On a walk a few days ago, my husband picked up this pod on the roadside and said it reminded him of a swan. Which reminded me of a post I’d written at the end of January 2017 on the ‘Black Swan’. It was apropos a birding walk we’d done one morning on the grounds of the Johannesburg Country Club. I photographed a black swan on the lake though with my phone it was barely visible. In my post at the end of January 2017 I wrote about the ‘Black Swan’ as a phenomenon – i.e. that all of a sudden an entirely unpredictable and improbable event occurs that upsets the apple cart hugely, and has enormous effects in many ways, geopolitically particularly.

So, above are photos of the pod, picked up on the path. The top one, looking a little swan like; the next two where the same one faces left and then right, one looking up one looking down (the same pod, just at different positions). I like too that it also looks boat-like, or leaf-like, with an indentation, or container –

Excerpt from my January 2017 post. “The importance of the metaphor lies in its analogy to the fragility of any system of thought. A set of conclusions is potentially undone once any of its fundamental postulates is disproved. In this case, the observation of a single black swan would be the undoing of the logic of any system of thought, as well as any reasoning that followed from that underlying logic”.

In that particular Wikipedia article, mention is also made of the necessity of being able to withstand the fall out.

I see these days as unlikely as a black swan.

I’m reminded of the words of Julian David, Jungian analyst from Devon UK who was visiting South Africa many years ago in which he gave a lecture. In that lecture, he stressed the importance of sitting in the fire when we are in it, and not leaping out of the flames to escape being burned even if that be our inclination. We have to sit in it, he said, and be burned. I think of today, when we want redemption and renewal/resurrection, now. But this is a long process, one that will be keeping us in limbo and uncertainty for who knows how long.

The first photo below is the one I took with my cell phone a few years back of the swan. It is in the middle. The one below was taken by someone who was on the bird walk with us and took the photo with a telephoto lens and forwarded it onto me. What is not visible is just as real though –

Can anything be birthed from this time we are now in? We’ve been experiencing birth pangs for a long time already. Is this going to be a long gestation period in which the process cannot be hurried much? Will we be able to be stretched and sit in the discomfort? Are we flexible towards the unknown? Are we adapting as we go along on this seemingly treacherous road, as we face upheaval, betrayal of all that we held dear? Will we honour the dark, like the embryo in the womb? Will we somehow remember the grace of the swan? Our confidence in our governments who gained our trust when we thought were acting in our best interests? In what way were we complicit in allowing matters to come to this sorry pass? Civil liberties slowly being eroded? Lives at risk? The grief we experience on all levels, deaths, illness, isolation, uncertainty. Fear. Betrayal. Will we emerge from the ruins? What will be acceptable or more noble to us as individuals and collectively some years ahead? Will the black swan effect help us towards a brother/sisterhood of humanity? Will be still be Waiting for Godot, waiting for tomorrow?

Can we look up and down, like the pod of the swan, left and right, and sail serenely like the swan from my friend’s photo? Do we need a telephoto lens to see what is not visible?

I don’t know what kind of lens I use to see while in this zeitgeist. All I know is, is that this time has to be endured and that patience in the waiting is needed. at the same time always questioning the information we’re fed. Much of the time I feel and am unproductive and slothful. Questioning the information we’re fed from various sources is exhausting, yet in my view necessary. Hard science vs contrary information which is sometimes compelling. The moments, few and far between, when I get my hands into the soil are good, or paint, or play with clay (after great resistance). Baking – I also believe that our old way of consciousness has to give way to a renewed one and that it will take time. What can kill can also cure. We’re in both an individual collective ‘dark night of the soul’ –

My thoughts are with you all and with those on the front line who meet this virus head on to best assist. May the Force be with you. May we withstand the fall out. Thank you for reading and have a good weekend. Keep safe and well.

70 Comments on Black Swan, Birthing and Betrayal

  1. You can see the future, Susan. You wouldn’t have known in 2017 that ‘black swan’ would become one of the cult phrases of 2020. Not cult exactly, but one that everyone is itching to use without the slightest provocation, mostly to demonstrate his/ her ‘coolness.’ Like how some may have used French words and phrases fifty years back. It is starting to go into contracts and legal agreements as well. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I’m not aware that it has become a meme Ankur! I’m amazed. I listen and watch the financial news and I haven’t seen it brought up (yet) in my neck of the woods. And amazed as well that it’s coming into legalese. You’re right, who would have known! Merde! ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope this finds you well in your neck of the woods, and thank you for coming by.

        • Nothing like a little exaggeration ๐Ÿ™‚ Maybe legalese will describe the BS as an act of G.d and therefore cannot be covered? Perhaps you’re being prescient Ankur – we’ll watch this space!

  2. You have a new web design, I do believe. Or have I missed noticing it before? Thanks for this powerful post. I’m writing about forgiveness today and asking many of the same questions. I keep remembering Marion Woodman saying with a role of her eyes, “You didn’t think patriarchy would give up without a fight, did you?” That was 15 years ago, and she didn’t live to see the worst of it.

    I am both in the fire and protected from it–at the moment. My sons are more strongly challenged in their worlds, but I’m retired and stay home with family and friends shopping for me and a local organic gardener delivering a share of food each week. I’m also planting my own vegetable garden as I take in the beauty of new birth and the greening of this time of year. Movement away from home is constrained, but this is a blessing as well as a pain. I’m here, watching life unfold in nature. If I could keep my mind off the news (which I can’t), the world would be idyllic, even if lonely.

    I watch as my sons consider how long this might take and how their lives are being turned upside down and must be re-imagined. I watch them search for new balance in a tottering world. My inability to help hurts, so I cook in the fire of climate change, economic chaos, racism, and an untrustworthy incompetent government. I know this is not new to you in South Africa. May there be miraculous awakenings ahead. We humans are an adaptable species, but we may have thrown one too many plastic bottles in the ocean now. We’ll have to wait and see. Sending you love and good health and safety.

    • Hi Elaine, no I don’t have a new website design? It’s the same design but it is a new wordpress program that I haven’t yet got the hang of – eg I can’t italicise or use colour for words I want to emphasise. In some ways it is a little easier. I’m probably using 1/10th or less of what it offers.

      What a strange time this is. We absolutely have to sit in it and not jump out of the flames. So many of us are fortunate in that we have our own homes and can plant seeds in the garden or have food delivered and go strolling and so on. And you watching birds being born from those gorgeous blue egg shells and mothers feeding them and seeing them take off. But in spite of this this does not close us off from the wider world where the glaring reality of a mad sickness looms ever larger – in our governments, the grasping of power, people who support such, abdicating responsibility for themselves and placing themselves in the hands of crooks. It is hard to come to terms with this blind side that blindsides us … In a way I regret my thinking and feeling that things have to REALLY break down and be destroyed before a new creation can arise as it seems as this has come to pass. But I regret this only in a (small) way and can only hope that something worthwhile and new comes to pass.

      We do not know what is still to happen here in SA. Infections are rising, deaths are relatively low, but we have not yet peaked. The battle lines are drawn between the govt and opposition parties and arrows are being shot. Many are hungry and going without food. The govt is hardly helping, all the help comes from NGO’s, businesses, etc. Winter is upon us as of today … Like the US, here in SA the figures of those who are are unemployed keeps rising. Liberties are removed.

      Let me not go on about this Elaine. It will be our winter of discontent I know. Will the summer still come? Reminds me of Camus: ‘In the depth of winter I finally knew there was within me an invincible summer’ .. May your summer continue to spring forth with the seeds you plant and your loving nature … you, your loving nature..

      Love to you, thank you for coming by. Be well, and stay safe.

  3. As always, a reflective and meaningful post, Susan. I love the black swan – such a beautiful creature. The pod you found certainly does resemble one. I think we need to be patient as we emerge from this quiet time and not let the rumblings of those who would hurry us win. We need time to reflect and renew. I’m not keen on rushing blindly to destruction.

    • Thanks so much Norah. Quite a bit further down fairiembassy (Sandra who lives in NSW) commented about the pod resembling the kurrajong being of significance to the indigenous people. So I’m pleased to have that connection to NSW ๐Ÿ™‚

      My husband is keen to self-isolate even further, i.e. stay at home as this virus continues apace. I’m keen to go to the shops and stock up on necessities fully masked etc, spritzed as I go in and out, wipe down goods when brought into our home. It’s imperative not to rush in to anything ..

      I hope all is going along as well as it can with you and family and work – one day with patience and caution we may/will/hope/trust/wish to emerge from it all –

      • I’m happy to stay away from the virus for as long as possible. Some here are pushing for further easing of restrictions. I’m happy for them to stay for now, but perhaps that’s because they don’t impact me as much. I know it must be very difficult for those who have lost their jobs or live with the threat of losing them. Losing livelihoods is one thing; losing lives is another. We need to offer more support to those who need it.
        Stay safe. ๐Ÿ“

        • Similarly here although there are two camps at opposite ends of the spectrum, those say ease all restrictions now, and others who say slow them down and ease into them .. I guess it is up to each individual given their circumstances and their ability to practice safe behaviour at all times?

          My husband’s cousin phoned him from South Island NZ (for his birthday today) and he reported that there is no longer infection in NZ. Amazing ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I loved this Susan – just wanted to share that in Tantra – A black swan is a metaphor of the goddess Kali – who walks with Grace (one of the hundred names of Kali) – she is also associated with the underworld journey, facing the shadow and fire – “sitting in the fire” and allowing it to do its work…โ€ฆโ€ฆ.so maybe on the outside there is chaos but the inner is brimming with auspiciousness and potential and its only in the uncertainty that the new can be birthed. A journey requiring immense trust and patience.

    • Thanks so much Prem. I did a quick google search for black swan as metaphor for Kali and there is some seriously interesting reading which I’ll look into when time and inclination provides. I’m familiar with Kali, she who holds life and death, creation and destruction in the palms of her hand or in her belly and from every pore of her being. She reminds me of the lotus, which arises from the mud in all its beauty. The mud is necessary.

      Thank you so much for coming by and adding this important comment xx

  5. I did respond already but it didn’t show up on the WP. com site comment section as I sent it, so not sure it got there. Let’s try it again. If it’s a duplicate it should tell me. Here’s a link to just the Kindle version: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00VTYJE3U. And in answer to what I plan to do with my one wild and precious life is to continue writing sci-fi/fantasy, mysteries/suspense and informative/educational articles on my Eagle Peak Press site. Beyond that I will be striving to create value everywhere in the world–starting in the community in which I live. You’ll understand more from the subtitle of the book and the conclusion of it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. For America, black swans seem to be appearing more often lately–9/11/01, the 2008 recession (also worldwide), then the 2016 Presidential election (the aftermath is far from over) and now the pandemic. The last being a culmination–or nadir for the US but terrible for all of the planet’s people.

    No, there is no point in Waiting for Godot (or Lefty). Even were he to appear, nothing he said would be of value. Those who peddle nonsense to the gullible and despairing may temporarily profit in one way or another but will eventually endure their just rewards.

    I made use of Godot in the title of my book Waiting for Westmoreland–a triple entendre, that. That coming-of-age memoir went a bit back and forth in time. Today, I am better equipped for dealing with the pandemic than with Vietnam and other events in the distant past.

    We all, as individuals, have our experiences to sort out and make progress from the challenges the times pose. Helpful as always, Maria Popova introduces more commentary from Viktor Frankl that is apropos of now in a recent installment of https://www.brainpickings.org/2020/05/17/yes-to-life-in-spite-of-everything-viktor-frankl/ Here’s one excerpt from Frankl that seems to cover what those working as doctors, nurses, EMTs or even the delivery drivers: “At this point it would be helpful [to perform] a conceptual turn through 180 degrees, after which the question can no longer be โ€œWhat can I expect from life?โ€ but can now only be โ€œWhat does life expect of me?โ€ What task in life is waiting for me?”

    • It was around the time of the POTUS election and the happenings here in South Africa when I first heard of the black swan as an unpredicted event that turned every thing topsy turvy and the fall out was severe then, and now again, in different shape and form.

      Thank you for directing me to Brain Pickings John. I subscribe to it and had received that particular one a day or so ago and read it rather swiftly, perhaps too much so first time round. Now I have re-read it more slowly and with deeper affinity. I loved all the inserts, Tagore’s short poem, the one by Rumi, the questions posed. I squirmed a tiny bit at Fromm’s mention of ‘the shared laziness of optimism and pessimism’ – I veer sometimes between those two though am more of a pessimistic realist. And joy in duty … that was so lovely.

      Well, I could comment a huge lot more on that lovely article, but I’d still be doing so into the wee hours if I did. Didn’t JFK say do not ask what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country? Another question maybe (leaving out patriotism for country) “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

      The title of your memoirs is a great triple entendre! Thank you again and have a great week.

          • Oh yes, it is. Here’s a link to my author page. http://hyperurl.co/hh74g1 You will see Kindle there.

            In answer to your previous question that I skipped, What I will do with my “wild and precious life,” is create value in any and all ways I can in my own community. AND throughout the world through my writing. Not all sci-fi/fantasy or mysteries/suspense–the book will make that more obvious. ๐Ÿ™‚

            • The quote re one wild and precious life is Mary Oliver. Thanks John re link. I read the brief of your book/memoir and it sounds up my street. Have a great week ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Susan, thank you for the metaphor of the black swan. At the beginning of your black swan metaphor to the pandemic, I was left thinking about what is in fact the current black swan?

    Is it the pandemic itself? ~ not so much… because there have been prior global health crises while dramatic and traumatic for a while, did not fundamentally affect the trajectory of human civilization. Is the black swan, the sudden disappearance of U.S. leadership in a post World War II, U.S. centric system of multinational institutions that have fared relatively well over the past seventy years. For me the black swan is the latter. It is the sudden and radical alteration of U.S. governance system of laws, reliance on facts… A system that has impact everywhere, including in South Africa.

    As the pandemic continues to effect all countries simultaneously, there are nonetheless over geo political developments occurring in plain sight. China continues to prioritise its push for geopolitical dominance in Africa, for example. China is also expanding its South East Asia stranglehold seizing the pandemic as an opportunity to further lock in on Hong Kong’s autonomy and launching new geo political campaigns on battle grounds such as Antarctica where a major conflict over mineral rights is brewing.

    I divert a bit, but the black swan that is occurring, that we are seeing, has many facets. Generally speaking I am not optimistic that we will see a positive communal, spiritual awakening where human conflicts will be minimized. Quite the opposite. Autocratic governments will not waste a good crisis to strengthen their hold onto power. And that brings us full circle, to your gardening, painting and baking. Many people have lived under autocratic regimes for centuries.. and focused on the mundane and marvelous of human day to day existence which allows for gardening and baking under the most austere political systems.

    Ben

    • Thanks for coming by Ben. It was a few years ago when I first heard of the black swan in relation to what was happening here in SA, then still under our ex pres and our country was deep in the doo doo on all fronts. I then blogged about the black swan as it seemed pertinent and the POTUS was about to be elected.

      The current pandemic has in my view brought to the fore underlying structures and systems in governments that have clearly shown their faults. While denial is a strong and primitive (almost primal) defense mechanism, we can no longer afford to hide behind what is in plain sight. It is scary re China wanting Hong Kong to fall under Chinese rule. It is scary that countries in Africa are beholden to China by way of the debts owing to them. South Africa is no exception. The mining in the Antarctic and elsewhere (including SA) is problematic.

      I used to wonder many years ago whether I was an optimist or a pessimist. Then I thought maybe a pessimistic optimist or the other way round. Underlying it all I am not optimistic about whether we will surf this new wave and come safely to shore. We may drown while surfing it.

      We’ve just heard the SA president give his address on TV. He has a cabal who call the shots. I don’t think he agrees with the cabal but his hands are tied. We are being treated like children. A few restrictions have been lifted eg no longer do we have to take our exercise from 6.00 a.m. to 9.00 am .. so we can go walking, running, biking etc whenever but not in groups. The ban on alcohol sales has been slightly lifted; there will be allotted times to buy alcohol and only for home consumption. The sale of cigarettes is still prohibited, there is a roaring back market trade in this … I could go on.

      Meanwhile, we have robust opposition parties who are not afraid to challenge unreasonable restrictions in court. As we know unemployment is rising fast, people are going hungry. This virus may not kill us, but the effects of it will.

      And yes, thank you – for the reminder that in the mundane can be found the sacred, in getting on with life with the small pleasures. The outside may be autocratic but the inner doesn’t have to be.

      All best wishes to you both. I hope you’re both settling down well where you are. Susan

  8. I must need more coffee–or perhaps less. I’m not quite there on comprehending a bit of this. But no doubt this is a major moment of existential turmoil for mind and body. One through which our psyches will either be transformed for the better or the worse. We can’t escape from it, we must transcend it.

    • Thanks John, before we transcend this I suspect we’re going to have to do a huge lot of work in the inner and outer, microscopically as well as macroscopically. Who knows where this will take us … I’ll be getting to your more recent response in a few minutes. Am upstairs now at my computer, a lot easier than my cell phone ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. From crisis comes patience and birth. Out of the darkness comes light. Questions lead to new possibilities; rest, to renewal; rigidity to flexibility. The pendulum swings and the cycles repeat themselves endlessly.

    I have no doubt that somewhere deep in individual and collective unconscious and at the quantum level, ancient alchemical formulas are merging with contemporary sensibilities, creating new links in the chain of evolution. May each swing, each repetition, lead to more awareness and awakening. Thank you for your always thought-provoking questions

    • Thank you Jeanie … I also feel that things are moving under the surface and above, slowly but surely and gaining momentum in the making of new links, new synapses. The unconscious is being felt – a new myth is struggling to be born is my sense.Just so long as we don’t stick to what we are familiar with and are prepared to be in discomfort for however long it takes. Move away from rigid ways of thinking and feeling. If it wasn’t this virus it would have been something else I reckon?

  10. I sure do hope something can be birthed, Susan, because the fire is getting hot, the people in the fire are getting antsy, and I’m wondering if I’ll ever again enjoy unfettered access to the world at large, not to mention that I miss being able to freely see my kids. Waaah, waaah, waaah, I know. I’m healthy, and working, and living to tell the tale, so just make the best of it. It’s funny how you go through stages of being okay and then being very not okay. It’s a holiday weekend here, Memorial Day, when I would join my friends from college and their kids — about 8 or 9 families, and go camping and kayaking and hiking and bike riding. Many of them are still getting together, including my youngest daughter (who I am worried about because I don’t know if she’s going to social distance properly) yet here I sit because I am afraid to bring anything home to my immunocompromised husband. The road does seem longer than usual this weekend, but this too shall pass as I try to remember to count my blessings. Much love to you and your family. Stay well. xoxo

    • Best to be as vigilant as much as possible Pam. My husband is a retired ENT specialist and believe me he reckons that social distancing is the best thing to do. And to wear a mask when out, although as we know opinion is divided on so many matters. We haven’t as yet gone the delivery of food to our home, though we could as there are many lovely facilities for just that and just today he was saying we should do things that way rather, instead of our occasional visits to the stores. The stores are jacked up, hand sanitiser, also trolleys are cleaned each times, masks, tellers etc etc masked and we wipe down when we bring things into the home. We know of the value of sunlight, vit c, zinc etc etc and have recently started a regime of that. Just be as careful as you can Pam … for both you and your husband.

      Also missing out on seeing our two sons, though Mike the older one popped round yesterday to fix something and for tea so that was nice. He sometimes does shopping for us, and is extremely vigilant. We keep appropriate distance. He lives in his own home about 10 mins away. Our younger is in Cape Town and is murmuring about coming here to Plettenberg Bay. I know that he hasn’t left his apartment for the last almost 2 months. His wife Jรผte does go out for shopping and they certainly do Uber eats and other such … and I guess we know that in spite of all precautions we may well get it, hopefully not seriously and may even have it without realising it.

      I wish you all safe Pam. Next year a Memorial Day long weekend. Love xxxx Susan xxxx

  11. When I was teaching, my colleagues all picked a “totem,” their way to refer to a metaphor for our lives. I picked the SWAN, visualizing a white one, I suppose. Thus, my china closet features 2 crystal swans, one small and one large, each with golden feathers sweeping upward. I chose it because swans mate for life; they are also so graceful, gliding on the lake.

    Yes, Susan, I agree we are being tested – we are “in the fire” as it were. Yet I am persevering through it, hoping the fire burns off the dross.

    Best wishes as you garden, paint, bake, and write. Thank you for this beautiful post, Susan.

    • How lovely about the crystal swans Marian and that they were chosen as your totem. We’re going walking shortly, I want to trace my steps and see if I can pick up a mate for my swan pod. The swan evokes so much – Swan Lake, the movie called I think The Black Swan … black and white, the white so pure, their grace and much more – they can also be quite vicious I’ve read or heard, probably in protecting their young ..

      Thank you so much for coming by. All best wishes to you ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Hi Susan – interesting that we need to sit in the middle of the fire … sadly I suspect the fire is not fully burning yet – while the ashes will have a long hot tail … life is interesting, though not at all kind to many many peoples. Not enough good leaders setting good examples for us all to follow. I am glad I’m at that time in my life and thus my friends and family’s life – not too worrying and also I’m not in London or a city … but on the outskirts near a coast.

    I hadn’t realised there were black swans at Chartwell – I’ve still yet to visit – though it’s only up the road (so to speak!) … take care and all the best – Hilary

    • Bother – should have added – check my Shingle post (18 May) for the pebble art work – your image immediately takes me to it … H

      • I wish I automatically received your posts Hilary – will go look now at your shingles one, thank you for alerting me to it …

    • Hi Hilary thanks for coming by. Incidentally it was Anne who said she’d seen black swans at Churchill’s home, Chartwell. Somehow I seems strange that this if true is not better known!

      I agree the fire is nowhere near out … or as you say not fully burning. Maybe it’s time we don’t follow our leaders like the old fable of following the pied piper who arrived saying he would exterminate rats in the city, and children who followed him were never seen again –

      Yes we’re also sheltered here in Plettenberg Bay. As you may remember there are shack towns near to the town and these are of concern, not only in terms of contagion, but of hunger … All best to you too, take care, Susan

      • Hi Susan – yes it was another commenter re the black swans. Also you can subscribe by email … a while ago I did finally add a link. I think we just have to be sensible – but I am glad I’m not in a country with a lot of poverty … yes it’s here too – but not India, Brazil, USA or SA … not an easy time for any of us. I’m off to see how many have beleagured our coast! A walk is due … stay safe … Hilary

  13. Thank you so much Susan for sharing your rich insights and wise reflections during these collective โ€œblack swanโ€ days. Indeed, as we all go through a world-wide โ€œdark night of the soulโ€ โ€ฆ the global apple cart has been well and truly tipped over! Itโ€™s interesting how each of us views the pod, because the first thing I saw was a fish too! A huge one which leads me to think how weโ€™ve now entered the โ€œbelly of the whaleโ€ and how terrifying it is within! A poetic seed for me to sow in the coming weeks.

    Can we withstand such darkness? Can we learn to sit and wait inside? Can we unlearn our need for instant gratification or fix? More questions arise here than answers and my friend youโ€™re asking all the important ones! Perhaps the waiting is agonising for us because weโ€™ve forgotten how to wait โ€ฆ which on a personal note feels like a big lesson to learn, others too and yet, if we wait for tomorrow, we lose today โ€ฆ I shall sit and ponder on it for a while. Lovely photos too! Love and light, Deborah.

    • Thanks Deborah so much for your response. Glad you saw the fish too, and I thought of Jonah and Moby Dick and the symbolism of the fish and the age of Aquarius … also by the way Pandora opening the box, pandemic, panorama and so on but I’d still be at my desk writing this very post if I’d gone that route!

      Patience I suspect is something learned. One of the difficult things to learn. So much we’ve forgotten yet hopefully we’ll remember and re-member. How lovely to say that if we wait for tomorrow we lose today … I’d thought that, only obliquely though and not articulated it in my head ๐Ÿ™‚ as simply as you have. Yet, I think we have to anticipate ‘things’ a bit, without becoming attached to whatever ๐Ÿ™‚ Love & light to you too, Susan

  14. An interesting post, Susan. I am not going to say much as my views on what our government has done and the economic disaster that awaits us over the next few months are two dark. Starvation and desperation do often evolve into a great burning, lets hope the people who have been pushed into this position realise exactly who the people are who have led them into this desert.

    • Thankfully that ruling of only the govt to provide food parcels to the needy and NGO’s and individuals not to be part of feeding the needy, was overturned as a result of the DA’s application to have it overturned. That would have been a straw too much.

      Yup, these are extremely worrying times as we see the SA govt continue on this particular way of exercising their power. We can only hope that those in serious need realise that it is not the govt that appears to be on their side, and that the help comes mostly from NGO’s and individuals.

      Thanks for coming by Robbie, appreciate it ๐Ÿ™‚ No doubt you’ll be baking! Lucky recipients!

  15. That pod does look like a swan! I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a black swan for real. What a magical sight that must be–though white swans are beautiful, too.
    We are living in strange times, indeed.
    I don’t know what kind of lens we need now. Do we want truth or rose-colored fancy? Perhaps something that gives us vision over a long distance would be helpful. . .but in the meantime, baking is good, too. ๐Ÿ˜

    • A long distance lens would be helpful! It would go some way –

      Thanks for coming by Merril. I’ve a very simple recipe for a lemon something cake which I’ll bake this afternoon. It’s my brother’s birthday so I’ll send him a photo of it and we’ll eat it in his honour. (I’ve never made a lemon cake before). You take to baking like a fish to water; I’m always in awe …

  16. To my eyes the pod looks very like a kurrajong pod . The kurrajong tree is a very special tree with significance not only to the indigenous peoples but also came to be valued by the colonial settlers.
    ..” stay in the fire ..” for ages after the Dec 31 fire had passed I wanted to sit in it and not move on. It seemed too powerful to be treated lightly. Indeed I was even a little resentful of the cry for recovery that kept coming at us. I wanted to milk every bit of juice out of it and for us this was the beginning of our lockdown.
    Many threads in this writing Susan to be teased out and considered. Thank you for your questions and further opportunity to reflect on who we are and where we are going.
    Sandra

    • Thank you for coming by Sandra. I googled the kurrajong pod and mine and it are very similar. What a pretty tree and the pods clearly served an excellent function for the indigenous people for food, a toy calabash and so on. I was tempted to include a photo of the seeds in my pod and make an analogy to ‘seeds’ and whether we are seeding a new and better world. I’ll take a walk on same path soon and see if I can locate the tree that it must have fallen from. And maybe find another one to keep this one company ๐Ÿ™‚ Swans mate for life I believe.

      I so agree that this time, that of fires and floods, cannot be treated lightly if we are to feel the full measure of it all. It is where we are at this moment and it is this moment that is to be felt. We need to carry this cross and feel the full and painful weight of it.

  17. The swan in the first photo is immediately clear.
    Once again, you have provoked much thought and reflection.
    Contemplating a ‘new vision’ is indeed time well-spent.
    Although we will leave this limbo, what emerges before us will be something different than before. Together, we all have choice and input as to how this ‘new normal’ will look.

    • Thanks Donna for coming by. I suppose we all think about a future world for our children and families and wonder what we will leave behind for them and can only hope that it is a ‘better’ one. And that Mother Nature will be fully restored ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Hi Susan, Your husband is right! I can immediately see the swan. Very creative how you brought the โ€˜Black Swanโ€™ story full circle and applicable to todayโ€™s events.

    Your 2017 post is eery when foreshadowing the present moment. I reread the paragraph about the โ€œimportance of sitting in the fireโ€ a few times, wanting the message to sink in.

    Profound insights in your entire post. And almost more important, the questions you ask of us.

    One sentence that gave me goosebumps โ€œWhat can kill can also cure.โ€ Thank you for sharing your wisdom. Take care.

    • Thanks Erica for coming by. Glad you saw the swan, it’s sitting on my desk right now. Her wings are striking. She’s about 5 inches from tip to tail. If I turn her upside down, she looks like a very large fish ๐Ÿ™‚

      Much is eerie these days. Bizarre, uncanny. Let’s hope that order will follow chaos. You too stay safe Erica.

  19. Black swans are not part of our (US) fauna, but the analysis and analogies still work. It’s been a long few months here, things are slowly calming down locally. We shall see what happens…

    • It is an analogy that works well I agree. Glad things are calming down for you Beth, at least locally, they’re heating up here. Here in Plettenberg Bay my bubble is calm but it is still to break country wide. It already is breaking country wide …

    • The great pause it is ๐Ÿ™‚ Hopefully we can recollect and renew during this time of reflection. Thanks for coming by Susan.

  20. I think we saw black swans at Winston Churchill’s home 40 years ago. I enjoyed your photos, especially the pod. I wonder, was the POD CASTing a shadow?

    • I’m looking at them again and yes the POD does CAST a shadow … The only thing maybe without shadow is ‘nothing’ .. interesting about Churchill’s home having black swans .. thanks Anne ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Boy, we have been sitting in the fire a LONG time. What will it teach us? Also, after being burnt to a crisp, what will our new lives be like? The future holds lots of secrets for us. However, I hope this burns away the bad aspects of life and leaves positive actions and feelings.

    • It’s been a long time Gwynn. Who knows what IT will teach us, maybe we could also ask what do WE want to learn from this, or are willing to learn? If our illusions are burned away, that would be good! Thank you for coming by ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. As always something to contemplate on. Thank you for your thoughts , yes we all wonder what good can come out of all that is happening and not happening.Blessings and take care.

    • Thanks Diana. I reckon it’s time worhwhile spent when we wonder about a new vision, one that is good for all, the greater good. Thank you for your blessings and I send same to you, Take care ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. Interesting metaphor that fits our times. I don’t know that I’ve seen a black swan anywhere, ever. Not even a zoo. You asked: “Are we flexible towards the unknown?” That is THE question that needs to be answered both as a society and as individuals. I shall muse on that.

    • Thanks Ally Bean for coming by. Happy musing on the question that grabbed you. Being flexible towards the unknown also underscores the possibility of being inflexible and rigid and clinging to what we do know. It’s hard to give up that with which we’re familiar. So it’s a creative exercise to turn it around ..

  24. The business channel keeps talking about black swans (and unicorns). Love the metaphor and it isn’t entirely obvious. ‘Waiting for Godot’–one of my favorite plays. I watched it in French and then English. Both were excellent. The metaphor for that has stayed with me over the years.

    • That’s interesting about channels currently speaking of black swans Jacqui … I haven’t heard the term in a while, only a few years back when all was in turmoil ten, certainly here in SA. I must look up unicorns as used today in business – that’s some magical figure. I remember looking for the unicorn on Kilimanjaro and try as hard as I could, it was not to be found. I saw the play Waiting for Godot many years ago. I wonder if it’s available on Netflix or some such. Thank you for coming by ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Hello, Susan!
    …I know, I’ve been “gone” a long time, haven’t been interacting…Too much on my online plate for too long!!… But I read this just now, and so appreciate the thoughts and so glad you wrote them and shared. A good and meaningful reflection.
    What a time we are living through, eh? All the best to you!

    • Pam! So good to hear from you! You have been gone a long while – I remember you well and your lovely and lively story telling posts.. I hope all is going well online and offline. Yup, what a time. All best to you and thank you for stopping by ๐Ÿ™‚

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