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


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!



51 Comments on Changing seasons

    • I can’t now remember what I wrote … but I’ve subscribed to your posts via email as they seem to have got lost. I wanted to mention this non-profit organisation … here’s the Wits link: and I’m sure they’ll redirect you to the Plett area …

      So pleased you’re getting to the beach … take care – Hilary

      • Thanks Hilary, I think the best way is to subscribe via email so thanks for doing that. This was also in the ‘to be approved’ folder I guess because of the weblink you provided!

    • It did again not get taken … here’s an organisation you might be interested in … without the link, which maybe is why it was bombed out … U3A Westrand one … probably not the best – but one that came up … University of the Third Age … a good organisation to be in – I’ve enjoyed my time with them … good luck – H

      • There’s a U3A here in Plett Hilary! I must renew my membership. The place where they’re usually held is undergoing renovations so it’s held at different places – they’ve just restarted their year!

  1. Hi Susan – glad you’re looking around for interesting groups et al … I wondered if you’d come across this organisation – a charity … here’s the U3A Wits link … and I’m sure it’d send you to other SA ones …

    Good luck with the sale … and all that entails … cheers for now – Hilary

  2. Pole pole, Susan. Sounds like you are settling in well, in your own time, finding your place. Perhaps it’s needs your old home to sell for you to fee really settled. It sounds like your new home has a lot to offer. I wish you happy times.

    • Thanks Norah for coming by and for your vote of confidence! More and more I’m realising how big this change is … and how VERY slowly I’m coming to terms with it (sort of). But it’s not over until the fat lady sings … which is what I HOPE I’ll be doing when the townhouse is sold 🙂

  3. Hoping the hike goes well!

    It sounds so lovely there. I dream of moving to a place by the water where it’s warm year-round. Still hoping that someday, somehow, my writing will take me there.

    And to South Africa. I’ve wanted to visit for so long!

    • The hike went well thanks Holli, arduous though it was! Another one this coming Thursday …

      Any time you want to visit SA let me know – you have a place to stay here at my home 🙂

  4. Yes, once your home in Johannesburg is sold it will be permanent, Susan. Plett is lovely though so I suppose it is really friends that you will miss. I am sure you can find lots to do near the ocean.

    • Thanks Robbie! Yup that’s what I have to realise! Went on a long hike this morning with a bunch of very nice people none of whom I’d met before.

  5. Changing seasons are so obvious here with the sun’s movement from south to north on the western horizon. It’s moving north quickly now. The moon has been beautiful, too. It sounds like a new cycle is coming for you as you find the right people to join you for hiking, taking care of the land, and whatever else you choose to do. Because of my cochlear implant restrictions and repeated arctic blasts, I haven’t been able to exercise much for 5 weeks. As it warms a little, I’m tromping through the woods and up the hills and feel how out of shape I became in a short time. Strength will return. One benefit of having been an exercise coach and nutritionist is I trust the body’s ability to grow stronger and more resilient at any age–with some effort. The effort is easier when the weather cooperates. May all go well with your transition, Susan. And may it all work out for Jane.

    • I like what I heard recently Elaine about the body’s ability to heal – a film on Netflix called ‘Heal’. My husband, a died in the wool medical man, was pretty impressed by it. You may have had a hiatus due to the weather and operation, but the body has a self regulatory system to return to its previous health. I agree it’s better when the weather cooperates! The psyche too now that I think about it 🙂 regardless of weather – and, you have the added benefit of being a nutritionist and coach. The odds are well stacked in your favour!

      I too am noticing the changing placement of stars and the moon plumping up. Dawn coming later, sunset earlier.

      Thanks Elaine for good wishes re my own transition and for Jane … and my good wishes to you for your hearing transition…

      • I have a “to listen” list in a file and added the film “Heal.” I’ll need to do lots of listening–in person and online. And I will get stronger again. My next blog is about that. I’m not a complete mess now, but just out of shape. That can be remedied with more intense walks (the snow just melted!), strength training, and yoga. I have all 3 in place.

  6. Ah, changes. So challenging but so refreshing. Selling the old place and moving to the new. So much work but so worth it–especially when you’ve been there and know it. Many people stay where they’ve been for many years. We’re half-way across America from Northern Virginia in a metropolis to a tiny town in southwestern New Mexico. It’s SO different but so wonderful. Good luck on the home sale and saving memories and people that you love for continued enjoyment on into the future.

    • Onwards! is the sense I get from you John, into the new no matter the challenges. And you’re right, I am familiar with Plettenberg Bay. Someone said this evening at a supper party that there is always the danger of just getting old when retiring and moving and how it depends on one’s self to actively embrace a new home. So in the light of this and your comment I am further encouraged to do just this 🙂

      Thank you for your good wishes re the sale of our other home – and for continued enjoyment. My good wishes are with you too.

  7. Hi, Susan – I love your style of thoughtfully embracing change. I usually try to ignore change until it eventually becomes my ‘new norm’! 🙂
    Interesting about your hiking group. I belong to several walking/hiking groups in my area. No one has once asked about my fitness level. I think that may be testament to the average age of people where I live (according to Census Canada it’s 65.9)!
    I look forward to hearing more about your hikes with this group. This spring I will be hiking into Rome from Luca (400 km)…. at least that’s the current plan!

    • Thanks Donna for coming by! Robyn said on the phone that they have 3 levels, strenuous moderate and I can’t remember the other one – Thursday’s one is moderate. But 10 kms is quite a stretch 🙂 at least in my view… but I look forward to walking in unknown places, meeting new people and seeing unusual fauna and flora and I just hope that there are no snakes on the way –
      Rome as in Italy? That sounds wonderful! Is it a Camino hike? Lucky you! Something that I am really keen to do. I’ve just made a note to myself to investigate this for this year – I look forward to hearing your plans about this!

      • Hi, Susan – Yes, it’s Rome, Italy. It’s a Camino called Via Francigena. The full hike is 2000 km. It starts in Canterbury, England, goes through France and Switzerland before going through Italy. We will do the last 400 km. I am greatly looking forward to it. I will keep you posted!

  8. I admire you desire to challenge yourself by walking with a new group of people. Moving house in the fall will be good, I think. Autumn is a time of letting go, so perhaps that vibe will buoy you along.

    [I’m hoping that this comment goes through. I cannot get your blog via Feedly anymore, and have had trouble commenting here lately. *fingers crossed*]

    • Thanks Ally Bean for coming by – I like the idea of the vibe of Autumn and letting go! For me it’s always lovely when responses to my posts are encouraging, it makes me feel a little more excited! Though just this evening driving home from a supper party, my husband was saying who he’s invited to our home for next Sunday supper, after golf. I want to fly back to Johannesburg immediately and retrieve some decent cutlery for this occasion … we were also discussing where we could get a chef to make some decent food. So please keep your fingers crossed for me. I’m glad you got through – to the best of my knowledge I am not on Feedly?

  9. Dear Susan, Thank you for keeping us posted on the house move and for sharing your rich reflections on all the changes you’re still undertaking. One of the main reasons for deciding to spend the next twelve months writing new monthly poems for my “Poetry of the Year” series, was to learn how to better observe and engage with the ever-changing seasons of the year, above and below. Hopefully I’m doing that!

    Hmm, I’ve been yearning for a deeper relationship with nature for many years and decided 2019 would be that year. In your opening sentences you describe well nature’s rhythms and cycles as I found myself walking through days and months hand-in-hand with Mama Gaia, camera and poetry notebook! I can’t put it into any other words today other than to say I’m learning what it’s like to move through the months in a completely different way.

    Oh, I love spending time on my own too, and enjoy it when I have whole days to feast on poetry, nature, mythology and soul-making! And in light of our last discussion re: “Roma” (film) it’s wonderful to read of your long-standing relationship with Kgamotso (Jane). What a parting gift that would be for her to visit, be your guest and fly for the first time!

    Enjoy your next walking adventure, “hiking into unknown territory” sounds awesome … looking forward to hearing all about it! Love and light, Deborah.

    • Dear Deborah, thank you for your lovely comment! I think when Jane (Kgamotso) is here we can watch Roma together. It’s bound to affect her in some way. Before we left Johannesburg just over a week ago Jane and I were reminiscing of when she first came to work for us. Michael was just 3 months old. I was quite sure that I would do everything on my own and had no need for a housekeeper. But a friend sent her around to our first home one day – and this young lass said my friend sent her. Well, that’s when I took her in. Tiny room with tiny ablution facility etc but that’s when she joined us. As Jane reminded me, when Michael wouldn’t go down to sleep during the day, the only thing that did the trick was carrying him on her back – true African style. My sons are truly attached to her – and she to them.

      Your poetry writing about the months is a wonderful way of acknowledging Mama Gaia. It sets up such a natural rhythm of the months, her different facets and moods, her capriciousness and constancy. I can’t wait for April as March marches on …

      I swam in a different sea today – the water was lovely and cold, with a strong undertow, unlike previous swims. And how the weather changed … suddenly a wind came up and there was an ALMIGHTY crack of lightning from nowhere. Angie cat came dashing in from outside as if she’d been scalded. I wonder if there’s going to be some rain. None forecast – but who knows!

      Love & Light to you dear Deborah – Susan

  10. Hi,
    Changes brings unwanted complications in our lives that must be, if we want to continue to move forward. I very well understand the trauma of finally claiming Plettenberg as your home. It is a goodbye and even though you will continue to go there after it is sold for a few months, it won’t be the same because it is no longer yours. It takes on the spirit of the new owners. Yet, in all of this, the adventures waiting for you in your new home will be greater than those in Johannesburg. But that too takes time because growth almost never happens overnight. I am quite sure there are adventures before you that you, at this moment, cannot imagine.
    You will come through this process of change with a smile in your heart.
    All the best.
    Shalom aleichem,

    • Thank you Patricia for your very encouraging comment – I am smiling as I write! What a lovely thought that the new owners will inhabit the townhouse with their own spirit. Whoever buys it is bound to love it. It is spacious and airy yet compact at the same time. And this home in Plettenberg Bay will soon have us as inhabitants on a more permanent basis … which I think the bricks and mortar love or appreciate?

      Change is inevitable – the only thing that is constant. Clichéd but true, as you know only too well and I hope that you come through all your changes with a smile in your heart.

      Shalom Aleichem to you Patricia, Susan

  11. So glad to read your post susan; I love swimming and waiting for opportunity to swim. My daughter is writing her 12th standard exam so waiting for that to take a break. Its summer in hyderabad ad its very hot and predictions are it will get hotter. I am waiting for some transitions in my life too:) thanks for inspiring.

    • I had a swim at midday today Genevive, the water was lovely and chilly but a strong undertow. It was very hot weather wise, and now it may rain. Hope Dorothy’s exam goes well and that you take that swim soon 🙂 and that your transitions go well xx

  12. We lived between two houses for months, and I was very happy when the old house was sold. I hope you will be very satisfied with Plettenberg Bay.

    John goes away several weekends in the Spring, and I always look forward to time alone. It makes the time together more precious.

    That’s interesting that your seasonal migrants are called Swallows. We call them snow birds here.

    • Thanks for saying about your experience Anne. A few have said that when they were in a similar situation of relocating, and their old home was sold, that that was when they could get on with things … being in between is being neither here nor there!

      I agree, time alone is valuable. As is time when the other returns 🙂

  13. Ah transitions. I usually hate them. But this year I was thoroughly enjoying experiencing our transition from winter to spring, relishing the truly awesome sense that there is a power greater than myself: the sun shining four minutes longer twice each day. How does it know to do that? 🙂 until DST arrived on Saturday/Sunday and now that experience has been snatched from me. And floating in the ocean? Oh yes; it was for many years my only way of feeling truly connected to that power greater …. I wish you well in all your transitions.

    • Thanks Janet – yes, floating in the ocean does give me that sense of a power greater than I, not that I had thought of it that way before but now I shall 🙂 It’s so lovely when words are used to capture that sense that I haven’t articulated.

      These days the morning dawns MUCH later – and the evenings and their coolth, sooner ..

  14. Dear Susan;
    Enjoy the hike. remember Kilimanjaro and the unknown and its challenges. The mud brought on even more and yet it was good we did not know what to expect but were ready for whatever–because we had to be.
    You are on a walkabout…

    • I do remember Kili every now and then Susan! I agree having no pre-set expectations is half the battle thereby dealing with what is at the moment. Thank you for coming by 🙂

  15. Thanks for the update, Susan. It’s always such a pleasure to read your musings about your everyday life….. Transitioning? Moving? Always a challenge, but if anyone’s up to it you are! Have fun hiking.

    • Lovely to see you here Jean and thank you for your vote of confidence! Adaptation has a lot to recommend it though I fear I may adapt myself out of existence at this rate … 🙂

  16. You are great at staying active and involved. I seem to backing away from the various activities that I used to do like my various crafts. I am envious that you were out swimming in the ocean. I do miss body surfing.

    We have experienced several changes this year too as so much snow was dumped on us that we couldn’t go any place. Now hopefully Spring will really appear as I’m so tired of this snowy winter. I guess I don’t deal well with change as this weekend we just changed the time from Standard Time to Daylight Savings Time. Losing an hour of sleep is incredibly hard on me. There is some talk of convincing the government to leave the time alone — I SURE HOPE SO!

    Heck, it is hard enough adapting to the changes in my body due to aging. Now it appears that I will have to have my left hip replaced now —CHANGE— HARUMPH!! It will be interesting to hear how you deal with having only one residence. Change can be frustrating. Hopefully your possible change of leaders will be a good experience. I have my fingers crossed for you. I’m sending love!!

    • Thanks Gwynn for coming by. Yip DST would mess up my sleep patterns I imagine – may you ease into it! And good luck with the hip op – so many of my friends have had it – the op I mean. But it’s been successful for them and they’re back to hip hopping after a period of time. Patience is the name of the game. For me, I’ve HAD to get my a into g otherwise it would be faaaaar to easy for me to slip into sloth.

      May Spring bring a spring into your step Gwynn as you continue your walks. The best exercise in my view! xx

  17. I’m always so happy when you post. You bring a peace and calm to what is arguably a nutty world anymore. Good luck with the house! We’re thinking of moving soon but not sure if our house will sell. Sigh.

    • Thank you Jacqui! I watch the TV news but much less these days. I hate to think of what’s going to happen as we get into full electioneering mode. Interesting that you’re thinking of moving – you’ll never know if your house will sell unless you put it out there? Good luck 🙂

  18. Best wishes on your mountain-climbing adventures. I’ll pray for your safety and stamina, dear Susan!

    • Thanks Marian for prayers – this luckily is not on a mountain … but it IS 10 km … so safety and stamina are needed 🙂

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