Category: uncategorised

Visuals

Visuals

These last few months have been so busy – it’s hard to believe that we’re heading towards the end of October which means November is around the corner and, as we know, it’s then full steam ahead at a cracking pace for Christmas and New Year. I sometimes wonder if I’ll feel ‘settled’, maybe only February next year.

We vacated our townhouse in Johannesburg mid July so that new tenants could move in – and a few days after being in Plett, we kept to the booking we’d made at the De Hoop Nature Reserve. It was such a wonderful weekend –

We drove from Plettenberg Bay to Cape Town in early August so my husband could catch his flight from Cape Town to London and from there, after a few days of staying with friends, he flew to Edinburgh to join golfing friends. Thereafter he joined his sister from the US in Scotland and they handed over their great uncle’s medals to the Scottish Military Museum in Edinburgh.

On the drive to Cape Town, about 600 kms from Plett, we passed canola fields – there were fields upon fields of this gorgeous gold –

After getting my husband off, I hung around in Cape Town for a few days, staying with my sweet sister. I saw only two very special friends as well as my younger son and his lovely wife. This was the sky from my sister’s garden one evening. The photo IS the right way up – and that IS the moon in the centre –

I then hived off to Wellington (about an hour away from my sister’s home in Cape Town) where I stayed with my dear friend in her gorgeous home on a wine estate among the most magnificent mountains. We set off the next day, her husband doing the driving (so we could chat and I could look out the window and remember) for Stanford, a lovely little village some distance away and stayed overnight with her sister. We went up river the next day – and did some walking, saying hello to Sarah’s horses in a field that late afternoon.

A day or so later, after returning to Wellington, I set off for home in Plett driving on a route I was not very familiar with. The windiest of roads and the most magnificent scenery – I would have liked to stop, but I didn’t and took several photos while my car was in motion.This one doesn’t do it justice –

So, back home in Plett, on my own … valuable time. A friend flew down from Johannesburg and stayed here at my home, her husband a few days later for the weekend. It was lovely to show them Plett and surrounds … My husband returned at the end of August after an excellent time away, fit as a fiddle and full of stories.

September flew by … the equinox was a landmark, the days becoming longer. We ordered a bit of extra furniture, ordered new curtains & changed some things around. New built in bookcases were installed in my study. My left foot gave me grief for several weeks but it is now better.

But the shadows of September were long. Too many deaths of people I know. Sudden, tragic – too many aching hearts.

Earlier this month, we trekked again up to Johannesburg, this time staying for 2 nights at the Mountain Zebra Lodge in the Karoo en route. This is such a beautiful place -the photograph shows the evening light. There was very welcome rain the one night.

Then Johannesburg, staying in the most comfortable apartment given us by good friends. Oh, those spring colours –

We visited our tenants in the townhouse and it was a joy to see how beautifully Michelle had maintained our garden – an orchid I left behind, roses budding, everything lush and green glowing and those jacarandas over the garden wall were magnificent ..

A friend or two here and there, lunch and dinner, brunch and coffee, a bit of shopping looking for a slinky heeled sandal ..

Then off again, this time up to a game lodge in Madikwe, about 450 kms north of Jo’burg very close to the Botswana border. We’d been invited by our UK friends – we’ve been there before. The comforts, company and cuisine were excellent and the game viewing superb. We did early morning game drives, returning to the lodge for a slap up breakfast, and out again in the landrover at 4.30 returning around 7.00. 

Back to Johannesburg again to our very comfortable apartment, then full steam ahead for ‘The Wedding’ last Sat 12th October. There was a dinner last Thursday pre-wedding; wonderful to see old friends. The wedding service and reception is one that we’ll never forget – the photo below is of flowers at the entrance of the church.

We left Johannesburg last Sunday morning – there was a wedding brunch on Sunday, but we’d long decided to forgo that as we needed to get back to Plett. We overnighted in Graaf Reinet, about 850 south of Jo’burg. We went out for dinner in the town that evening. The photo immediately below is of the full moon rising over an historic building and the next one is of the main church, also very historic. I wish we’d had time to visit the Valley of Desolation – next time …

A deep breath for the both of us – we arrived back home in Plett this past Monday. Do all good things come to an end? No, I don’t think so … we set off again tomorrow morning. We’ll be staying with same friends in Wellington tomorrow night and on Saturday shooting over to Stellenbosch (about 3/4 hr away) to attend my sister and her husband’s birthday celebrations on a wine farm that day and night. Sunday is a very big day on our sports calendar … South Africa is playing Japan, the hosts for the World Cup Rugby this time round (every four years). It’s the quarter final … and there is NO WAY that we will be travelling on that day. They play around midday on Sunday. South Africa will be glued to their TV sets.

We’ll get back to Plett on Monday next week, either euphoric – or not –

 The last photo is of what was originally just a cutting of a small branch and tendrils, transplanted from Jo’burg and attached to a tree here in Plett in our garden a few months ago and I am thrilled to see how well it has flourished and bloomed.

This post is way longer than I imagined it would be.

May you all flourish and bloom even amidst these troubling times. May the Force be with you and thank you for reading.

Winds of Change

Winds of Change

What a strange, unsettling and uncomfortable month September has been. Pretty awful in many ways. Femicide, filicide, xenophobia, murders most foul, rape, gender based violence, racism, weak and divisive political leadership, destructive protests, looting, burning, ongoing commissions of enquiry with none being imprisoned. That’s just in my neck of the woods. The recent death of Robert Mugabe, past president of Zimbabwe has had political sycophants here excelling themselves in praising him for liberating Rhodesia. That man was a murderous thug, who enriched himself at the expense of Zimbabweans.

To add to my gloom, I injured my left foot some days ago so any walking has been anything but of the ‘out and about’ kind. Gone was my plan of walking on the beach, getting fit, losing a bit of weight. Gone was my plan of looking for a lovely outfit to wear to an upcoming wedding in Johannesburg. The thought of wearing a moon boot instead of slinky sparkly heeled shoes brought my spirits even lower. Ah vanity –

Are the winds of change upon us? The Global March in many parts of the world on Friday, initiated by Greta Thunberg, the young 16 year old Swedish lass already several months ago, speaks not only to our minds but to our hearts as well. Who can not fail to be moved by her addressing the climate change crisis, fearlessly, clearly, truthfully, calling out those in power who appear to have no concern about the future of Mother Earth and her inhabitants.

The 23rd September, tomorrow, the equinox, when for a moment the axis stands still before it turns, heralding new seasons in both the north and south hemispheres. 

A deepening in the northern hemisphere, an arising in the southern hemisphere. Can we hope for peaceful change of the seasons, and in the world?

The upcoming Rosh Hashanah on the 29th September which marks – by the blowing of the shofar – the beginning of the world in prayer and self reflection. It is one of the two High Holy Days in the Jewish calendar, culminating in Yom Kippur.

A few things helped to lift my personal gloom. The one was our local Ndlovu Youth Choir and their performance at America’s Got Talent (AGT – could also stand for Africa’s Got Talent). The energy of these young people from impoverished communities, their wonderful costumes, the way they were received by audiences, their being in the finals, their homecoming this last Friday, was joyous. There is no other word. All thanks are due to Dr. Hugo Templeman, the conductor of this 40 strong choir, and musical director Ralf Schmitt.

Another thing that has lifted my spirits immeasurably is a tag that my son recently linked me to on Facebook. It’s the #ImStaying tag. It was begun only 2 weeks ago with a small ‘membership’ and now it has reached epic proportions. The personal experiences of South Africans who’ve lived and travelled elsewhere in the world, or haven’t travelled at all, speak to my heart and mind. Each and every one (many thousands already) says why they’re staying – it’s the people mostly, their energy, their diversity, their ordinary human ubuntu kindness, the feeling of being one with the soil, the land and sea scapes, the wild life, the birds and bees and the swaying trees … The song and the dance – black and white like the yin yang symbol … people of all stripes and cultures standing up, tall and proud. Every reason to believe that South Africa will turn the tide.

This one below I came across this morning; it’s certainly one of the longer ones. Malusi Thabethe is a man with the heart of a poet and the strength of a lion. I hope you read it.

Malusi Thabethe to #ImStaying

I define South African.
I am the child of the soil, the branch that grew from the seed that became a tree called South Africa.
I strive and strike to make my country the better one in Africa.
I am the remainder of the blacks that were burnt fighting for freedom and equality and their ashes gave birth to me.
I am the light that will shine tomorrow to give light to our generations regardless of their Race.
I am the doorman who is going to chase out Xenophobia from our beautiful Hotel South Africa and welcome my fellow African brother’s with open arms.
I am the product of the past of South Africa, but I am the future to the improved South Africa;
The South Africa that does not discriminate against any race,
where children feel safe to walk on their own, anytime without the fear of being abused.
The South Africa that have politicians who care more about the people than their own greed.
I define South Africa.
I am the guy on the street whose life depends on the crumbs on the bins and leftovers from strangers.
I see my fellow brothers who made it in life driving past me on a daily basis and they close their windows every time they see me.
I don’t blame them the Government is also closing the door to better life for all. Remember the one they promised us during Election campaigns?
Yes that very same door is closed and I have no choice but to stay on this streets.
I used to believe that my vote count, oh yes it does count when it matters but once counted they forgot about me and their promises.
I am now a disgrace to my fellow leaders and I am labeled a failure.
Yes I failed but you failed me and the entire society.
I define South Africa.
I am the guy who is doing 2 shifts to ensure that my family is well taken care off.
I work for less to ensure that tomorrow my children are able to generate more for themselves.
I slave myself out for their future which I am hoping would be better.
I don’t see them as I leave early and come back when they are asleep,
This is life of a typical South African man, work hard for your offspring and hope for the better.
Every morning I pray for their safety and sure hope that I will come back home safe.
This streets is full of vultures, it’s a dog eat dog country and the dog I am want to go back to my puppies safe every evening.
I walk in the valley of death, oh God are you still my Shepard? Or because my name is Shepard I need to be my own Shepard?
I live in fear every turn I make might be my last one and every time I see my child might be my last time.
I define South Africa.
I can write ten thousand things about my country but
I am Love
I am hope
I am Reconciliation
I am Faith
I am the Smiling Stranger on the street.
I am the Diversity
I am the Past
I am the FUTURE
I am Malusi Thabethe
I am South Africa

Winds of change – they’re in the air, and in the soil. They’re in the birth of books by a few of my internet friends who have published books recently. They went through the labours of writing, editing, proofs – and launched their creations into the world.***

The winds of change are about – people are more aware of non biodegradable items and refusing them. People are voluntarily cleaning up beaches, and other areas. People are pushing for change – not only pushing, they’re doing it themselves.

Tuesday is a public holiday here in South Africa. Heritage Day on 24 September recognises and celebrates the cultural wealth of our nation.

South Africa is a rugby mad world (also soccer and cricket – women’s teams too; as well as tennis, music, dance, braaivleis). The opening of the Rugby World Cup was on Friday night SA time. It happens every 4 years and this time it is being hosted in Yokohama Japan, the first time that an Asian country has hosted the RWC. The opening ceremony was wonderful.

Yokohama Port

Sad to say, our Springboks lost to the All Blacks on Saturday midday SA time. But, all is by no means lost. The Springboks know that South Africa is behind them every inch of the way. There are still plenty of games ahead … 

Other things that are uplifting for me, is that I saw a GP here in Plettenberg Bay this past Thursday. My husband had a separate appointment with him after mine. The GP examined my foot very carefully and tenderly and prescribed an x-ray and some blood tests to be done which I did first thing on Friday morning. As well as a strong short course of anti-inflammatories. On Thursday night son Mike joined us for supper prior to his flying to Johannesburg on Friday for the #comicconafrica annual convention at which he was incidentally giving a talk this Sunday afternoon at 3.00 p.m. Mike didn’t really know about how sore my foot was. He was very concerned and took my foot very gently in his hands and performed some Michael magic …

X-rays first thing Friday morning, bloods taken and a call from the GP around 1.00 that day to say there were no broken bones in my foot and no sign of a stress fracture. My bloods were all within normal range. Sugars good etc .. Already my foot started feeling better, and has become increasingly less painful in these last few days though I’m being careful with it. I wonder if in part at least, the fact that I took matters into my own hands (or foot) by making that GP appointment – putting my trust in a yet as ‘unknown other’ helped my recovery. Maybe it was I who needed to make the first step, in aiding it. Maybe I needed to be own shepherd/Shepard. I feel as if I’m on a better footing with the world.

There’ve been a few tragic deaths lately. A dear friend of mine’s husband died unexpectedly 2 weeks ago. I know someone whose daughter died tragically. The clouds are dark indeed for them. It’s an unknown journey for them as they mourn and grieve deeply.

‘Where there is sorrow, there is Holy Ground’ – Oscar Wilde.

Thank you for reading; I know it’s a long post.

***For a few of my internet friends who’s newly birthed books have been launched into the world, all success with them! I’ll do a blog post fairly soon I hope and give you details. The authors are Jacqui Murray, Marian Beaman and Damyanti Biswas.

 

 

Packing up is hard to do

Packing up is hard to do

Does order come from chaos as the Bible and quantum physics claim? Have we underestimated the magnitude of this relocation from Johannesburg down to Plettenberg Bay? Our lovely home down there is already furnished, but now that we are renting out our townhouse with furniture and all else to a corporate SOE, we have to remove our personal belongings, clothes, toiletries, books (mine are down there but my husband still has tooooo many of his here, including medical and golf books galore), too many boxes of photographs, files, paintings, my art stuff (much of it down there) and I don’t know what else – more stuff –

It’s too soon to panic or at least that’s what I’m telling myself. At least the appointment is made for professional carpet and tile cleaners to come by this Friday. We plan to drive down in our 2 cars with trailer in tow on Saturday. My husband is aghast at my wanting to take down my beautiful hanging orchid and at least one pot plant of my already blooming orchids.

What to keep, what to toss. An existential question for me. Already I’ve given away many clothes, shoes, kitchen stuff. Breaking up is hard to do – I’ve tossed photos of old boyfriends with a loving thought to them. No time for any reminiscing. I’m keeping letters and post cards from family and friends from when Moses was a boy; there’s no time for any reading of them now. It would take forever –

In among this all (and Wimbledon – my nerves), my lovely blogger friend Norah Colvin in Sydney Australia, has and is running a series on School Day reminiscences. It’s been so interesting to read these guest posts which appear on Sundays in which she interviews fellow bloggers from around the world on their memories of school days. My school memories went up on Sunday and can be read on her link below. The below photo is one I found of my sister and me which is not on Norah’s post & which I sent via what’s app to my sister in Cape Town while sorting photographs, which made her a bit weepy – I MUCH prefer her rounded collar –

https://norahcolvin.com/2019/07/07/school-days-reminiscences-of-susan-scott

Norah is a great proponent of early learning and especially reading – www.readilearn.com.au – learn.com.au – and her posts for parents and teachers are always excellent and innovative on this topic. Her web page is www.NorahColvin.com .com 

I’d better get on with it – thankfully Jane my housekeeper is here and will work for the new tenants a few days a week; and although our employer-employee relationship officially came to an end at the end of May, she’s being an enormous help right now in the cleaning of cupboards and much more –

Little by little, bit by bit, slowly we come to the end of it – 

To begin again.

Everything is pretty tumultuous around the world. Here as well. Plettenberg Bay where we’re heading to has recently seen several days of terrible protest action with some pretty darn revolting thuggery and destruction thrown in among the mess – may order reign everywhere and not a moment too soon.

Jean Raffa, author of beautiful books and Matrignosis: A blog about Inner Wisdom (rich and real soul food), blogged today on Susan E. Schwartz’s and my co-authored book, ‘Aging and Becoming ~ A Reflective Enquiry’ – it was a wonderful surprise to see this today! 

May the Force be with you and thank you for reading-

 

www.NorahColvin.com 

www.readilearn.com.au

Anniversaries, a delicate balance

Anniversaries, a Delicate Balance

So much has been happening in this last while I hardly know where to start. Like many of us, I feel overwhelmed by all that is happening around the world. Overwhelmed to the point of feeling shut down, a tank that has run out of fuel, a brain that barely seems to function, a chest that feels closed and clogged.

I usually take a photo or two of the full moon when she appears, and last month’s full moon seems like just the other day. But this one I took last Sunday night, with Jupiter close by. Jupiter is the speck on the upper right hand side of the moon. Ah Jupiter -The symbol for Jupiter is said to represent a hieroglyph of the eagle, Jove’s bird, or to be the initial letter of Zeus with a line drawn through it to indicate its abbreviation.

I’ve been in Johannesburg for the last several weeks and am flying down to Plettenberg Bay tomorrow. Which happens to be the anniversary of my car accident 6 years ago on 20th June when Jupiter, also known as Zeus, sent a thunderbolt down from the sky onto me, and 6 years (on 21st June, the day after) since we moved into our lovely townhouse. All I have to do is uber to the airport on tomorrow morning. Invariably on the 20th June over the last 5 years (ubering this time round), I ride past the scene of my accident and acknowledge yet again how transient life is, and send a thought into the stratosphere of gratitude, that in spite of Zeus’ thunderbolt of my car being smashed into and overturned and a total write off, I survived.

And of course Friday 21st June is the solstice, the longest night of the year here in the southern hemisphere, the shortest night in the northern hemisphere. It is also the anniversary of moving to the townhouse 6 years ago, that date especially chosen by me and because there was a full moon to boot. But this also a moment I acknowledge, a moment when things stand still for a nano second. A delicate balance for that one moment before the tilting begins. And always the hope that the tilting brings renewal in its movement and orbit.

I’m much looking to seeing my sons and husband on Thursday. Mike my older son has just arrived back from France attending an international animation congress and David the younger will also be there ex Cape Town with his lovely wife Jüte. My husband has been on his own, dealing with maintenance – and also golfing to his heart’s content. I just heard he’s bought a scooter …

In amongst all the drama in my country, there are moments when I feel my heart swelling and my blood corpuscles expanding. It’s the smile from a stranger, a helpful and friendly shop assistant, a man who runs after me with my sunglasses in hand, a car guard who shows you the perfect parking spot, a major antiviral medication to help my flu and being able to afford it, all the willing NGO’s and individuals who do so much to alleviate the suffering of the poor and unemployed, our commissions of enquiry into state capture that aim with complete dedication, to bring about the truth of corruption in the higher echelons – all of which brings a delicate balance to the turbulence.

I like very much what someone said to me the other day when I questioned him about accepting a top position at one of our SOE’s. He said ‘in crises, I see opportunities’. He’s from abroad and already loves this country and its people –

I wonder sometimes if we may have a re-enactment of Caesar and Brutus. There is so much skullduggery going on in the inner circle of our newly elected president who nevertheless portrays a man in charge of things and who inspires confidence, in spite of it all. I can’t help smiling when I see him on TV interacting with ordinary people with his broad smile and twinkle in his eye even though he looks tired –

And in spite of the freezing winter weather, my orchids are blooming –

This last is a music video made by thekiffness. Do watch it, it’s fun. It’s a heart-melt. A road trip from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth, some 840 kms to fetch Nomi’s ailing mother in Addo and bring her to Cape Town. His aim of R10,000 for Nomi’s mother for gas heater and wheelchair was reached in a matter of hours.

thekiffness: ‘Some info if you’d like to share with your friends ❤ Hi guys, I made a song for my very legendary domestic worker Nomi. 

She’s had a rough few years, so I made this song & video after her in the hopes of raising some money for her. All the streaming royalties made from the song are going to her & I’ve also set up a Back a Buddy if anyone would like to make a donation. https://youtu.be/Q8Mw-nibaVkStream here: bit.ly/KiffNomi

May you awaken to the mystery of being here
and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.
May you have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.
May you receive great encouragement when new frontiers beckon.
May you respond to the call of your gift and find the courage to follow its path.
May the flame of anger free you from falsity.
May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame and may anxiety never linger about you.
May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of soul.
May you take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention.
May you be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.
May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder.

– John O’Donohue

Thank you for reading! May your centre hold –

 

 

Tempus Fugit

Tempus Fugit

How these days fly by. Normally I would’ve blogged on The Equinox, acknowledging the turn of the planet and its relation to the sun and that still point when all is in balance for a moment, maybe posted a photograph of the full moon that shone so brightly the night before. The last few days have been strange indeed, in part because the 2nd year anniversary of my friend’s death was on the 19th, yet it was also my son and daughter-in-law’s 3rd wedding anniversary as well as his wife Jüte’s birthday. My very good friend Al had her hip op on Tuesday, and her recuperation is not going to be easy. How I wish I was in Johannesburg to help her post operatively.

What strikes me is how quickly time flies. Deborah Gregory posts on her blog The Liberated Sheep on the first of the month for each month. Her last 3 for the first 3 months are poetically depthful, as all her posts are. The #We are the World Blogfest rolls round with regularity, where bloggers post on the last Friday of each month spreading good news around the globe, stories of humanity and positive action that can pass by unnoticed among the ongoing negativity. The April A-Z international blogfest is about to get underway. I won’t be partaking this time round unless I change my mind at the last minute. It makes April fly by in a wink and then it’s May – 

So many markers of the months – today is Human Rights Day, a public holiday here in South Africa, acknowledging the Sharpeville massacre that took place in 1960. Next month is another public holiday, on 27th April, the day on which SA had it’s first democratic election. Mr. Nelson Mandela would be turning in his grave to see what is going on in our country. May 8th is election day …

The alarm bells have been ringing for some time. Especially when Mr. Ramaphosa announced his inner circle some days ago, thugs the lot of them. It’s ok according to him that they have not been convicted. It’s ok says Ramaphosa that this won’t tarnish the image of our country. Ramaphosa says that corruption will be rooted out and people will be jailed. Who’s he kidding? What have they got on Ramaphosa that he can’t get rid of them I have to ask, along with very many who cannot understand why these thugs have not been removed? Assassinations of those who speak out or who are whistle blowers is a not uncommon occurrence –

Also very alarming is Eskom our electricity provider. Its henchmen are facing commissions of enquiry and we are aghast at the deep rot. Well, we always knew. But we did NOT expect to have load shedding or blackouts such as we’ve been having for the last several days. Eskom, once an extremely well run and efficient State Owned Enterprise is completely dysfunctional and has been bailed out countless times. The interest on the debt is scary. The daily cost to the economy is absolutely enormous. In practical terms this means that we have no electricity for many hours of the day and night. For me, it’s an irritating inconvenience, I can work around it even if it means I have to keep on buying data for my cell phone to keep connected. It’s not cheap. We use solar lamps, torches and candles. But I’m thinking of the traffic chaos around the country, small businesses having to close down, the long nights with no lights, those who cannot cook for their families, those who cannot study, or they do by candle light. TV and radio is sometimes inaccessible to keep up with the news. So that we can’t follow the commissions of enquiry? I suspect so.

Other SEO’s are in deep doo doo. Railways continue to have breakdowns while commuters are on the way to work. Those on the highveld are facing water shortages – electricity is needed to get the dams to do their work to higher areas. Generators use diesel which is fast running out. Another petrol increase is due. Food prices are escalating. Winter is approaching. Electricity costs are going through the roof. It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if we actually get another downgrade, this time to the one below, which is junk status. And then?

And then? People are now removing as much cash as they can from banks and ATM’s. They are stockpiling.

I heard and saw Ramaphosa with my own eyes and ears saying in response to a question put to him in Parliament. ‘Oh I see you are white – that means you are one of those who supported the apartheid regime and were therefore involved in the slaughter of our people’. It was a 30 sec clip … dear heavens, if this isn’t racist I honestly don’t know what is. Thank you for nothing. You forget too quickly how many ordinary people, political parties, businesses, media, churches, organisations fought against apartheid. Stereotyping is the way of the weak, let alone deceitful –

Meanwhile, we hear of thousands of NGO’s helping those in need, people who give of their time and hard work to help those far worse off. Rescue SA has returned from Mocambique on our borders where cyclone Idai has wrecked havoc. Thousands were brought to safety, hundreds rescued from the jaws of death. Gift of the Givers (Imtiaz Sooliman is the founder) continues their extraordinary work wherever required around the world. Zimbabwe also on our borders has felt the effects of cyclone Idai, and are in dire need of help of food and water. Malawi, that poor beleaguered country also in disaster territory. News from Zimbabwe has virtually closed down. The current president is a clone of Zimbabwe’s past president, the mug, Mugabe.

I often fantasise about a tax revolt, withholding taxes to the government in power, putting money into a separate account that is used to pay for roads, housing, clinics, schools and other essential services. I remember looking into this some years ago whether this was legal, and in fact found out that one is not obliged to pay taxes. It may be a duty but it is perfectly legal not to. Do we collude in some way when we give our hard earned taxes to a corrupt system? I suspect that that information has been removed from everywhere.

I know that there are good people in politics. Good people in our justice system. People everywhere who really do want the best for all and who work tirelessly towards fulfilling that goal.

My rant is over – I watered a tired looking indoor plant just now and was amazed at how quickly it prettily perked up. I’m outside on the balcony overlooking the sea the colour of which keeps changing as the day draws to a close. The electrickery has been on for the last 4 hours – who knows how much longer –

Thank you for reading. The photo is one I took from our bedroom balcony early in February. I remember feeling the beauty of it. One part of it in darkness heavy with rain, the other side in light. And G.d’s covenant with Noah after the flood that He wouldn’t allow such disasters again. Where are you G.d? Nebraska? Venezuela?The Middle East, New Zealand?

Changing seasons

Changing seasons

I’m trying to be aware of this so the change of seasons doesn’t take me unawares. Just to be aware of the transition and then to acknowledge it more definitively. And then to engage in it some more – as one season ends, another begins, sliding slowly into it’s newer or older form. One fresh with the promise of fertile Spring and Light, the other fertile and dark, each with its’ own function –

I’ve been on my own these last few days here in Plettenberg Bay. We arrived 2 Sundays ago, driving down from Johannesburg. Is it only so soon ago? – it seems longer. This past Wednesday my husband went off with golf pals on a jaunt and will be back tomorrow evening, and my elder son went off on Wednesday to Cape Town to attend an international animation event.

The days have been hot and humid. I’ve had a couple of walks on the Robberg beach and swims in the sea in view of the lifesavers – just in case -. I would have liked to have strode further out getting through the manageable waves and float on my back awhile even over the swells. I didn’t take that step but enjoyed the splashing and shlossing in the sea getting thoroughly doused. I would have liked for there to be more people in the sea then maybe I would have gone further out and floated awhile, but since I was the only swimmer I played safe –

The weather changed dramatically on Thursday night. Wonderful rain and in the morning too. A thorough soak. And it turned chilly – and remained so for several days. The wind was epic not favourable even for walking around locally. Yesterday it was still blowing a lot but I think it’s lost a bit of huff and puff after the previous days.

I still sit astride two places I call home in the physical sense – Johannesburg and Plettenberg Bay. It would please my husband enormously if our townhouse in Johannesburg were sold. We gave the keys 2 Saturdays ago to a sole estate agent who is very confident it will be sold at the price we’re asking. If she rang and said ‘Sold!’ this would be a shock to me in one way or the other … it really would mean a severance. Not only that but it would be conclusive ‘evidence’ to me that Plettenberg Bay is now really my/our home. And I must claim it and live it, in this next phase of my life.

We have access to the townhouse for the next several months regardless if sold and this gives us time to move everything else from there to down here – or sell it, or donate it or whatever. Maybe Autumn is as good a time as any. I still want to make plans to bring Jane (Kgamotso is her African name) our housekeeper who’s been with the family for 35 years down to Plettenberg Bay to come and see and be a guest in our home. She’s never flown before so that will be a first! We will be saying goodbye to Jane at the end of May latest. It is possible though that whoever buys our home may also want Jane – but there’s no way of knowing. That would be best outcome for her as her church and community is close by and she wants to continue earning. She has a home in Pampierstad, far away in the Northern Cape where her family lives so it may mean for her going or returning home. I’ve encouraged her to grow vegetables and plants and to continue her sewing if that move is made –

I’ve been upstairs in my study, bringing things from the dining room table downstairs and organising and streamlining things, making it functional and as pleasing as possible. There’s still a bit to do but I’m pleased with progress so far.

I like time on my own – there’s been only Angie the cat to feed. And myself. She fulfils my mother complex I suppose always wanting more food  for which I am happy to oblige. But it’s getting out of hand. I’m sure she’s not as greedy-needy when others are about.

I know I’m going to have to put myself out there a bit when I claim Plett as my permanent residence. Already I’ve enquired about a walking/hiking group but the organiser wants to know more about me and question me as to my fitness. I’m still to make enquiries about art groups and maybe bridge groups. Join the library. I responded to a Plett group this morning. May well be meeting a few at Whale Rock Wednesday morning to pick up litter, if the municipality hasn’t cleared the weekend trash. Pole pole … (polay polay) which means slowly slowly in Swahili – the words used by Wilson our guide up Mt Kilimanjaro so many years ago. Maybe I’ll send the walking/hiking lady this and hope she doesn’t look at the date ..

*The photo of National Geographic doesn’t make for easy reading –

the white band across it says MT. KILIMANJARO CONQUERED – FAB FIVE SUMMITS: AUG 19th 1999 – 7.45 am.

At the TOP it says: JUNGIAN PSYCHOLOGY: “The Nigredo of Mud”.

At the BOTTOM it says: Africa’s Highest Mountain Yields

to Determined Mountaineers

BREATHING AT 20,000 FOOT ALTITUDE

Science studies the effects of altitude on elderly

An update on my enquiry re hiking/walking – she phoned me back and we chatted so on Thursday I’m embarking on a hike in unknown territory for me. Had I climbed Robberg all the way she wanted to know. Yes numerous times I said. I omitted to tell her that the last time I climbed it all the way was in April last year and I nearly came short – not quite, but almost. Meeting at 8.15 on a 10km hike on Thursday, so help me …

I’m glad I walked this morning – the day was lovely, sunny and warm. I wish I’d donned my costume and sarong and swam like I did last week … the waves looked gentle. A few bathers about. At this time of year, people come from abroad to escape their winters or simply just to enjoy this milder weather. Those who migrate here for a month or so are called ‘Swallows’ – 

Elections here in South Africa in less than 2 months. I wonder what’s going to happen.

Thank you for reading. May the Force be with you wherever you are –

*It’s a fake cover on National Geographic – the picture is real though!

 

 

Colours

Colours

 I stuck this decal on my back bumper of my car some time ago. It’s small – about 4 or 5 inches in diameter. It’s struck me before that using dots and circles (mandalas) is reminiscent of Australian aboriginal paintings. This one is stylised, yet primitive. I love the beauty of the serpent. I part sketched it yesterday in a note book and I think I will attempt a painting of it. Acrylic? Water colours? Maybe using different colours – green and yellow dots maybe with some red and white and definitely blue. I recently read Lucinda Riley’s ‘The Pearl Sister’ which is mostly set in Australia and the story brings in aboriginal art and CeCe’s search for her ancestry in Australia. So there’s some dovetailing for me – I’ve been wondering what to paint. This is a nudge for me.

And then yesterday – because I’ve been puzzled by a dream from several nights ago, I looked up ‘Cat’ in The Book of Symbols: Reflections on Archetypal Images. Taschen. It is a precious book. What I’ve excerpted below is on page 300, titled Cat.

‘… In the evening, all the cats who had participated in the rat-catching had a grand session at (the Swordsman’s) house, and respectfully asked the great Cat to take the seat of honor. They made profound bows before her and said: “We all wish you to divulge your secrets for our benefit.” The grand old cat answered: “Teaching is not difficult, listening is not difficult, but what is truly difficult is to become conscious of what you have in yourself and be able to use it as your own….’ The Swordsman and the Cat, from a seventeenth-century master’s book on swordplay.

Now this doesn’t have any direct reference to my puzzling dream in which blue and white cats were rushing through I think my townhouse, but the words are rich. They also remind me of the words of Thomas in the Gospel of Thomas: “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”

I’ve sort of been stuck in this for a while – feeling uncreative, enervated, flat, inertia descending on me like a mushroom cloud – sadness and shock at deaths of people I know during the month of January –

We’ve been in Plettenberg Bay for several weeks already and will be heading to our Johannesburg home this coming week for the rest of the month of February. I won’t say that I’ve ‘failed’ at the several tasks I set myself while here but there is much that I had planned on doing and did not, like walking every day, yoga stretches every day, more swimming in the sea, more exploring, more writing, less eating like a demon possessed –

Am I beating myself up on it? No, not really – a bit – but not much. I’ve certainly done more housework than I’ve ever done in my life. Our Plett home is a large home. There’s no Jane from our townhouse in Johannesburg to do the washing and ironing and keeping things tidy. There’s me and Neil who says he’s never worked so hard and that he didn’t realise what a lot of work is entailed in the maintenance of a home. But, I’ve enjoyed this work, which feels like honest labour to me. (No ironing on my side – things just dry on the washing line.) I employ Fadzi a young Zimbabwean woman once a week who works her magic.  She creates and moves things round rather imaginatively from week to week.We’ve done much to make our home lovelier and more comfortable. I’m looking forward to the time when I’ll create a beautiful garden with its difficult soil. I hope to bring back my lovely potted orchids from Johannesburg to Plett. I’ll go indigenous as much as possible. I’ve already done some planting. We had wonderful much needed rains yesterday followed by this lovely rainbow captured from my bedroom balcony.

Elections are due to take place in South Africa in about April. Already the electioneering begins. Our robust justice system is in process of exposing many members of the the governing party the ANC and businesses involved in breath taking corruption. What’s been happening in Zimbabwe on our borders is beyond appalling. Mnangagwa, its president was recently in Russia begging for loans and did not get to Davos to beg for more but returned to Zimbabwe, for fear perhaps of a coup occurring in his absence. News coming out of Zimbabwe is scarce, as there is a shut down. There are calls for international sanctions against Zimbabwe.

World-wide things are pretty alarming – I won’t itemise it all. But people are rising and saying No, not in my name, individually and collectively. Something is in the air. But I think of the wind that can blow so fiercely here at times here in Plett for a day or so and then all of a sudden it stops, as if it’s run out of breath. 

In all of this I think of white privilege, my white privilege, there by the skin of my teeth or by the colour of my skin. I’ve written about this before and I believe that we’ve projected on to the ‘other’ our own unacknowledged darkness within our own selves. How much easier it is to put it on to others. We fear doing the hard work necessary to look within our own selves, and acknowledge the darkness that resides in the shadows, waiting patiently to be recognised so that healing can begin – There is gold in the shadows – when we own it and bring it out and withdraw our projection onto the other, we develop empathy for others and ourselves and thereby embark on beginning steps towards healing – for all of us.

I was up early this morning and took this photo of the sunrise. The gold bowl surrounding the white light arising from the darkness –

Thank you for reading! May the Force be with you –

 

 

 

Solstice, Christmas greetings and New Year wishes

Time marches, waiting for no one …

Today is the Solstice, Christmas Day next week Tuesday – and a week later it’s New Year’s Day!

  I’ve blogged about the Solstice and the Equinox in years past on those days. I like to acknowledge them – the the earth and the sun are in particular relation to each other. I feel that Earth: Eros and the Sun: Logos ‘meet’ and that there is balance and a stillness however momentary.

For those of us in the southern hemisphere, tonight will be the shortest and for those of you in northern climes your winter night will be the longest. Our nights will grow imperceptibly longer as daylight shortens, and in the north the daylight lingers longer as nightlight shortens.

Little turnings on the earth’s axis as night and day increase and decrease is, I believe, meaningful in that it indicates change, no matter how imperceptible the changes are. I guess it is the stillness worldwide as the changes of seasons are heralded that appeals to me as well as Eros and Logos meeting, the meeting of the divine Feminine and Masculine energies. Also, tonight will be a full moon worldwide, and I believe a meteoric shower will grace our skies. Celestial events indeed!

I took a photo the other evening from my study – it was still light but the growing full moon was in the sky –

Personally, change is very much upon me though being my usual self, I’m slow in processing and digesting. It suits my temperament to not come to any definite conclusions about anything – what the future may hold for example. Change happens both fast and slow. I know that as I’ve been traipsing up and down the stairs to attend to my new study and then down again with arms full of boxes to be discarded, that one false step and I could land at the bottom with twisted ankle, broken arms and legs or worse. Grim fantasy I know. But it is infinitely possible – so I am extra careful and enjoy the going up and the coming down. Traversing two worlds as it were – and grateful that as each day passes that I’ve been working hard physically, that so far, so good – 

My study is coming along. A few nights ago my son Mike and Neil my husband helped me re-arrange the furniture. The following day I unpacked many of my books and arranged cushions on the sofa, found a very pretty embroidered throw from our Johannesburg home that I’d unpacked and put that on the small and rather uncomfortable one. It’s almost done – my books are fully unpacked on the shelves as is my art stuff and plenty of files in a large enclosed yellowwood cupboard, none of which is visible in this photo. 

We’ve been down in Plettenberg Bay many times over Christmas and usually attend a service at an evangelical church whose pastor married my younger son and his wife in the converted barn at the Bramon Wine Estate nearly 3 years ago. Anton always brings such a special message to the Christmas service of Christ’s birth. Oh how those words of his messages ring so true. And the full throated singing by members of the congregation. I feel my heart swelling until fit to burst. Especially when we sing ‘How Great Thou Art’.

Yet another baby tortoise that my husband saw when coming up the outside steps after a morning game of golf on Wednesday, in a quite different part of the garden. This no larger than the palm of my hand. Even smaller than the baby I saw a day or so ago but was unable to photograph. Do you see the two hearts? One on the left, the other on the right – And all the other markings, thoroughly intriguing to me. Tortoises live on the land; turtles are sea creatures though they lay their eggs on the sea-sand. They’re very closely related though.  I’ll fashion one in the next little while – I was happy to see a block of clay I unpacked.

My younger son David and his wife Jüte arrived safely last night ex Cape Town. My elder son Mike is here too while his own home in Plett is currently being airbnb’d. The family occupying his home until early January arrived last week. The wife was especially hassled. But the news from the managing agent a few days ago is that they couldn’t be happier! So that is good news – they’re loving his space, the garden and pool and being in Plettenberg Bay.

So we have our two sons and daughter-in-law with us. All is very fine indeed! Jüte is a superb cook and baker – we’ve had a brief talk about Christmas lunch. She’s been accepted into Silwood in Cape Town, a 3 year diploma course in fine cooking and baking and learning about the source of foodstuffs – e.g. mushrooms and truffles – and how to find them. Probably sustainable cooking as well. Meeting with the finest chefs viewing demonstrations of their skills to the pupils, and the pupils showcasing to them, theirs. And more besides! How lovely to have a chef in the family! She’s talking about making a rooibos icecream for Christmas … (the rooibos plant is indigenous to South Africa – we are famous for our teas and the healthful qualities of rooibos) –

Thank you for reading and thank you for coming along to my every-now-and-then blog. I so appreciate it and love to receive your comments. I love the connection. It means a great deal to me!

Happy Solstice Day to you! A very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! 

Especially, as we head into 2019 I wish us all joie de vivre and joy, peace and prosperity, health and happiness, love and light. May the Force be with you and loved ones, everyone everywhere –

Blessed is the season that engages the whole world in the conspiracy of love: Hamilton Wright Mabie

departures and arrivals

departures and arrivals

I departed Johannesburg this past Thursday, waking at 4.00 a.m. leaving at 5.05 a.m. I stopped in at the local petrol station a short drive away from my home. My car just needed a top up before I set off. The skies were already lightening.

A long drive, 1273 kms to be precise. Nearly 800 miles. I arrived in Plettenberg Bay at 8.05 p.m. It was only the last half hour or so that I drove in darkness. My husband and son were there to let me in and welcome me with open arms and unload the bags. My car was pretty well packed to the hilt.

I am very grateful that I arrived without incident on the roads. There was a lot of traffic, huge trucks going in both directions plus other travellers off to somewhere. Our roads are very good. My little Honda Brio is a real champ. She holds only 30 litres of petrol which is really not much. On long distance travel she can easily clock 400 kms, that’s 250 miles on a full tank. I would check the reading every now and then and sometimes I was getting 16 km to the litre. That’s a real energy saver. I’ve stretched it to 430 or 440 kms on a full tank on occasion in times past and it’s taken me 14 hours to arrive in Plettenberg Bay. This time 15 hours.

Travelling tip for summer driving – I packed a wet face cloth into a zip lock bag and used it a few times to wipe across my face and neck. It was very refreshing. The heat outside was extreme – 38 degrees C. Plus my food for the road was light – sliced apple, cucumber and broccoli. I bought a small packet of salted chips the one time I stopped to fill up – I felt I needed the salt.

Sadly we have a terrible record for accidents and death on our roads much of it due to dangerous, sometimes drunk driving. Every year at this time there is a huge drive for awareness on the roads. I know that I have to be a responsible driver yet be aware that others may not be. Accidents, pile-ups – it takes a split second. Or even less, a nano second. The truck drivers were good. Other travellers drove very large cars, with roof racks and bicycles on a rack attached to the rear end bumper, 4, 5 bikes.  Or large cars with trailers. They were mostly good. Maybe the drive for awareness is catching on – though we think and hope this each year.

My husband who had arrived a few days before me, and I tackled some of the boxes the next day, yesterday, which had been delivered to the house some weeks before by a removal company. I totally organised my bedroom cupboards and wardrobe and bathroom. The sideboard in the dining room is mostly organised, though the dining room still needs to be sorted.

My study-to-be is on the upmost level. I went upstairs for the first time today to have a look and worked pretty hard on cleaning bookshelves, picking boxes off from the floor onto smooth surfaces, ripping tape off sealed boxes. Serious exercise. Tomorrow I will decide how the furniture is to be arranged to my satisfaction and start unpacking boxes of books and other things. Shall I place my desk facing the wide glass windows overlooking the sea, or position it differently taking into account where there are electrical outlets, while still having the view if I turn my head. The cover for a sofa looked grubby so I ripped that off and stuck it in the washing machine with bleach. It’s hanging out on the line – it may take ages to dry. The sofa will face the view ..

Below are some ‘before’ photos

I changed the sitting room that is the living area where we mostly gather re-arranging cushions and one or two other things. It’s looking calm, fresh, tidy.

My sister and I spoke on the phone this morning. She was setting off with her husband to Du Toit’s Kloof about an hours drive from Cape Town where she lives to attend the wedding of her brother-in-law’s son. She did say on the phone that she planned to go walking in the area. It was such a lovely surprise when I received this little video of her surrounds mid afternoon today … it’s only about 34 secs long and is truly lovely.

 As I went about my tasks today I wasn’t thinking about anything very much – I did think of connecting my music box in my study and listening to something while working, but somehow I didn’t get around to it. It’s satisfying sometimes to work in silence – and keep focused on the task at hand while imagining the later positioning of furniture –

Yesterday morning my husband called me down into the garden. I photographed this little tortoise nibbling at the wild strawberries. Neil offered it lettuce and water but it declined. 

I checked the photo I took on 31st December last year also in the garden – it was a larger tortoise – I wonder if the smaller above one is a baby of the older below but what is striking to me are the etchings on their shells. Similar but very different and so striking – something rather ancient about the designs –

I hope this finds you all in good cheer. I sense that amongst all the troubling things happening around the world, that we’re on the brink of something. Who knows what that something is … maybe we have to reach rock bottom before we can begin to ascend. That’s my thought and I’m holding onto it. There’s so much good in the world and I am ever hopeful that good will triumph ultimately. The boils are being lanced – readying themselves for healing –

Photo below is from my garden back home in Johannesburg – may the solar lamp remind you of the light in the darkness –

Thank you for reading and may the Force be with you –

Sunday: Photo below of baby tortoise not bigger than my hand and extended fingers this morning in a different part of the garden – again, please note the lovely and different markings!

 

Heat Rainbow Blue

Heat Rainbow Blue

We’ve been experiencing an excruciating heat wave for the last several days – temperatures 5 degrees celsius above normal November temperatures. And no rain! October onwards is the usual rainy period for where I live up on the highveld. We’ve had some, let me not exaggerate. Once or twice. But barely any. Lots of rumbles and darkening skies and promises of rain. Sunday evening it was certain, the wind got up, the skies darkened, I heard thunder … but rain just simply did not happen. Well, not here at home but when I looked out of my study window around 6.00 p.m. there was this glorious rainbow so it must have rained somewhere? Not too far away? I’m not sure – the evening sky was blue – the rainbow seemed to come out of the blue

You can see the scorched grass in the middle. The jacarandas in the background have lost their beautiful blue blooms in the last few days. Yet, much remains green ..

Small beer I know when I think of the fires in California and the terrible destruction that raged through towns like Paradise. The tragic irony of its name is not lost on me. Paradise and Hell? Abundance and scarcity; crippling drought and gentle rain; light and dark –

I heard on Sunday of the death on Saturday of a woman called Hannah. I reckon she must have been about 95 or 96. The last year or so of her life was spent in a frail care home. She was mostly bed bound over the last several years. I visited her occasionally. She was a wise and beautiful woman with long black hair falling over her shoulder – she always wore red lipstick. I enjoyed the hour or so I would spend with her. Always there was tea and cookies on a pretty tray prepared by her housekeeper. This morning I continued my tidying up and sorting papers and files in preparation for our upcoming relocation and I found this piece of paper in a drawer. I can’t remember the why’s and wherefore’s or why it should have Hannah’s name at the top of it. I will probably never remember – it’s one of those things out of the blue

Hannah

Do not be overcome by evil,

but overcome evil with good

Romans 12. 21I’m taking it as a synchronistic sign – as a message from this lady who I’ve known for over 45 years or so – as a gift to me. The mother of one of my husband’s friends. It’s the sort of thing Hannah would remind me of when we discussed the ways of the world and when not talking about family or books. Her voice was always very faint with a still recognisable Israeli accent. I had to struggle to hear her. But this note speaks loudly –

All seems so uncertain and wobbly. Not only on the personal front but everywhere. We’ve been having the Zondo commission of enquiry into state capture over the last weeks. This week will be devoted to Pravin Gordhan’s testimony, a senior minister, one of the good guys. I like what he said: “State Capture and corruption are the result of unleashing the worst of human instincts“. Are these dark times forcing us to uncover our darkest instincts – so that they can be fully acknowledged and confronted, and the business of reparation can begin? And the criminals, holding high positions, can be tried and sent to jail. Or will we remain in denial, by far the easiest – and most damaging.

 I know that Thanksgiving is just around the corner for those in America and that this is a celebratory time of family, friends and food. It is ‘… an annual national holiday marked by religious observances and a traditional meal. The holiday commemorates a harvest festival celebrated by the Pilgrim Fathers in 1621, and is held in the US on the fourth Thursday in November‘ (from wikipedia). I know that Canada had their annual Thanksgiving in October. We don’t have have such a holiday here in South Africa but this doesn’t lessen the interest I have in its significance (the food and its preparation is always of especial interest to me). I try to remember on a daily basis that I have much to be thankful for; that the circumstances I was born into gave me a headlong start in life. By that I mean the colour of my skin. The odds were stacked in my favour. 

So, may your table be well prepared and those at your table enjoy the produce of your efforts. I know there are many who are displaced in California and my heart goes out to them. Let’s hope that glorious, cleansing and refreshing rain halts those fires. May the fire fighters earn a well deserved rest. And may those in the deepest despair know that we are with them every step of the way. I note for the moment: Yemen, Mexico, Syria, Jamal Khashoggi’s family – the list is endless. And to those who continue to have racial bias perpetrated upon them, I’m reminded of Mr. Nelson Mandela’s words: “Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another.” 

 Good will prevail.

The lotus arises from the mud –

Thank you for reading.

 

 

 

 

Prayer

PrayerIt’s a huge topic to write about but it’s one that’s been occupying my mind lately in one way or another.

Last Saturday night we had dinner with friends and their delightful friends. One of the women Jane* told me the most extraordinary story. She and her husband John* live down at the sea but were up here on the highveld to help their family.

Their son-in-law Peter*, was out running midmorning on a public holiday towards the end of September in a lovely suburb half way between Johannesburg and Pretoria. He suddenly crashed. A woman who had been with a group on a walk and talk tour on the topic of the meaning of this public holiday – Heritage Day – in this historic area, broke free from the  group and wandered off on her own. Some way off, she saw this very disoriented man on the ground surrounded by people who thought he was drunk and disorderly and they were about to call the police to remove him. She recognised him – she’s a Canadian I gather and was here in this country for business purposes and the man on the ground was one of her associates. She immediately dialled for an ambulance recognising the symptoms of a stroke and went with them. She was able to phone his wife Diana* to say what had happened and at what hospital they were in Pretoria.

It was a brain aneurism. 3 visiting Israeli neurosurgeons were at the hospital to perform a particular operation on a patient and provide teaching to other resident surgeons – that patient did not pitch up. So the operation was performed on Peter. A very tricky one in the Circle of Willis in the brain.

For the last several years he and his wife Diana have hosted a street party in their suburb on Heritage Day, 27th September, a public holiday. This time round, Diana messaged the group from the hospital to say what had happened and that they would not be there. But to continue with the street party regardless.

When she finally got home that evening she found all their neighbours in their garden with lighted candles, praying for her husband’s recovery. Which they continued to do over the weeks and sent out messages all over to pray for Peter. He’s been in recovery for the last month in hospital. He is still recovering in hospital and being rehabilitated. He’s been at home once or twice for short stretches and even doing a little photography further afield. He has clearly beaten the odds.

There is much more to this story I could tell – one miracle followed another. Friends, acquaintances and his business have been so kind. All have contributed in large measure in his ongoing recovery. His very good medical insurance ran out after a few days – his place of business told him they would cover all the very expensive costs. There has been and continues to be a huge rallying around … I am so struck by this story and have no doubt that prayer has played a huge role.

I saw this tiny praying mantis yesterday morning on my key ring on the dining room table. Barely visible, off centre on the top part of the blue of remote. Its tiny feelers were in prayer mode. Thank you Mantis I said to it.

Watering the garden last evening, I thought how the plants and flowers are so resilient in spite of the crushing heat we’ve been experiencing. I was reflecting also on the ‘faded’ state I’ve been feeling, fast fading into oblivion, in danger of becoming invisible to myself this last while. Enervated, listless. The world is just too much, here and elsewhere. I’ve been wondering whether we carry the wounds of past generations in our genes and how on earth can they be healed and knowing they must. Elsewise it seems to me that those wounds will keep on presenting themselves in the generations that follow. Why, when we’re better off in so many ways, so say the statistics, do we feel more stressed, more disconsolate, disillusioned?

I remind myself that disillusionment is of value. It is not easy to give up previously held attitudes or ways of being. Being disillusioned means a stripping away of illusions as a way of discerning reality. It’s a painful process – truth often is. This can happen when for example when we realise that a friend is not really a friend, or is just a fair weather friend. Or we realise the colleague who subtly stabs you in the back while smiling. Or our so-called leaders, those who work for us and whose salaries we pay by way of our hard earned taxes do not fulfil the function for which they were elected. Is it our human task, to become stressed because we care about for example the planet and the creatures in threat of becoming extinct? Are we numb to our country lifting the ban of exporting elephant tusks and rhino horn to China? These magnificent animals will be farmed for those precise appendages as they believe they have aphrodisiacal and medicinal qualities. We start to realise that much of the world operates on the principle ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’.

I read somewhere that ‘Nazi’ is the abbreviated form of ‘nationalism’ whose rise across the world is frightening. What vacuum is being fuelled and filled by this? What emptiness is there and yet a longing to belong which currently takes on a badly corrupted manifestation?

Adrienne Rich

My heart is moved by all I cannot save

So much has been destroyed

I have to cast my lot with those, who, age after age,

Perversely, with no extraordinary

Power, reconstitute the world.

Prayer takes so many forms – prayers for help when in sorrow and grief for ourselves or those suffering; simple and complex prayers; prayers for travelling mercies; for rain; for sun; for food; for housing; for safe passage; for birth; for death. We pray for those caught in conflict and who very sadly are often the most vulnerable. We pray for those who try to end the conflict and those who bring vital resources. We pray for those who are in deep depression and most times cannot crawl out of that deep hole. We can pray when we’re walking, on waking, before sleeping, lighting a candle, any quiet time when we’re on our own or with family and friends; and when there is a need for communion with our souls and a universal power. We pray when we give thanks for moments of joy –

The grief we feel for those caught in that barbaric shooting in the synagogue in Pittsburgh last Saturday and for those who are victims of race shootings because of the colour of their skin, is also a form of prayer.

Is there any value in looking back to the home of the ancients? Maybe from them, our ancestors, by giving birth to the old, there can be a renewal. Maybe there can be an enchantment again with the world and its peoples. And to go back even further to an Old Testament proverb – We build bridges, not walls.

I’ve added this below – I found it interesting. It’s not long.

Edward F. Edinger: The psychological implications of Prayer

I know that next week’s mid-term election looms large in the U.S. and that this is a highly stressful time. Who knows how the chips may fall. We also are going through extraordinary times, mostly very alarming. 

Thank you for reading. May the light be ever present, along with the dark.

*pseudonyms

conception perception deception

Conception, perception, deception –

We were down in Southbroom a town on the Kwa Zulu Natal South coast at the end of last month as guests of our friend Rory. The last time I was there was in late April 1987 when the men had a golf challenge among them. The memory then of standing in the garden looking out to the sea and knowing that my child to be was conceived the previous night is a memory that will always stay with me. David my younger son was born the following year in February1988 (two weeks late if anyone is doing any math).

When we were down at the end September, I said to Rory and reminded my husband that Davey was conceived here. Recently, Rory sent me a photo of the house as it was then (31 odd years ago) and pointed out that conception occurred in the bottom right hand room – the photo in the middle.So, I was pretty chuffed and emailed Rory to say so. It’s lovely to have this on record as it were. It’s also a reminder of my memory being a record of sorts of the following morning following conception looking out to the sea and already feeling the quickening – knowing that I was pregnant –

It was a very unusual feeling to be so certain of something, a feeling I am not familiar with, ie a feeling of certainty. Some things yes – the sun rises and sets, the moon is always there, the tides roll in and recede, the seasons change, the stars even if not visible are always there in all their glory, we sleep we wake we go on about our day –

Bombs fall drought famine fires hurricanes the sands always shifting as people escape their place of origin. Rape, corruption, lies, blame, denial, obfuscation, destruction,  we sleep we wake we go on about our day –

A few mornings ago I took this photo of the jacarandas from my study. I felt a quickening of a different sort – a sort of stillness, paradoxical though this is –

My son returned to South Africa last Wednesday after being away in Europe for 3 months with his wife Jüte who flew straight back down to Cape Town while David stayed for several days with us. He flew back to Cape Town last night. He and his father went for a swim last Friday late afternoon. David took this photo when walking back to the townhouse. The moon will be full on Tuesday or Wednesday …

I took a few today of different trees just outside our townhouse – the colour is always different.

Does my perception of the world change a little when I see beauty and colour and growth and the different shades of light at different times? Yes, it does. It reminds me that the light changes and has an effect on things. When a storm brews and all goes dark and there’s grumbling thunder that matches my mood. Though the light-ning can be scary.

Here in South Africa much is happening. A very brave young woman is giving testimony about her being groomed by a pastor in her church and the sexual abuse she has suffered. Thankfully she is being supported by everyone including the ANC Women’s League and the  ANC Youth League. His church has been shut down. He’ll be facing the music this coming week. Those involved in state capture (R100 bn at last count) are being brought to account. Justice is being served. The deception has lasted too long. 

So, I sleep and wake and go about my day – I hear and read about protests often violent, strikes, train & bus crashes, trains deliberately set alight, shacks being burned, rising fuel prices, a barely moving economy. I find myself sitting in the opposites of the chaos of the world and my world and the beauty of the natural world. The tension is  unbearable. I sometimes write down precipitations, a form of prayer, a conception, an intercession, and then leave it to go where it will into the atmosphere – and I find stillness if even for a moment …

Creation and destruction, deception and denial, the search for truth has been around forever. I grieve for the family and fiancé of Kamal Khoshoggi and with all who find the circumstances of his death so abhorrent.

And I always ponder on the male and female energies and the need for them to merge, with inception, conception and intention –

Thank you for reading. May you always find your stillness in the midst of it all. And thanks to Jan who provided the above image the day after our reading group last Monday evening …

Equinox

Equinox

It that’s time of the year again – a tilt and a turning –

The earth laughs in flowers: Ralph Waldo Emerson

I was away for 10 days in Cape Town and surrounds. I returned last Saturday evening and was thrilled to see my garden in full bloom. A hanging orchid was showing off –

The yesterday today & tomorrow against one of the sitting room windows and its delicious scent –

The bougainvillea showing signs of recovery and returning to colour

The redness of the bottle brush tree against the greenness –

I took some lovely photos while in Cape Town & surrounds. I didn’t get to see the whales. One day I set off on my own for Hermanus expressly for that purpose. My directions were off and I turned around after travelling for about an hour. My directions were off the previous day too when I went to see a friend in one of the Cape Town suburbs. Was so late. I’ve been there many times – I got lost again when returning to my sister’s home. 

I being me of course wondered about this – my going off in the wrong direction or not following directions or not being attentive enough. Where, why was I off-centre were some of the questions I asked myself. A few days previously I’d gone for a walk in my sister’s very pretty suburb. Lots of roads and streets, avenues and cul-de-sacs and very pretty verges –

Pin cushions – had it been a sunny late afternoon they would have glowed even more – I got a bit lost on my way back –

I took off on another walk another day and found myself at the dam which was a lovely surprise –

I was always very grateful that I returned safely from unfamiliar territory. And, I enjoyed my wanderings as I stepped out of my comfort zone –

My sister Debora and I try each time I visit her in Cape Town, to take a drive to Gordon’s Bay (a good 3/4 hour away), where we used to live as teenagers. Bikini Beach was literally over the road from our old home. Photo is of me standing on the road close to the house with the harbour off to the right. We’ve always walked the jetty to the end. I’d picked up earlier a couple of small yellow daises in a crack in the paving and put them in my pocket. Debora and I always have a chat with our parents for it is into the sea at the end of the jetty that we tossed their ashes so many years ago. We had a good chat with them … and then tossed the daisies into the sea and rocks below –

Another time my sister and I drove out to Muizenberg to pick up Lisa en route to Simonstown to see some friends. While she was attending to curtain people in her house, my sister and I went for a walk on the beach very close by.Debora –

I’ve been thinking about my sweet sister over these days – her kindness, her calm, her ability to be focused and deal with the task at hand. Her nurturing of her lovely garden, hit and destroyed by last year’s drought, now fairly newly planted and growing with indigenous plants, paving, rocks and cactus. 4 rain tanks and her ongoing commitment to conserving and saving water. The lovely dinners she made – like our mother, cooking with love and creativity. She uses recipe books for healthy and delicious eating. Her commitment to gym and exercise. Her ability to be focused when doing a 1500 piece puzzle. Her loving care for her husband and for her 2 poodles. Her wise words about not always seeing the negative but focusing on the positive.

Country-wise, in South Africa that is, it’s pretty painful to witness the commissions of enquiry into state capture. The rot is deep and profound, the impact huge. Media is letting us know – we have already known for quite a long time, but now the festering wounds are being opened even more. This has to happen – the wounds are being laid bare, open and gaping, gruesome in the extreme. A huge percentage of our population because of inter alia illiteracy is entirely unaware, though the word is getting out even to those in more remote areas. There is a ground swell of awareness I like to think, of just how badly they’ve been served by their elected officials. 

Many of us have good reason to believe that the Ramaphoria euphoria (Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa our president) is over – we had hoped for much more from his new presidency, eg getting rid of some his henchmen in the inner circle. I only hope he’s playing a long game – elections are next year. He’s going to have to wave his magic wand – as of yesterday he launched a daring proposal to stimulate the economy and promises much needed fixing where it’s needed. It’s on the table and his delegates will be held accountable. There is so much that is up the creek here in South Africa – yet so much potential – he’ll have to do more than wave his magic wand – somehow we’ll all have to pull together. And return to our sense of hope or possibilities from several months ago.

I sometimes feel adrift with all these transitions. On a personal note Neil, my husband, turns the key in the door in his private practice at the end of next month and officially retires as a medical specialist. His patients are devastated. Some have spoken about flying down to Plettenberg Bay to see him. Who knows, maybe he’ll have a small practice down there. He and I have no idea of how this transition is going to be. We’ll maintain our home here in Johannesburg for a while. Both sons come up from the Cape fairly regularly for reasons of work and use our home as a base. I need to be in Johannesburg next year for various reasons. I imagine there’ll be some to-ing and fro-ing, maybe exploring places en-route, something I’ve always wanted to do. Road trip through our beautiful country. Organising things this end and that end –

In spring time, some homes show their beautiful gardens to the public. We went last Sunday to Neil’s old home where his parents and he lived. The gardens and home were very lovely. It was a trip down memory lane for him. ‘Strathy’ was its name – I remember his lovely home and his parents.  I took many photos but here’s one –

To end – as I write I am full of a virus. We should be leaving tomorrow, Sunday, for Southbroom, on the Natal south coast. We’re postponing for a day or so until I am over this. My husband phoned Rory this morning (our host for several days) to say about a delay by a day or two. He asked him at my request if there were any whales, to which Rory said that as they were talking he could see a whale breeching about 200 mtrs away. So this has lifted me somewhat … or considerably I should say –

The Equinox – when the centre of the sun is directly above the equator and when both north and south hemispheres are equally illuminated.

When we were travelling in June we went to see the Black Madonna in Einseideln, outside Zurich.. We were both overwhelmed at the beauty of her and felt her illumination. As I look at my photos of her on my phone I am again struck by her illuminating light and it is this that I pass on to you on the Equinox. 

The earth will be still for one brief moment tomorrow. May we all feel that stillness – as the wheel of the sun moon and stars and our planet continues turning – and we tilt this way and that –

Thank you for reading!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today, Yesterday, Tomorrow

Today, Yesterday, Tomorrow –

This is a photo I took 2 years ago on safari in Ngaka Modiru Molema, Botswana. I was hunting through my photos on my phone to see if I had one of wildebeest crossing a river; I‘m pretty sure I do but I reckon it’s in the cloud somewhere.

 I was watching a person on TV speaking in parliament today while having coffee. I missed the beginning so I can’t give his name. He was saying about the absolute necessity of South Africa to use farm land for crops and agriculture. This includes the expropriation of land without compensation. We are able to provide for all, including export he said, if commercial farming (and for personal gain) is properly implemented:a plan for training, machinery, and good living farm conditions with schools and clinics. Title deeds (not leases) to be given for such land, which can be used as collateral for loans from banks – farmers, black and white, men and women, are very eager to farm and be prosperous.

He ended his rather impassioned plea saying he wanted to leave them with an image. He spoke of the wildebeest and their migration.

Imagine huge herds of wildebeest on one side of the river, he said. It is dry, there is no food. They need to get to the other side where the grass is greener and their calves can be born. If they stay on the one side, the lions will eat them. They have to cross the river, even if there are crocodiles in the current. But they can’t just jump into the river one by one – they’ll be attacked by the crocs. The banks on the other side of the river are high; they’ll have to clamber up those steep slopes.

So, there are risks. I saw this as an apt metaphor for today and tomorrow. A raging current to be traversed – 

Last evening I was at my usual Monday night Jung reading group. Sometimes a passage we read is so relevant to the current situation here in South Africa as well as world wide that not much actual study gets done. Last night was just such an evening – we each expressed our grave concerns about this beautiful country we live in. I’m starting to feel like a stranger in my own land. I’ve been feeling uneasy for a long while. We discussed whether it is better for our psychological health to remain hopeful that things will work themselves out and NOT to listen or watch the news.. I’m trying to figure out exactly what my feelings are. I do know that I’m witnessing the dark side of human nature as never before – though as someone said we know of it already as in WW1 & WW2 and the Holocaust and other historical and current atrocities. Yes, this is true. As in the migration of people from Venezuela because of the collapse of the economy. As in people trying to get to Europe as refugees or asylum seekers and the many deaths due to overloaded boats and/or people smuggling. As in suicide bombers. As in elephant and rhino poaching, as in drought, flooding, pollution … do I really want to know all this? I don’t actually – I really don’t. It gets to me on a gut level. We agreed that these sorts of feelings also render us somewhat powerless, if not unhinged. With what’s going on in SA, it feels as if the whole of SA is depressed. The rot is deep. Thousands are emigrating, skilled professionals. I feel anarchic at times.

Today while driving I heard on the news that SA is technically in a recession. Our currency is fast depreciating. The cost of living is already high and the poor are feeling it most. But we’re all feeling the pinch. Less money to spend which affects the economy. Money is now used for basics – not for spending –

What does this all mean we wondered last night? What is the meaning of meaning? But, as always, it is imperative to hold our centre in the midst of it all. The wheel keeps turning. It’s always intensely dark before sunrise –

I’m flying down to Cape Town tomorrow morning for several days. I want to see the sea and mountains and some friends. I especially want to see the whales. To see those great leviathans emerge from the depths that let us know they are there in all their magnificence. My friend Jan who is in our Monday night meetings sent me this little video this morning, of whales in Hermanus, this morning, this day. I’ll be visiting Hermanus, about an hour and a half outside of Cape Town.

Thank you for reading. L’Shana Tovah and well over the fast, Happy Labour Day, and may you all be well.

I’ve removed the whales video – it was causing some problems … Tues 18th Sept

 

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