Apologies

Apologies

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I am so sorry that those of you who came by my post last night (South Africa time) and wanted to leave comments were unable to do so. I was alerted by three people who said that they’d made a comment and it disappeared. One person said they were asked if they wanted to post from an insecure site which she accepted and their comment disappeared. I tried to make a comment on my own post and up came ‘ please enable referrers in your browser’.

In the normal course of events I would have phoned Mike my son who lives in Plettenberg Bay but he is hiking the Otter Trail along the Garden Route. I tried to investigate this on my own – made enquiries via Google etc – and late last night I what’s-apped Mike with profuse apologies for asking for help, but he has not picked up on it. He may have switched off communication entirely while on the trail. I remember he said he was going to do that.

So, in I went to the Apple Mac store in Sandton City this morning. Sandla is always so welcoming and so helpful, and Doron a technician behind the desk was so obliging. They tried everything – they think it may be WordPress itself, or possibly Mike’s site – he hosts me on his site  – (which is doubtful because he is extra security conscious).

So, that’s the story for the moment. I may try to e-mail WP support this afternoon and see if they have any clue what’s going on. Or I may just leave it for the moment until Mike gets back to Plett. Which I think is the most likely – perhaps I’ll go and have my hair cut. 

Thank you to those who came by. I would have LOVED to have seen your comments! And again I’m really sorry for any aggro.

While at the Apple Mac store, my oldest girlfriend called me – she’s a year younger than I, but she is my only friend from school days and a precious friend. She has to go into hospital today, for op tomorrow, and 2 weeks in hospital for treatment. She’d triumphed over a rare form of cancer about 2 years ago. Hair loss, the whole bang shoot. I can only hope and pray that this is not a recurrence. Doron at the Apple store saw my distress and I told him – he said he’ll pray to G.d she’ll be ok – it was hard holding back my tears.

plants-house

 These are outside my study – I’ve just taken the photo.

And Happy Equinox day today! I’ve scheduled my post to come up at 16.21 (SA time) which is when the momentary balance occurs.

World Peace Day and the Equinox

World Peace Day & the Equinox

yinimages (1)

 22nd September is the Equinox when or where the length of day is equal to the length of night. That one nano-second of perfect balance when the earth’s axis reaches a momentary still point.. Balance – a moment before it turns on its axis and we in the southern hemisphere tilt towards summer and the northern hemisphere tilts towards Fall (Autumn). Fall in the north, Spring in the south. One inward looking, the other more outward looking – both beautiful and significant. A transition – 

The below photo is what was on the beach at Keurbooms Strand when we were there last week.. A beautiful piece with those crystals centre-piece –

crystal

The below photo was from the balcony at Plettenberg Bay, last Thursday, 2 nights after the Full Moon .. 

plettmoon

Beach sand art – on the Beacon Island beach at Plettenberg Bay.

beachsandart

We returned home from Plettenberg Bay last night and it was wonderful to see the plants, flowers and trees this morning and to note how they’ve fared over the last week or so in our absence. I really ‘should’ have taken these photos earlier this afternoon.and not in shadow as I have but still, these are a glimpse –

Below is a treasured hanging orchid from a branch of a tree, gifted to us a few years ago – it was not showing buds when we left 10 days or so ago –

tree-orchid

This last one below I am very excited about – s’truth those amaryllis bloom so abundantly and vibrantly. I’m watching it like a hawk. I was so excited to see the buds this morning –

amyrillis

World Peace Day today –

I have to pause – 

I lit a candle – it was the least I could do. Photo below –

a-candle

And we must pray, and keep on praying, and keep on praying some more. Hard work is what is required of us, each and individually. Whether to a deity or not is our choice or belief or profound faith. In thought, word and deed is what matters. Atheists, non believers, all of each stripe and persuasion to join in the fight for peace. Men, women, all. Bring up all that is underground. Fight for our planet and all that is abundant in it and worth saving, for future generations and for ourselves and because it’s the right thing to do. That we do not pollute in any shape or form. That we do not desecrate Mother Earth and we will fight for her.  For us to hear her battle-cry and answer to it. Such a crazy paradox – Fight for Peace. But perhaps we do have to go into the battle-ground, and fight for peace – fight by praying, fight by saying no to what is not right, fight for standing up with what you believe in. We cannot stand by while all about is just totally crazy. I don’t know – madness has its own allure – maybe that extreme has to be reached – but maybe every now and then we can in any way, be a candle unto the darkness –

World Peace Day – one day, maybe one day, it will be every day –

imagesofhandlight

The world is pretty frightful everywhere. I pray for the Syrians, I pray for the families of shooting victims; I pray for those in sorrow and despair; I pray for Planet Earth and her survival; I pray that the emerging feminine energies will continue to be heard, from women and men alike –

‘Where is sorrow, there is Holy ground’. Oscar Wilde, de Profundis.

And the Equinox – a changing of energies – a tilt of our planet Earth – and balance for one brief moment. It’s real. We can each bring that tiny bit of balance into our everyday lives, every now and then; it will always have ripple effects. We can each be kind in whatever way and do no harm –

While in Plett I did some serious editing on the mss: ‘Reflections ~ Aging & Becoming’. A fair bit of going backwards and forwards with Susan Schwartz in Phoenix, Az. Believe it or not I think we are ‘getting there’ – it’s been a long while ‘getting there’. My son in Plett helped a lot but now wants to use an Indesign program to format etc. Which he can do by remote. He’s hiking the Otter Trail right now so this won’t get his attention for a while. Meanwhile I am pondering the next baby steps … to e or not to e (e.g).-  I heard it is dead simple to hijack one’s e-book and ‘get it for free’ –

No whales to be seen in Plettenberg Bay sad to say – I think Amanda when she called for them, saw the only one to be seen – my last post – we had a lovely time – and it is lovely to be home.

This last photo is of me in Plett last week; I’d snitched a few twigs of bougainvillea from a very abundant tree on the outside. My hair was terrible, in dire need of a cut, and I was wearing no lipstick. Nevertheless it is a lovely photo of the bouganvillea and I was clearly in a happy mood (probably from having snitched the blooms); that’s my husband in the background and the photo of me is representative though I do wish I’d been wearing lipstick – and had the haircut.

So, the flowers are from me to you, on World Peace Day and in honour of the Equinox. 

bouganvillea-plett

Thank you for reading – Peace to you all, and may the Force be with us all –

My Friend the Wall and Hearing the Call

My Friend the Wall and Hearing the Call

yogaimages

 This morning I attended yoga, the first time I’d been to a Thursday morning class. The teacher was new to me. Her class had been with her for about 8 years she told me so they were ‘advanced’. I was to go at my own pace. It was amazing to watch her go so gracefully into various poses and hold them. And the pupils too. 

Then it was the headstand. My late mother was a yoga teacher and I remembered that it was her policy that no pupil attempt the headstand until had they’d several years of training. So I sat and watched. The teacher’s execution was a delight. Grace in slow motion, balance and stillness. And most of the pupils did it effortlessly.

A pupil walked to the wall. ‘My friend the wall’, she said and performed the head stand balancing her legs against the wall. Of course being me I made all sorts of associations. Hitting our heads against brick walls we seemingly can’t get through. A wall of pain and grief. Walling ourselves in and not allowing our vulnerability to show. Building walls instead of bridges. On and on went my associations while I sat on my yoga mat watching others. 

Can a wall become a friend as it did for the yoga pupil who used the wall for balance? Can I break down walls and build bridges in myself and in the world? Can I befriend the wall and see it as an aspirational metaphor, using it as a stepping stone to break down my inner walls that keep me from my fullness of being?

On ‘Hearing the Call‘ : My son who was visiting for several days last week took back with him to Plettenberg Bay a small gift from me to his girlfriend. She called me yesterday to thank me. I asked whether there had been any sightings of whales in the bay. We’re flying down to Plett this coming Sunday. No, she said, she hadn’t seen or heard. Call them to come I said to her. She said she would when next running on the beach.

I checked my cell phone I’d left behind to charge when I returned home  after yoga for an urgent cup of coffee. The first message was from Amanda. She’d seen whales in the bay this morning while running! My heart did a little leap –

Am I suggesting that the whales heard Amanda’s call? No, not really.

What it did suggest to me so soon after my yoga class, was my need to break down the inner wall in order to better hear the call. To make a friend of it and invite it in. Use it for clambering and climbing. Paint those walls with my own inner deep recesses. See, sniff through the walls. Knock down those inner walls that keep me bound. 

Could the obstacle be the path?

I tried to find some photos of whales I’d taken a few years back but no luck. Hopefully I’ll be able to put up a photo or two next week.

Those leviathans of the deep always stir something deep inside me. I like to think that I hear better the call of the deep – 

Thank you for coming by and all good wishes. May the Force be with you.

 

Spring

SPRING

strelitzia

Tomorrow the 1st of September is the official day of Spring! It certainly looks like it here up on the highveld in South Africa. Jasmine is showing her jewels everywhere and her scent is sublime. Yesterday Today & Tomorrow (brunfelsia – I had to look it up; aka Oxford & Cambridge) is beginning to bloom, its fragrance  and colour a delight and the clivias are gorgeous. I took the above photo yesterday morning of a strelitzia, also known as ‘bird of paradise’ and indigenous to South Africa. The top right hand corner probably had my thumb over my phone – but somehow that doesn’t matter. You can see another bloom about to burst behind the glowing flower. 

My garden is showing winter snow drops. It’s always a lovely surprise to see them pop up. They’re so pretty and delicate. My orchids continue to bloom in their pots on the patio; they’re a real wonder to me. My rose bushes are sprouting, as are my bougainvilleas in their large pots, their green leaves shooting. My azaleas – today I saw tiny buds! The jacaranda trees don’t seem to know what to do – they’re half in process of shedding many leaves and looking bare while others look as if they’re about to bloom. A friend of mine in Durban, Kwa Zulu Natal says they’re showing in all their purple-mauvey-bluey glory.

I had my first walk in ages this late afternoon. I broke my two middle toes several weeks ago when I banged them against the dressing table as I was rushing to find my shoes to attend an evening meeting. I had my injured toes strapped together for a few weeks. I didn’t think it worth an x-ray. They were either broken or badly sprained. They were sore, bruised and plumped up like pork sausages. So, I haven’t walked for a long while, though I’ve been attending yoga and pilates since the beginning of this month, doing what I can. No rising up or bending down on tippy toes – all quite flat footed thank you.

For the last two mornings I’ve arrived at school earlier than usual where I volunteer to help poor readers. Instead of checking for emails and reading the news on my phone in the car before fetching the first pupil from class, I decided to walk briskly around the soccer field in the bright still early-ish morning. I was so pleased – my toes seemed to manage. This gave me the impetus to walk this evening. It was so lovely – and, since my elder son is up here in Johannesburg for a few days from Plettenberg Bay, he and my husband also came for a walk! Joy indeed! And most unusual!

While we welcome the arrival of Spring here in the southern hemisphere (although it’s been known to snow in October), those of you in northern climes have your Fall approaching. Always, the change of seasons brings about inner changes. May these in-between times bring good constructive changes and may peace, goodwill, justice and freedom prevail.

“When you’re young you prefer the vulgar months, the fullness of the seasons. As you grow older you learn to like the in-between times, the months that can’t make up their minds. Perhaps it’s a way of admitting that things can’t ever bear the same certainty again.”
Julian Barnes, Flaubert’s Parrot

Opposition

Opposition

opposition

I tried to find the quote which has always stayed with me ~ I can’t ~ but to paraphrase  as I remember it, ‘a healthy democracy is dependant on its opposition’.

This is evident by the outcome of our recent national municipal elections held every 5 years this past August 3rd. Although there wasn’t a huge voter turn out, our ruling* party the ANC~ the African National Congress ~ was severely trumped in 3 major metros and elsewhere in previously held ANC strongholds. The opposition leader of the DA ~ Democratic Alliance ~ Mmusi Maimane ~ led a clean and inspiring challenge to the ANC.

We’re hopeful that the Democratic Alliance will bring back values enshrined in our Constitution, drawn up by Mr. Nelson Mandela and many other worthies. We’re hopeful that those who remain in the ANC will be similarly inspired. There are/were many within the ANC who did sterling jobs but there were far too many who were feeding at the trough. We’re hopeful that money for education & schools, health clinics, housing, water and electricity will be properly allocated and implemented; tenders will follow proper transparent procedures; councillors will be accountable; people who are qualified for the job will be given the job and no more positions for pals; and that tax payers money will no longer be used to line the pockets of those in the ‘inner circle’ ~ the sycophants.

The lead up to these municipal elections was seriously rough. Racism reared its ugly head at every turn. Dirt on candidates was unearthed; 20 potential candidates were murdered, perpetrators still to be found.

At long last, we can hope that our country can pull together in spite of the challenges ahead. That there will be more job opportunities for our youth who find fulfilment in their work and can foresee a future for themselves and future generations. That women and girls rise up from their position of subservience and disallow a firmly entrenched culture of patriarchy ~ and that men and boys do not feel threatened by the natural feminine.

It really does seem to me that we’re in a process of transformation in my neck of the woods ~ a slow one as worthy ones are ~ and while there opportunities for all in our beloved country, there are also dangers. There always are as the old gives way to the new, as a new consciousness and a new vision is born. Waking from sleeping is never easy ~

I think this is true for the world at large as well ~ the soul of the world is calling out for recognition of pervasive social malaise and a re-dressing of serious imbalances. We’re all being called to be in opposition that does not serve ourselves or our planet.

There are many seismic shifts worldwide. Locally we’re still in winter here in South Africa but I am heartened to see buds on plants that looked very tired. A bougainvillea pot plant looked quite dead yesterday but I today I can see the shoots! The below photo of orchids I took this afternoon. Snowdrops in the background. Opposition is healthy ~

orchidsIMG_1285

May The Force be with you, and thank you for reading.

 

*I wish they’d do away with ‘ruling party’ and-rather call it the ‘serving’ party ~

To Hunt A Sub

To Hunt A Sub

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Jacqui Murray’s debut novel ‘To Hunt a Sub‘ is out. I read an excerpted chapter which I enjoyed so much that I’ve ordered it on my Kindle. There is no guarantee as to when I will read it but I will and follow up with a review.

I’m really happy to put this up as a blog post. It’s the first time I’ve done so. It’s a small token of appreciation for her ongoing support and comments to my infrequent blogs. I’d be happy to do likewise for any of you.

Her posts are so worthwhile – there are so many excellent tips for writers, technical shortcuts on the computer and much much more, all written in her clear and concise style and always a pleasure to read. For checking out and subscribing to her posts:

blog :- https://worddreams.wordpress.com/

link to her Tech Tips for Writers column:  https://worddreams.wordpress.com/category/tech-tips-for-writers/ 

link to her Writer’s Tips column: https://worddreams.wordpress.com/category/writers-tips/

She is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, and the thriller To Hunt a Sub. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her nonfiction books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

 The link below is to the Kindle version of her new book. I wish her great success!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01K7VSPBW#navbar

Never Again

 Never Again

My younger son David met Mr. Nelson Mandela (South Africa’s ex- president) about 12 years ago just before his high school jazz band was about to go on a performing trip abroad. The school band performed for Mr. Nelson Mandela at his home in Houghton Johannesburg. David knows that he was enormously privileged to have met him.

In the intervening years, David read music and philosophy at Rhodes University in Grahamstown (eastern Cape), and has been a musician for some years. I’m not sure when David produced this song, but they use the words of Mr. Mandela himself. He must have excerpted them from Mr. Mandela’s many speeches and put this particular one to music. Drawing is courtesy of elder son, Mike. The music composition and trumpet is David’s.

Never, never and never again

shall it be

that this beautiful land

will again experience 

the oppression of one by another

July 18th is the late Mr. Mandela’s birthday and every year on this day is Mandela Day where citizens world wide are encouraged to spend 67 minutes of this day in helping the less fortunate in some way. Mr. Mandela gave 67 years of his life to public service and we are encouraged to give a mere 67 minutes of our time on this day.

“I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Martin Luther King

Viva Mandela, Viva!
Amandla!

Unusual

Unusual

awareness quote

I’m happily back at home from my trek/road trip to Plettenberg Bay on my own in my little car, and feeling gratitude for my safe trip. I’m also pleased that my son Mike willingly spent several hours formatting the WIP after I had worked at even more editing while in Plett. I think it is almost ready for the next step. 

Some weeks ago, here at home in Morningside, Johannesburg, I walked to my friend’s home one Saturday afternoon to play bridge (a newly revived interest). It was unusual to make the walk – it wasn’t just around the corner – it was quite a fair way. While walking I thought of doing at least one unusual thing each week. Which helped in my making the decision to drive to Plett the following week – two weeks ago today. This fell into the category of unusual.

I left home  2 Thursdays ago around 6.00 a.m., overnighted in Graaff Reinet, left about 9.00 in the morning, had breakfast some hours later in Willowmore, omelettedrove through the mist of the Outeniqua Pass,

outeniqua

stopped in at my sister in the Wilderness for tea and got to Plett about 5.00 p.m.  Rain on Saturday. I rested though started fashioning something from egg cartons soaked in boiling water and flour. I went with my son and lady friend to Harkerville for a hike on Sunday. Below is a view point.

me mike harkerville

The week was unusual, come Monday. Always I would wake early and step onto the bedroom balcony to check the sunrise. I went to bed fairly early and woke early, made tea and from my bed in utter comfort I worked on the WIP. I would make coffee a little while later, and would continue working from my bed. 

sunriseplett

The week flew by. I saw a few people. I walked on the Robberg Beach with my sister who came through from the Wilderness about an hour away.plett

Mostly I worked on the manuscript. Made some walks into town to have my car cleaned, another time to have my hair cut – up hill and down dale, necessary exercise.

I left Plett on Friday afternoon to overnight at my sister an hour away. Such a lovely evening with her grandsons and Elizabeth my niece and her husband. liam

That’s my sister’s husband on the sofa – with TV control where it always is –

I left the Wilderness on Saturday morning, around 9.00. Earlier sunrise from the  Wilderness balcony. That’s the mist that accompanied me for the next several hours.

sunrise sisI overnighted in Springfontein, in a charming garden cottage on a farm. Golly those stars at night; I can’t remember when I last saw such a night sky. That Milky Way. Those bright glowing stars. I wish I’d attempted a photo –

I left really early on Sunday – my windscreen was thoroughly iced. Several jugs of water from the tap to de-ice in the complete dark. It was totally freezing. I arrived home at 1.00, tired but very happy to be home and sweetly looked after by my husband.

I thought some more on the road trip of aiming to do something unusual each week. I have already. I walked to the gym close-ish by me earlier this week to enquire about yoga classes. It makes more economic sense to sign up for the gym and attend yoga classes included in the ‘deal’. My husband and I are seeing Zanele tomorrow late afternoon to discuss it all. He also wants to join! Not for yoga, but you never know! So, if we join, believe me, this will be extremely unusual. And my unusual something for the week.

Thanks for reading! Hope this finds you all well & safe. May the Force be with you.

On the Road again …

On the Road again …

road trip Karoo

August 16, 2014, driving through the Karoo –

A restlessness, a yearning to be on the road. It would be less expensive to fly down to the coast, certainly far quicker, probably safer. A two hour flight as opposed to a 14 hour road trip. My husband has a car at our holiday home so it’s not as if I wouldn’t have wheels down there, I would.

I plan to overnight tomorrow night in Graaf Reinet, a very charming Karoo town and stay at a BnB we’ve stayed at before in October 2 years ago. Such comfort, so charming, such a genial host. Then it’s only about 450 kms still to get to my destination. 2 years back this August I did a road trip down to Plettenberg Bay, leaving Johannesburg very early in the morning and did the trip solo in one go. I want to recapture that sense of being on my own again, winding through the Karoo and those never ending roads and wide open blue winter skies and be part of the changing scenery, unfolding in all Nature’s grandeur. Just me and thee and Mother Nature –

The timing is right – government schools are on holiday so I am not tied to my volunteer work. The girls at the rooms are happy to stand in for me in my absence. My husband will manage. Already the freezer is half-full. There is food for the cats. I’ve changed a few arrangements for next week. But the following week I have to be back and not just for school. I have other commitments that can’t be changed.

I want to get off the treadmill for a bit. I know I’m lucky to have a treadmill when so many don’t. I want to walk on the beach, feel the sand and sea on my feet, watch the waves and who knows, there may be whales to watch and climb Robberg maybe.

20th Aug 2014
20th Aug 2014 Robberg.

I hope to paint, play with clay, do nothing, dream, read, finish what I’ve started reading on my Kindle, finish off the WIP, so close to finishing. June is almost over – we’re halfway through the year –

I want to be back by Sunday next week to prepare for the following week but also to watch the finals of Wimbledon on TV. I wondered which route I will take to return … perhaps I’ll meander back on a different route.

Well, those photos are old photos – here’s a recent one from last Sunday when we trekked out to Nirox, a beautiful place not far from where I live, to see the land art sculptures.Nirox June

Lethargy

Lethargy

shadow

I was thinking to myself the other day that the only good thing about lethargy is that it too passes. But this was too easy a thought and dismissive of what lethargy is. In hindsight, I look back at lethargy that was my companion for the last several weeks. I can quite easily describe the sense of it as it pertained to me. I can say I felt wooden, somewhat immobilised, powerless, helpless, heavy – yet I needed to reflect on the why’s and the wherefores and my role in all of this, if any, in relation to my brother who suffers – from depression.

He lives elsewhere, in isolation. He visited for just over a week. He and I were on our own. My husband was away. We walked a bit, played Scrabble. Once I took him for a walk around the Zoo Lake, photo below. He was not open to anything of a psychological nature, like playing with clay or doodling or any in-depth talking. My husband returned from being away for my brother’s last 2 nights here so that was good and timely. My younger son was up in Johannesburg for 2 nights during the time my brother was here, so that lightened the load in a good way. Two dear girlfriends came by at different times to say hello to him and play a game of Scrabble, so that was also nice.

Zoo Lake – late May

zoo lake

Depression: Dear God. An Affliction. We did talk occasionally. But there were barriers. He returned home in early June and we’ve spoken a few times since. One day at a time …

The during and aftermath of his visit has left me with much to digest and I’m doing so in my way. I can only continue to hope and pray that he finds his way in some way. I’m aware that he may not – and that a person has their own destiny to fulfil – 

The changing of the seasons have I think mirrored me in some way – lengthening shadows, cold, heavy, dark.

Last week, preparations were underway for a birthday lunch for me of which my husband took total control. He had no control over the weather though. Sunday was forecast to be bitterly cold. So we brought in tables from outside to inside the day before and re-configured things. The tables looked lovely. The room looked lovely and festive. The fire and heaters were blazing. It was a lovely birthday celebration, much fun and laughter, excellent food (sourced from Giovanni the owner and chef of the best Italian restaurant down the road, anti pasta, lasagne, vegetarian pasta, salads), limoncello, wine, champagne, phone calls and messages from my friends and family, lovely presents I opened later when a few stayed on – it was very very special. As well, a heightened appreciation of my husband who laboriously brought it all together –

I started lightening up from the lethargy last week sometime. I’m attending to things left unattended.

And writing a blog on lethargy.

I’ve also realised that while lethargy has its place, it also has its danger of becoming entrenched. Or at least that was the sense that I had. I could see the possibility inherent in me of becoming fully immobilised, not attending to anything, not attending to my psyche, wanting to just do nothing.

Brexit looms when the UK will know whether or not it will exit the EU. There are ramifications either way and there is tension in that.

The Orlando shootings have happened – I have no words. There will be ongoing ramifications of that, and there is tension in this.

Our country is facing municipal elections in early August and there is much ongoing infighting amongst other issues on many fronts. We are all tense.

Yesterday, I drove to school with my lights on as the day was heavily overcast and visibility low. When I returned to my car the battery was flat as I’d left the lights on – but I was helped by two men who got it going. I was very grateful.

Later on in the day I drove down to the shops for a few provisions as well as to buy a couple of doughnuts for my helpers yesterday, to deliver today when I was again at school (I’m a volunteer for an organisation that assists poor readers). I left the shops yesterday, waited at the traffic lights to change to green, made a right, and was almost side-swiped by a speeding BMW who shot the red lights. It was seriously close, a hair’s breadth .. up ahead I saw a speeding police car obviously giving chase. It’s only a few days to the anniversary of the serious car accident when a truck shot the stop street and upended my car, three years ago on 20th June.

20th June is the winter solstice for the southern hemisphere and it’s also full moon that night. Turning points –

The sun is shining today, though still very cold. The photo below is of my orchids heavily laden with dew on the patio taken just now –

orchidsJune

I reflect that there is beauty among the difficulties and challenges that life presents –

faith

and some words from Clarissa Pinkola Estes – 

Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some poor portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip towards an enduring good ..

Thank you for listening –  

A-Z Reflections

Reflections: A-Z

A-to-Z Reflection [2016]

Thanks firstly to Arlee Bird and his wonderful team – without you all I would have been a non-starter.

As always it was a wild ride … exhausting but worth it! I was away for a week from mid- April, with no internet or wi-fi, so I HAD to preschedule some posts before leaving. On my return from the bush, I did my best to catch up on comments and needless to say I had to do the remaining posts on the fly.

I always so appreciated receiving comments on my posts, whether long or short. It’s gratifying that people came by and read. It means and matters much to me, thank you. In the earlier part of the A-Z when I did some random jumping around, I noted that many did not have their April 2016 A-Z badge up and what they’d posted, if they had, bore no relevance. But other random jumping around yielded amazing posts. I could not get to all I wanted to or read as thoroughly as I may have liked but I did what I could. Towards the end of the A-Z my computer went on a total go slow, almost to a stop and no-go which had me tearing my hair out, but which my son rectified when he got back from being away (also out of contact attending AfricaBurn in the middle of nowhere) by adding extra data .. thanks Mike.

I know of a few who were not able to access my posts to leave a comment – they wrote to me personally to say so – they received ‘Error 404’. I do not know why this happened.

Thank you Rosie, Shilpa, Elaine, Pat, Gulara to mention but a few, for retweeting my posts! MUCH appreciated!

I’ve gained a few more WordPress and twitter ‘followers’ to my blog for which I’m grateful.

The warmth, comradeship and the quality of the posts of the A-Zers made it all so worthwhile, thank you all. A delight to read! All of quality, whether on people, dogs, music, movies, spirituality, places visited accompanied by photographs or not, stories, books – the list is long – 

There is no current or past A-Z category under which I can categorise my posts at the start. There is no category for ‘psychological’ … perhaps there could be such a label in the future? This could include eg myth, legend – ?

Again, my heartfelt thanks – to Arlee and his team and to all of you who participated, and to you who came by my posts.

We’re all facing challenges on many levels, individually and in the outer world, as this year continues on its shaky path … may the Force be with us, always. And thank you all, very much, again. 

A-Z Blog Challenge Z for Zebra

A-Z Blog Challenge Z: Zebra

Coat_of_arms_of_Botswana.svgBotswana Coat of Arms

So many black stripes against the white background – or is it the other way round – with evidence of tinges of brown. Botswana’s coat of arms* with the two zebra on either side look identical, mirror images, but in real life this is not so.

Nevertheless the zebra symbolises equality and unity between all races. A zebra is upholding an elephant tusk on the one side representing wildlife and tourism; the other zebra holding an ear of sorghum, corn, represents Botswana’s main local crop.

(This brings to mind the myth of Demeter and Persephone and Demeter’s search for her virgin daughter abducted by Hades to the underworld. In her grief she cursed the land which became sterile. Zeus asked Hermes to step in – and in brief, Persephone was allowed to visit her mother in springtime at which season Demeter permitted corn to be laid and grown. I wonder if the Botswana government is aware of this ancient Greek myth and its corn connection to the Eleusinian Mysteries).

We saw many zebra on our Botswana trip, often with giraffe in close proximity. The first photo is when we were on The Island, the 2nd in Moremi. Seeing animals at peace in their natural zone often gave me moments of zen –

zebra1

zebra

One of many fables as to how the zebra got its stripes is from the San Bushmen of the Namibian Kalahari Desert. In brief, long ago, when there were few animals and it was hot, dry and dusty, a zebra and his son came to a water hole. The baboon, who thought he was lord of it all, challenged the zebra to a fight if the zebra wanted to have his fill. They fought. The zebra gave the baboon a huge kick and sent the baboon flying into the rocks high above them. (Which ‘explains’ how the baboon came to have a bare patch on his bottom, for his hair was scratched right off on landing on the rocks). The zebra was so amazed at this, that he staggered backwards into the baboon’s fire, leaving burn marks on his white skin. This shock sent the zebra galloping away into the savannah plains where he has lived ever since.

And so, with this fairy tale, we come to the end of the A-Z! Thank you for coming along for the ride! I have so appreciated your comments, always broadening my own outlook on life.  Time to take a deep breath for the moment before attending to posts of yours I have so much enjoyed!

* Pula is the local currency and also means rain. The wavy blue represents rain. The head of the buffalo recognises the importance of cattle herding, and the cogs represent industry – diamonds and mining. It’s a rich country. Education is key in the life of Botswana, though many remain mired in poverty.

A-Z Blog Challenge Y: Yes to change

Y: Yes to Change

‘I imagine that yes is the only living thing’ – e.e. cummings

I returned home from Botswana this past Saturday; my US friends began their return home on Wednesday night. Only yesterday did I note that my orchids on my patio are beginning to bud and a few are showing blossoms (I’m sure it’s way too early). They weren’t showing any signs when I left on the 16th April. I went walking yesterday afternoon around my neighbourhood and delighted in the magnificent trees of rich and vibrant colour.

magnoliaThe seasons are changing from summer to autumn to winter, and nature keeps on showing us her beauty. Yes! I say, and thank you!

Yes! that I could take another photo of the fish eagle on a dead branch at sunset.

sunset fish eagle

 And in the first days of our bundu bashing I snapped a photo of a different baobab in all her glory in the pulsating sunlight.

baobabinsunlight

Another photo of an elephant taken while I was sitting outside my tent, on my side of the river .. I heard nothing, suddenly it was there …ellie2

I wish I knew how to upload some of the videos I took of elephant and hippo in the water gallumphing, wallowing, spouting, playing. 

Yes! to all the different views of nature, changing all the time. Yes! to my beautiful orchid buds, photo taken this morning, even if it is too soon. Yes! to the bee who’s buzzing around in my study –

Aprilorchid buds

And Yes! to all of you who’ve accompanied me in this A-Z blog challenge, I’ve so appreciated it. Thank you!

Z tomorrow – I have some lovely photos of zebra which I’ll put up. They all look the same but they really are different to each other. 

A-Z Blog Challenge X: Xray for Change

X: X-ray for Change

dead tree

On our landrover trips further into the bush on our Botswana adventure, we came across this very dead tree standing tall in the water. The tree struck me the first time I saw it; and again the next time at a different time of day and light. This was one of two photos I took the last time we passed it by. I loved the shape of it, especially how the branches were in symmetry at the top. And the tree and branches reminded me of an x-ray of the body, or some of it. I wondered how something entirely dead could look so lovely, and be in life-giving waters.

Over the last several days I’ve been thinking about that dead tree in life-giving waters and the symbolism it represents to me personally. For me, it symbolises the necessity of ‘doing’ or ‘practising’ a death meditation every now and then. Some I know do it daily, on arising. How to simply put it – it considers life and death together, the two most extremes that I can think of, the two most extreme opposites that have to do with us, with you, with me, and is an exercise of value. It makes me think about life, my life, others’ lives, loved ones past and present. I put a sort of an x-ray onto those thoughts and feelings –  interesting of course only to me – and thoughts and meditations on death of course enter the picture – ever changing and deepening (I hope) –

It is a task to attempt to hold those extremes in a healthy tension – but the task has value to me. The dead tree in water photograph is a graphic symbol of life and death residing together in symbiotic relationship. For me I must reflect on them, often. It is not morbid.

spiderweb

The first time I saw this spider web it was glistening in the bright morning sunlight, bejewelled and sparkling. This photo of it doesn’t do it justice, taken as it was at a different time. But, in whatever light, it was impressive. I thought briefly of Arachne (mere mortal) who challenged Athene (goddess) in the arts of weaving. Athene turned Arachne into a spider endlessly swing at the end of a thread. I thought of other myths and stories around the spider – and its web – it’s a very powerful symbol worthy of attempting to x-ray it and valuing the symbolism. I thought of the fine-ness of it, its elaborateness, its tension, its connections, its beauty, a tapestry, glistening like a jewel, so fragile, so strong, it’s threads sometimes used to make parachute chords.

I remember a dream from a long time ago in which I was bitten by a spider above my right ankle on my leg.

baobab2This last photo is of a baobab tree taken on our first walking day on The Island. Again, not a great pic … but this one was unusual as it has two trunks. The baobab tree is a mighty work of nature. Elephants love the pods from which tartaric acid is made and it’s used in food. They have a lovely lemony taste. I read in the Air Botswana in flight-magazine of a baobab that had recently toppled over. It was over 3000 years old. Before Christ, before Buddha –

So, x-ray and change – there’s always a new way of viewing an x-ray. 

Thank you for being with me on this trip – the A-Z trip and my Botswana trip. My US guests left for home last evening, and I am settling back into things, not least catching up on your blogs.

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