to me a troubled and dangerous place. I feel anxious when watching the news, hearing flowery, political spin by those doctors about the behaviours of their leaders. All that plotting and planning, depriving the ordinary citizen of their rights, exploiting their hard earned money by way of inter alia higher taxes to fund their extravagant lifestyle – while smiling. I want to withhold my taxes and let them know why and wherefore. My anarchic protest is my way of not colluding. R33 BILLION rands lost to corruption in the last financial year. 700 BILLION rands in last 20 years. Let them know that I will not be bound or bowed by their illegitimate rules and laws, that I am fed up to the back teeth of their fleecing, the injustices, not only on my person but on all of us, in the attempt to render us sheep like, obedient, subservient. We, the tax paying public (only about maximum 10% of the total population), fund their flamboyant flights with families in tow to far-flung places, boisterous parties, sexy shoes, cars the size of their egos, systemic, systematic failure of the government where patronage is the name of the game. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. Parastatals like our power utility service, the post office, our national air carrier, mines, hospitals and clinics in dire straits ‘managed’ by ill educated CEO’s, our education system designed to keep the majority dumbed down…

My husband is a medical specialist and he tells of the sick people he is seeing at his rooms, more so than ever before.  It’s like a malaise that has gripped us all. The parasite that is the government, sucking away at its host. I feel the prison walls coming closer, the power elite sniggering outside. Our beloved beautiful country, being fracked and f*%#@ed, waters and rivers poisoned from mining, fish dying, animals, birds, forests under threat, rhino, elephant poached. This is what misery feels like – and it’s why I am in favour of anarchy. Purposeful anarchy may be necessary for my health if it means freedom from the shackles of a government who does not have my or anyone else’s best interests at heart. They are tyrants who do not know the meaning of being servants of the people. They call themselves the ‘ruling party’ – and this is what they stand and live by, forgetting who it is who pays their salaries.

It’s enough; it’s making us ill.

Faith, Synchronicity, Doubt, Uncertainty

 Faith, Synchronicity, Doubt, Uncertainty -

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 What does one do when one can do no more? Perhaps a better question is what can one be when all else seems dark and hopeless? Is keeping Faith uppermost in our hearts and minds the only way to endure, and thereby ‘get through’ suffering?

 Last week I was away from home in another part of our country to be witness and hopefully a comfort to a dearly loved human being’s suffering, distress and despair. My sister was with me. The word Faith cropped up in the novel I was reading although this wasn’t its premise; on social media; someone else’s blog post; the newspaper; a billboard – in the strangest of places. This word was jumping out in front of my eyes practically all the time and I couldn’t ignore it any longer – the synchronicity was very real – it was like I was being knocked over the head to receive the message of Faith – when the tiniest bit of positive energy was no-where to be found -

 The more this happened the more I questioned whether my internal Faith muscle needs some exercising. It’s been dormant for too long -

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What does this mean, practically, to me? Is it legitimate that I have faith that this person will get well again and come back to himself, and be the lovely soul that he essentially is? In other words, can I have faith on that person’s behalf? Does this in some peculiar way lessen that person’s authority  – and his own faith in himself – and could this also be arrogance on my side? My faith for that person? Could I rely too much on faith in order to lessen my own pain at being witness to another’s suffering? Will my faith in this person having the ability to overcome his pain and suffering go some way towards alleviating his darkness? Is it sufficient to ask G.d for His help for that person, and ask only once and to have faith that this request be granted – and consider it done? One asks only once -

Doubt is the other side of Faith – the strangest of bedfellows, so apparently poles apart at first glance. But bedfellows nevertheless. Side by side, not exclusive or opposite to each other. They belong together. Like quicksilver, mercury, Hermes on winged feet, doubt always creeps in. Or doesn’t creep but barges in and shakes you up. And brings uncertainty blazing in its wondrous wake. The ground beneath one’s feet does not seem so sure anymore.  Yet, Doubt has its extremely healthy aspect to it especially when it serves to strengthen one’s faith.  Doubt is indeed faith’s strange bedfellow. For me it is a tough struggle leaving me raw, maybe a little more rugged -

It can of course be thoroughly destructive if used in an unhealthy way to serve some or other nefarious purpose -

There are times in our lives which are hard, painful, including witnessing another’s suffering. And we have doubts and we do not know –

Living with un-knowing, uncertainty – a fertile landscape, welcoming it in, willing to walk in its wake no matter what, means exercising those inner muscles, struggling with them, trusting the process, having faith in the process -

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In a way I have written this post fairly freely while thinking along the way about ‘things’ which pertain to me at this time. A sort of need on my side to put it down on paper and clarify my thoughts. Thank you for sharing it with me -

Word Games While Walking

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 I forced my slothful, gloomy self to take a walk yesterday. We’d been back from our long sea holiday for a few days already, and I could feel myself sinking deeper into the quagmire of reality as I saw it. Not only within my gloomy self but on the world stage as well and, closer to home, the politics here in South Africa.

I was thinking about diet while walking. I re-arranged those letters. I’ve been tied up in knots and distressed about the extra kilograms gained.  When thinking about ‘weight’ I’ve been inclined to think in terms of ‘gaining lightness’ as opposed to ‘losing weight’. I don’t like the emphasis on losing. It is my plan to gain lightness this year, by shedding unnecessary baggage whether a kilogram or two, being less of a procrastinator, more focused on WIP, less time on e.g. FB, more time on walking and taking the air, making time to meet a friend here and there for coffee, shedding bad habits -

Re-arranging the letters again I get edit. A letter I wrote recently to a newspaper was published this last Friday to my surprise. A superfluous paragraph was removed by the editor rendering it tighter with stronger emphasis and more flow. My very own experience and one I will take with me while doing much needed editing on WIP. My letter was in response to an article in that newspaper the previous week headlined ‘Why we should not give racist white people what they want‘ the author of which has the same surname as our president. No idea if they’re related but it demanded a response from me expressing my dismay inter alia at its content.

The tide always turns and I’m keeping this idea foremost. I sink into its swells and rip currents from time to time or tide to tide. While holidaying in Plettenberg Bay there were many warnings about rip tides. Instead of trying to get out of it by battling the current and attempting to swim to shore, the best thing to do is to let the rip tide or the undercurrent take you, keeping the shore in sight and swimming parallel to it. Our first panicked thought may be to battle the undertow to try to get back to shore, maybe drowning in the attempt, but this is one of those times that following that first instinct is ill advised -

It is a bit like life I sometimes think -

The below photo was taken with my cell phone. The Kiffness was live on the lawns of the Beacon Island Hotel in Plettenberg Bay. It was around 7.00 p.m. Fishermen on the rocks, the Robberg Peninsula jutting out into sea, the seagull taking off, the tide momentarily stemmed -all was calm and peaceful and all was light and right with the world.

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Do you go with the ebb and flow of life and its tides, many times extreme? Yet, ever changing, re-arranging, becoming one thing, then another, retreating, advancing – 

There’s a crack, a crack, in everything

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The title of my blog post are words from a Leonard Cohen live performance of ‘Anthem’ which I watched and listened to a little earlier, prompted by a blog by Luke Storms today. The words of the refrain ‘ring the bells that still can ring … there’s a crack, there’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in’ struck a note with me. It was a wonderful performance – as was Luke Storms’ blog (hit on this to read and listen to Anthem) -

It was late last year, at a gathering of a dear friend in Pretoria, in honour of her very good friend, a Jungian analyst from Switzerland visiting as he does every year or so. Another man, Deon, asked me if I’d like a glass of wine, and held out a glass. Yes, I would, thank you. O said he, there’s a crack in this one. Let me get you another – No, said I, that one’s fine. But it’s got a crack in it, said he. That’s why I like it said I. Deon laughed. They’re special, said he -

I loved this brief interchange with Deon – I smile every time there’s a crack in my armour -

So, cracks … and bells … and the eve of the New Year.

There’s quite a wind as I write out on the balcony of our holiday home in Plettenberg Bay. The navy blue seas are choppy, there’re kites on the beaches, a few boats out. At least it isn’t raining as it has been for the last few days. Cold, wet, but rather nice and soft. Today dawned rain-free. We had a light lunch a little earlier and wondered whether to rather sit inside and avoid the wind and coolth. But we donned jerseys and sat outside and let the wind blow some cobwebs from our minds.

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NY Eve – courtesy Mike

Thank you to all who’ve supported my blog in one way or another. I so appreciate this. I so enjoy reading yours. So many are so encouraging, or amusing, or reflective, or interesting; many leave me feeling envious with their use of words …

May the bells ring for you this New Year’s Eve. Any cracks that appear are lovely – they let the light in.

The Summer Solstice

wheel images  William Shakespeare: Midsummer Night’s Dream:

“Whatever is dreamed on this night, will come to pass”

Today’s the longest day and shortest night of the year here in the southern hemisphere. I awoke early this morning, didn’t really check the time but it was before 5.00 a.m. and went out onto the bedroom balcony and watched the giant red orb rising and breaking through the mists on the horizon over the sea. It was truly lovely and awe-inspiring. I thought of taking a photograph with my cell phone but it was only a thought.  I wish I had. I was aware in previous days that the solstice was looming but when on holiday the days seem to run into each other and I lost track of dates. It was only while out walking today that it struck me that today is the day that the sun is at it’s highest position in the sky as seen from the south pole.

‘Solstice’ is derived from the Latin sol:sun; sistere:to stand still.

For those of you in the northern hemisphere it will be the longest night, and shortest day. Something to look forward to as tomorrow dawns! I love the winter solstice on June 21st in South Africa – and while it is a harbinger of the sun getting stronger, I acknowledge the darkest and longest night of the year and bid it farewell – until next time -

‘In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer’ – Camus

For me, while the change is imperceptible, it is nevertheless real. From now on, the days will be shorter, nights longer. Summer will start to wane. In 3 months’ time the days and nights will be of equal length when the equinoxes occur on March 21-22; and here in South Africa we march towards winter.

So, the seasons are changing. So too are the times, they are a’changing.

While summer is upon us here in South Africa and we are holidaying in Plettenberg Bay, I plan to enjoy and celebrate these days as much as possible. My brother is here from Durban, my son Mike lives here in Plettenberg Bay, and my younger son David will arrive this afternoon from Cape Town.

May you all have a blessed Christmas and festive season. Embrace the solstice and its harbingers of change. Whatever lingers from the previous season needs attention. May the New Year bring renewed optimism, individually and collectively.

Mr. Nelson Mandela’s Death One Year On

Mr. Nelson Mandela Tomorrow, the 5th December, will mark a year since our beloved Mr. Nelson Mandela’s death.  For several months prior to his death, he was elderly and frail and incommunicado.  South Africa was forever holding its breath waiting to hear -

Our country and world-wide went into collective mourning – he is still mourned. Along with the mourning, is the wish that we had someone of his stature to lead our country. He stood for all that was good and true and expressed on all occasions his wish for all to live in peace and harmony. He eschewed violence and embraced peace.

The loss of our Father was deeply felt, in the gut. He really was our Father, who guided us with sternness, compassion, forgiveness. He encouraged us to work hard, get educated, be proud of our achievements, help the other, be the change we want to see

 The pain of our loss is still with us … but the pain is valuable in that we feel his absence. But another value of this pain, indirect it may be, is that the longing, the nostalgia, forces us to look at what is, what has become of his legacy. What can we salvage from the tatters and detritus and the dung that is present in our country at this time, all of us edgy, wondering if the abyss looms. And, in all gloominess, personally felt, I wonder if we, and any other country in the world, needs to fully experience the abyss in order for the gold to emerge. Get things broken down, scrambled and turned inside out, so to speak. Let the people speak. Let us talk about our pain. Let us reflect. Let us say no to all that is rotten. Pluck the nugget, from the dung, no matter how small, that emerges. Let another miracle happen – for our beloved country -

He spent 27 years on Robben Island (11km from Cape Town, almost 7 miles, photo below) before his release and thereafter becoming our President in 1994, 20 years ago, when our first democratic election was held. Those years of exile on Robben Island were invaluable to him, he said. He has stated that he saw those years of confinement as necessary for his development as an individual in that he gained a broader vision of his place in the world. He stated in his autobiography, that the only way to make an impact on society and one’s fellow man is to effect a change in one’s self. It is necessary, he said, to let your fellow man know that you pose no threat to him.

Dear God, may tomorrow be honoured, and used as a time for reflection. To bring Mandela back to us, as a light, his name a symbol of a mandala, in our remembering, re-membering. May we somehow find a way to not stop hoping that there are reasons to be hopeful. May his wisdom inspire us once again. May we once more come through this valley of darkness. Our birthing into Mr. Mandela’s dream is proving very long labour. May it not be still born.

 “I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for, and to see realised. But my Lord, if it needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die”.

Nelson Mandela: Defence statement during the Rivonia Trail, 1964

Amandla! Mr. Mandela! Amandla!

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Photo from top of Table Mountain. Robben Island off and up on right. Blouberg Strand in distance. October 2014. Taken by me with cell phone.

Africa is bigger than we think

Africa is way bigger than we think -

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If you look at the map of Africa, you will see all the other countries that can be fitted into it. South Africa, where I live, is located on the southern tip of Africa.

South Africa comprises only 4% of the continent’s total landmass. Cape Town, looking at the map, is on the left, down towards the bottom, with the Atlantic ocean on it’s left. Durban is further up on the right hand side, with the Indian Ocean bordering it.

Johannesburg, where I live, is about 1400 km (approx 950 miles) away from Cape Town, travelling in a SW direction – a two hour flight. Johannesburg to Durban in SE direction is about 600 km – just under an hour flight.

There are 53 or so countries within Africa, most of which are members of the Africa Union (AU) but not all are members of the UN. Nigeria is the most populated with 173.6 million people; Ethiopia: 95.045 million; Egypt: 82,196 million; Dem. Rep of the Congo: 67.36 million (the equator runs through Gabon; Congo; Dem. Rep. of Congo; Uganda; Kenya); South Africa: 52.9 million. Total population of Africa approx 1,138 billion.

South Africa is home to asylum seekers – best guess of 3 million Zimbabweans (we border Zimbabwe), Nigerians, Ethiopians, Somalians, Rwandans, Burundians, those from the Democratic Republic of Congo -

    Within South Africa there are 9 clearly recognised provinces, each with its own legislature, premier and executive council; each has their own distinctive landscape, population, economy and climate. The Cape is the largest in size – Cape Town is in the Western Cape, Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape and the Northern Cape (which takes up nearly a third of South Africa’s land area) borders onto Namibia and Botswana.

Johannesburg, where I live up on the highveld at 6000ft (2000 mts) is actually the smallest province – Gauteng:City of Gold – with the greatest population of 12.2 million.

Within this beautiful country of ours live amazing people of good will. We have a few first class cities, a fine banking system (what banking system is ‘fine’ though I have to ask myself), beautiful landscapes, home to amazing wildlife within our borders. We have poor education for the masses, corruption, murder, rape –  and much of the time we live in despair with our backs against the wall.

Mt. Kilimanjaro is the farthest north I’ve been in Africa – it’s the highest mountain in Africa (Tanzania) standing at 5895m and Tanzania, bordering on Kenya is a few degrees south of the equator.

I MAY write more about South Africa at some stage or the other – I just really wanted to illustrate the size of this huge continent on which I live – and to place South Africa -

I wish you all  in the US a blessed Thanksgiving …

Road Tripping

Road Tripping

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Jacaranda trees – where I live, taken today.

In August I did a road trip on my own from Johannesburg down to Plettenberg Bay through the Karoo. Earlier this month I did it again, this time with my husband as driver and two American friends. This time we overnighted in Graaf Reinet 800 kms away in the most charming place, Kambro Cottages. The below photo is of the Valley of Desolation, a few kms  outside Graaf Reinet, taken at the top of the reserve, the next morning en route to Plett.

20141011_Valley of Desolation_resizedWe spent a delightful few days and nights in Plett and visited the newly established Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve a few kms outside of Plett. These are a few of my cell phone photos from the landrover – (see you tube link at end of blog for lion below on the move) -20141012_lion Plett_resized

20141012_cheetah2_resized_120141012_wild dog_resizedI could put in more photos of this place of beauty – and write of our time in Plett climbing Robberg, drinking delicious coffees here and there – walking on various shores, watching the waves crashing and receding -

All too soon it was time to leave Plettenberg Bay to Cape Town, about 600 kms or so away stopping in for breakfast at a delightful spot and driving much of the time in silence awed at the beauty of Nature.20141015_mountains_resizedWe spent just over a week in Cape Town. My husband attended an international medical conference for much of the time including the Saturday and Sunday morning which meant that during the day I was the driver, taking my friends here and there. My younger son Davey lives in Cape Town – he joined us with my American friends, when we visited Kirstenbosch Gardens, and took the cable car up Table Mountain.

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20141018_top Table Mountain_resizedThat’s Robben Island off on right where Mr. Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison. Photo taken from the top of Table Mountain.

My American friends have visited South Africa many times already; this was a trip with a difference. We met up with several Cape Town friends for coffee or supper, people who they knew about from my saying about them in the past, and now it was meeting face to face engaging in conversation. Most days it was Susan, Frederic and myself driving through to e.g. Muizenberg to view ‘Millionz-O-Doodz’ a canvas created by my elder son displayed at an art gallery, on another occasion to Kalk Bay and much beyond, through to Hout Bay and beyond, often times unsure where we were headed. I’m not GPS friendly -

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In the evenings the four of us would go out for supper somewhere, the food always delicious, beautifully presented, service attentive. Cape Town is known for its excellent food.

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We had lunch at The Vineyard in Newlands, Cape Town one day. It is so lovely. The above photo is from the entrance. Lunch tables are outside and under the oaks on the right.

We trekked out to Gordon’s Bay on Sunday aftrenoon, about a 3/4 hour drive away. The jetty is one I used to walk as a teenager with my parents when we lived there (when Moses was a boy). I usually visit Gordon’s Bay when in Cape Town and walk to the end of the jetty where the ashes of my parents were tossed in the sea many years ago and I say a silent hello while remembering them -

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On our way back to Johannesburg from Cape Town, we saw a different part of the Karoo and overnighted outside Colesberg, half way between Cape Town and Jo’burg.

It’s always lovely to be home and find the cats well, grass green, study quickly getting into its usual disarray. Our friends flew back to the States on Monday night – apart from the specialness of having them with us, I feel a sense of pride in some way in being able to show them parts of our beautiful country.

All photos above were taken with my cell phone. The you tube link below of the ‘lion on the move’ was taken by Fiona Smyth, fellow landrover passenger from Ireland, who took the movie and kindly forwarded it on to me. With her permission I’m adding it. Thanks to son Mike in Plettenberg Bay for editing. it’s about 40 secs.

Into the Wilderness

 The Wildernessbuffalo at Alicecot_resizedBuffalo at watering hole

 Last week Wednesday was a public holiday, Heritage Day, here in South Africa. The 24th September was formerly known as Shaka Day, after King Shaka, King of the Zulus, who united disparate tribes in the early 1800’s. ‘Heritage Day’ is a newly-named public holiday in which South Africans reflect on their cultural heritage and identity. It’s also known as National Braai Day, in which people spend time with families, gathering around the fire, braaing (barbecuing) their boerewors (farmers’ sausage) and drinking beer. Also, of course, celebrating in different ways, reflecting on our rich history and heritage.

We took the opportunity to go to the low veld on the public holiday at the invitation of owners of a private game farm close to the borders of the Kruger National Park.

O what joy to be in the wilderness.

elephant at Alicecot_resizedThere’s something wondrous coming across these leviathans appearing so suddenly,  making barely a sound. Here one moment, gone the next.rhino at Aliceot_resizedAnd to see rhino, especially as they’re under such threat of extinction from poachers for their horn. The line in the photo is the aerial of the landrover.cheetah at Alicecot_resized

The regal cheetah in the shade of a tree, looking almost as curiously at us as we were at it.

There is something regal about all the animals in the wild. They’re so at home in their world, one with mother nature, living perhaps with uncertainty for who knows how Nature will express herself – drought, fires, raging thunder storms …

Being in the wilderness and experiencing Nature brings it into my own wilderness. Sitting around a great and blazing fire in the evenings with only lanterns on the dining table, being quiet for a while, each with their own thoughts, looking at the sparks of the fire, made an inner connection with me. Walking away from the group and looking up at the stars and the new moon on that first night made another inner connection. Walking as we did early one morning, Iain in front with a rifle just in case, listening to the overt sounds of the bush and listening more keenly and hearing other more covert sounds.

One of my most enduring experiences was watching a herd of buffalo, maybe 500 or 600, coming out from the bushes, and in an orderly way making their way to the water. When we thought that no more could appear from the bushes, then more would appear. Once they’d drunk their fill they walked out on the other side of the water and exited from view to another part of the bush on the periphery. There were some buffaloes on the outside of the herd who seemed to be marshalls ensuring that there were no stragglers going out of line.

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There is something soothing about connecting with Nature and her grandeur – the tiniest flower in the dusty gravel, or the blooming bougainvilleas and jacarandas surrounding camp, or the fever trees with their strange pale green trunks and branches, or the baobab tree with a girth of about 4.3 metres at its base that lives to be 3000 years old.

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Much of my time I spent listening to the sounds of Nature – to my inner wilderness as well – feeling at peace, sleeping soundly at night, waking at first light – feeling so grateful to Nature and the opportunity to experience her bounty and magnificent beauty -

All the above photos were taken with my cell phone. Maya Ingwersen was one of the guests and with her permission I’m adding some of her wonderful photographs taken with a proper camera and lens …

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Spring Equinox and Rosh Hashanah

     SPRING  EQUINOX

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Orchids in pots on patio

It’s such a beautiful time of year – the bees are buzzing, the blooms are budding, there’s a freshness and expectancy in the air as we await our first rains. This is true for us, up on the highveld (6000 feet above sea level) here in South Africa, when the rains come in summer unlike e.g. Cape Town which has winter rains. The grass is greening and colour is all about, contrasted with the bright blue skies. The scents of Oxford and Cambridge (yesterday today tomorrow) and jasmine are a delight. The azaleas in my garden are bright and budding. I’ve noted the first jacaranda bloom from my study on a tree over the wall…

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Deep and pale pink azaleas with a clivia in amongst them.

Spring – a time for renewal of all that has been lying in wait during the winter months, feeling the urge and the push upwards, breaking free, budding, blossoming -

As we in the southern hemisphere turn towards summer, so does the northern hemisphere turn towards autumn or fall. In both hemispheres day and night are in balance and are 12 hours in length and duration.

Apart from the earth’s movements around the sun, the equinoxes hold a fascination for me as they represent on another and real level, an inner change. It’s an earthly shift and an inner shift, microcosmically. It’s not as if I think or feel that suddenly all is better and more promising although there is a whiff of that. Spring can also mean reflecting on the winter which has passed, in which we lay low, incubating. Short days, long nights, the sun setting early, rising late. Ice-cold, frost decimating winter plants and we feeling the cold in our bones. Visitors from other parts of the world to the highveld are always struck by the cold in the winter months and the sharply bright blue skies – such contrasts -

Strangely, we had rain this past Saturday night. What an unexpected happy surprise this was, although it was forecast.  Our first rains usually come only in October. This time the rain came up from the Cape – bringing some of its cold -

Spring does hold promise – as do all the seasons. They’re representative of so much – the never-ending rhythmic cycles of planet earth, the shortening or lengthening of the days and nights, our awareness of the passage of time, our selves within ‘time’ as we know it and an awareness of it’s limit in terms of our lives left to live …

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lavender and yesterday today and tomorrow (above photos from my garden in last day or so taken with phone)

Rosh Hashanah – New Year – such a special time, the first day (of two) of the New Year, on Thursday 25th September, in which love, potential and life are deeply considered and celebrated. ‘The Jewish year begins with focusing on the awesome nature and potential that exists within each of us’.*

The Spring Equinox tomorrow here in the southern hemisphere, the Autumnal Equinox in the northern hemisphere, new moon on Wednesday 25th, Jewish New Year the day after … seasons, years, changing …

My Shonah Tovah greetings to all – whether celebrating New Year or the Equinox – may each day be significant, precious and creative.

* from: http://www.simpletoremember.com/articles/a/the-meaning-of-rosh-hashanah/

(A profound piece of writing on Love, Potential, Life).

A More Beautiful World is Possible.

 

A More Beautiful World is Possible 

imagesofhandlightI mentioned Charles Eisenstein in a blog or three back and said that his book “Ascent to Humanity’ is available as a gift from him to you. All he asks is that you do not use the book for any profit. My younger son downloaded it onto a USB a while back and that is what I listen to when out and about in my car. 40 hours (my older son told me) of audio listening. It is also available as a pdf.

I listened to several hours of it while driving on my own from home to Plettenberg Bay and back again through the Karoo a few weeks back. It was/is of great value to me. You can google his name for information to come up and how to download ‘Ascent to Humanity’ or read other essays and such.

He’s been visiting South Africa. I attended his talk last night in downtown Johannesburg. I was thinking of not going. Driving downtown not knowing exactly how to get to the destination was a cause for concern. In the traffic at that time? Coming home at night – a woman on her own?

I left early, to avoid the afternoon traffic and yes, got a bit lost, especially coming home. But this is not to tell you of my comings and goings and thumping heart getting there and coming back. I was deeply grateful to be home and let my thumping heart settle.

The venue, The Living Room, on the 5th Floor, in the Maboneng District of Johannesburg was lovely.

Charles Eisenstein. He said about South Africa and that a miracle took place when we held our first democratic elections in 1994. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was painful for all of us – hateful wrongs from all sides were exposed and laid bare, the underbelly grotesque. Yet, it lead to our constitution, still upheld as one of the finest if not the finest in the world. I thought back to Mr. Nelson Mandela, our president, and hope was high in our hearts that we could live as a united nation, a Rainbow Nation … all the colours glowing brightly. We felt hope – and o what a feeling it was! A glimpse of what is possible! We were not naive to believe that the miracle would happen overnight. The rainbow dims every now and then -

Charles Eisenstein touched on the spirit of ‘ubuntu’ – a uniquely African word roughly translating to ‘human kindness’ where the understanding is that one is inter-related to another and each is united in their human-ness. A person is a person through other people, through their own self-assuredness, each knowing that a harmful act has effects on the whole and that one is diminished by the act of it even if one is not the perpetrator. It is much more besides – but it is like an ‘operating system’ or an overarching archetype even.

Of course there was much more besides. After his talk there were comments from the floor. One person asked what can we do, how can we go forward. His response was ‘I don’t know you, so I can’t say how you can go forward. You know yourself, you know what you can do. Do what you can do. Small acts come from the same energy source’.

He mentioned Rupert Sheldrakes’ Morphic Field …

There are some things that can’t be ‘willed’, though many may disagree. It is not easy to let go of ‘old stories’ – but can one enable a way to let them go without ‘losing face’? Can this be extended to our politicians as well? To ourselves?

What do I want to say in this blog really? In my getting to my destination and coming home, I was helped when I asked on a few occasions. People were kind. On the way home, I was actually quite lost and was about to drive off into the black yonder. I retraced and got more lost. Dark, dark, no lights. Unmarked roads. Somehow, I got onto a semi-highway that looked familiar. Flashing lights, many cop cars up ahead. I was directed to stop. A policewoman asked if everything was alright? Yes I said, thank you. Is that North up ahead? Yes, she said … where are you going. Sandton I said. You’ve got a way to go yet lady. The highway is up ahead. Keep your windows closed and travel safely. Big smile. So sweet.

Our country is beautiful. The people are beautiful. So much is possible. Small acts of kindness, a smile, a helpful attitude, all making their influence felt and creating larger ripples. A more beautiful world is possible.

cactus

This is a photo from my phone last night of a small tray of cacti on the balcony of The Living Room.

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