The equinox is a day when there is a moment of balance. The sun is directly above the equator and consequently the length of daylight and night light hours are equal. This momentary balance occurs just before the earth tilts and leans in to a different season in the northern and southern hemispheres. This year the Equinox occurs on Monday 20th March. We’ll be tilting towards Winter; in the northern hemisphere, towards Spring – always a wonderful manifestation of Hope!

I have a troubled relationship with hope. I know I’ve written about this before. I’ve questioned whether faith and hope are strongly correlated – yes they are – here in my country, South Africa, hope springs eternal, especially amongst the poorest of the poor. I quoted T.S. Eliot’s poem in that long ago blog post. Here, I’ve excerpted a portion from East Coker, the 2nd of his Quartets.

I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope. For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love, For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith. But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.

The last time I felt a pure surge of Hope was 27th April 1994 when Mr Nelson Mandela was elected president of South Africa. The long wait for the walk to freedom was worthwhile. The glow and euphoria lasted a long while and I felt the pride of patriotism. It is now thoroughly evaporated. And still we wait – for a miracle that can turn this country around and fulfil its wondrous potential? Is it at all possible? I don’t know – there is no certainty – is there ever? Except for the changing of seasons and that night follows day – and that miracles do happen –

The other day while wandering and walking and seeing spots of beauty here and there, I got to thinking about beauty and it’s link to hope because, when I see something of beauty, a pleasurable sense arises in me. And then a spark of gratitude and – is this joy? And I wonder if this is hope stirring, hope that there will always be beauty. That Mother Nature will always deliver, while knowing that her destructive side is ever present –

My eyes see the beauty of colour, the markings, the sturdy stem, the unfurling of the bloom, the pattern on the leaf, shades of green, shadows –

I hear the twittering and the chattering of the birds or a piece of music that moves me –

I touch my grandson’s angelic head –

I taste a sweet grape, and get a whiff of the fragrance of fynbos wafting by on the wisp of a breeze every now and then in certain parts of Plett and surrounds –

The moonlight, clouds, the shadows, the sea, mountains, a piece of writing, music, family, a stranger’s smile, a kindness shown, a shell, a stone, a soul connection, organisations such as the Gift of The Givers bringing aid and relief to any part of the world – even the remotest – where it is needed. Dr. Imtiaz Sooliman, the founder, is born and bred here in South Africa. His stated philosophy: ‘… the solid belief in the common humanity that unites us’. We are so pleased, proud and privileged to call him one of our own. His vision is a beacon of light – for me and many – his story is remarkable –

There is beauty everywhere. In the blessings of friendships, in real life and via stratosphere connections. The value of all these and more than I’ve mentioned. And Hope, that goodness and beauty will always prevail. A real and strong antidote to Despair, even if it continues to hover in the wings as it must, for it is the other side of Hope –

A card from halfway around the world, sent to me 6 months ago arrived just recently. I’d almost given up hope that it would arrive, our postal service being what it is. But it did! So much beauty in this card. Not just in the card but in the person who sent it to me. I wonder if I could paint it. I see the stepping stones, a bird on a branch, another on the wing, a woman in red shawl in repose, branches, dark and light, is that a sunrise or sunset with the moon fully present –

indigenous collection by CAP ‘Migration’ copyright Betty Albert

A book sent to me from half way around the world last year, also arrived 6 months later. Treasured.

Which makes me think about hope being lost and then found … maybe hope needs to be truly lost for it to be found –

Hope: the last item from Pandora’s box. From Wikipedia –Hope is the only good god remaining among mankind; the others have left and gone to Olympus. 

If she’s in the box, may she be released and if she’s already out the box may she spread far and wide … may hope prevail –

A woman from the valley of the Omo river in southern Ethiopia 600 miles near Addis Ababa. This Suri tribe ‘…use their bodies and hairstyles of flowers and leaves to express with ancestral artistic sensitivity their constant search for beauty’.
Australian artist and photographer Giovanna Aryafara

I have a neck that is causing me gyp, and my teeth as per recent x ray need specialist treatment which will be lengthy – and the big question is where will I have this treatment. Unfortunately while Plett has excellent dentists there are no specialists. We’ve been given recommendations. Port Elizabeth, 240 kms away, where I was born – maybe there I will be where my roots are – while having some root treatment and other stuff – 🙂 or Cape Town, only 550 kms away where I can get excellent no doubt costly treatment and can go to and fro from home every now and then … what’s there not to like. Overnight enroute at my sister’s in Wilderness which cuts the journey by 100 kms. Or even in Johannesburg – to make a road trip, on my own – 1228 kms away – through the Karoo – the driving not without its dangers, especially in Johannesburg where large potholes and other deceptive ones are everywhere … I would have to be extra cautious and hyper vigilant at all times and everywhere. In spite of this I’m leaning towards a road trip, tout sole through the wide open spaces of the Karoo – the stars at night – being on my own – but I have to make decisions and they have to be made soon – driving to Johannesburg may be chancing it although I would stay overnight. I remain grateful that I can afford the big costs coming up. We are not insured for dental work.

Thank you for reading. I so appreciate this. I hope this finds you all well and in good cheer, weathering the storms yet having a firm mast. May the Force be with you. Happy Weekend, Happy Equinox.

43 Comments on Equinox Hope Beauty

  1. Hi Susan – taken me forever to get here … apologies: life is life. I do hope the road trip has gone safely – took me back to my times I travelled up and down – stunning countryside – but realise the challenges that are lurking in today’s age.

    Hope – strange … but it seems to be so essential for us all now. We do need generous, kind, thoughtful and compassionate leaders … people who understand and can help all, especially those in need.

    I love that card – and would love to visit Vancouver to see their gallery. With thoughts – Hilary

    • Hi Hilary lovely to hear from you and I hope all well. And that spring is making an appearance at long last. My sister has been visiting her daughter and grandchildren in the UK and I hear of the rather gloomy weather.

      I returned on Thursday overnighting in Springfontein on the way up and Graaf Reinet on the way home. It’s so lovely to be home again. Wonderful seeing friends and mostly gorgeous weather including some scary thunderstorms – and hail the one night.

      It’s the usual, politically – no hope there although perhaps a glimmer of hope. All are fed up with ongoing electricity blackouts-a couple of blocks of 4.5 hrs on any given day, making 9 or 10 or 11 or 12 hours of no electricity. Winter is on our doorstep.

      All best wishes Hilary, Susan

      • Hi Susan – I can’t like – a WP thing … but thanks for the info. It’s still miserable here – but when the sun’s out and the wind’s not from the east it is improving – next week hopefully!

        So glad you made the trip up and down … I’m sure I stayed at a farm outside Smithfield … can’t remember their names – but they had a B&B and gave Sheep and Lamb tours of how the farm worked. (I think!) … I suppose I’ve been to Springfontein – probably through it. I did go to The Owl House at New Bethesda – and loved reading Athol Fugard’s 1984 play about it … which I found recently. I love Graaf Reinet – beautiful part of the world.

        I’m so glad we don’t have electricity blackouts – it is so sad … the world is challenging in so many situations now.

        I’m looking forward to Spring and some warmth! Life ticks along here – cheers Hilary

        • Life ticks along, with all its ups and downs!

          You’ve got the coronation very soon – amazing that we can be witness to this. Scones, cream and strawberry jam – Pimms maybe, will be the fare while watching.

          Hope your weather’s warming up Hilary. Be well. Best, Susan

  2. A very thought-provoking post, Susan. I think that the more we look for and find beauty, the more we appreciate it in even the smallest of things. And so the more it’s appreciated by others, the more those others will try to protect that beauty…and hopefully, in doing so, save this planet from the destruction humanity is wreaking on it. Underneath all of this is our hope and, of course, beauty.
    Have a safe journey.

    • Thanks so much for coming by Lin. I agree – we find beauty in the smallest of things and hopefully, more aware and active in protecting what we have.

      Thank you for your good wishes. Going through the Karoo en route to the highveld is an adventure in beauty – those wide open skies and bright stars at night.

  3. Hi Susan, I am happy that you finally received the card in the mail. Possibly a ripple effect when one soul touches another soul. And, also the butterfly effect. 🦋 Everyone makes a difference. You make a difference.

    Your entire heartfelt post is filled with beauty and hope despite many sad and serious concerns. Yes “momentary balance” and yes, “miracles do happen.” You remind me how getting out in nature, spending time with the people you love, noticing the big and the little, the humanity….Yes, “there is beauty everywhere.”

    Your little grandson is growing so fast. How cute! I still recall the baby pictures.

    Darn about your teeth and possibly root stuff and other treatment. Specialists are great and have a great deal of experience and expertise in the teeth department. Still a challenge, and I will be thinking about you and sending healing vibes.

    Thank you, for being you, Susan. A beautiful post! 💕

    • Hi Erica, so lovely to get your response thank you! I resonate with the idea of a ripple effect, or the butterfly effect when one soul touches another. It also makes me aware of what it means when something is lost but then found – and not just gifts in the post. Hope maybe can be re-found ..

      I’m still filly faddling (or dilly dallying) about my Johannesburg trip. Things are in place, overnight stay in the Karoo booked, place to stay in Johannesburg etc. I’m awaiting to hear from my prosthodontist to advise whether he’s the best person to see. Extensive treatment required and there’s a thought that maybe I should be seeing a maxillo facial specialist. I would phone the rooms today – he’s been sent my xrays from local dentist to have a look at. I’ll phone him tomorrow, but today is a public holiday and people may well have taken yesterday off as well to make a long weekend of it. My appt with him is next week Wednesday. Time enough to cancel everything. I’ll phone his rooms tomorrow and hear what he advises.

      It is a glorious day today, warm and sunny and from my study the sea, lagoon and mountains in full view. I’ll get out into nature later this afternoon when it’s cooled down.

      Sending love and appreciation of all who you are Erica. Susan

  4. Nice images. It may have already been the equinox where you are. It will be here tomorrow. Some good thoughts about hope. Seeing springtime here gives me some uplift. Nature does not give up. The trees still blossom and bear fruit, birds are busy nest building, the geese and butterflies are migrating,we are getting more rain to reverse the drought. Dental work is not fun but necessary. I don’t like having to make a long drive to get care. But turning it into a vacation sounds like a good idea.

    • Today, 20th, is the equinox. Glad signs of Spring are appearing Deborah. And, I am encouraged that you say that while dental work is not fun it is necessary and I do indeed intend to see my Johannesburg friends! So thanks for that and for coming by 😄

  5. I also have this love/hate relationship with hope, Susan. When hope leaves, though, I think it’s game over so even when disillusioned by her, I know she sits still in the corner, waiting for me to turn my attention back to her. Hoping that the coming year brings the elevated thinking our world so desperately needs. Good luck with your upcoming meanderings. oxoxo

    • O what a lovely thought that she waits in the shadows – maybe hoping to be reclaimed? Thanks Pam so much for coming by. This time next week I’ll probably be overnighting in the Karoo if that is in fact the plan I enact. So thank you for meandering good wishes 😄xx

  6. Susan, your posts, especially at the change of seasons, always remind me that you are experiencing a tilt toward winter as we in the northern hemisphere anticipate spring. Of course there is beauty in land, sea, and sky in every season–if we look for it.

    Your grandson is adorable and will continue to inspire hope in his adoring parents and grandparents. Also, I hope for a clear path for help with your dental work. My mouth has almost as many replacement teeth as the ones I was born with. Ha!

    Thank you for the hopeful tone here, which reminds me of the oft-quoted lines from Emily Dickinson: “Hope is a thing with feathers / That perches in the soul.”

    • I love the Emily Dickinson quote Marian thank you!

      Sometimes beauty is to be found without really looking for it but I suppose one’s eyes must be open to see. I said in an earlier response about how blessed I feel for having writer friends albeit in the stratosphere and this includes you 🙂

      (I don’t think you had any teeth when you were born, but I had to smile at your comment re teeth.) Thank you for your good wishes re a clear path for mine.

  7. Another upbeat look at life, despite your teeth difficulties. I like the hopefulness implicit in all seasonal shifts, but this year I feel more drawn to feeling good about life. Is it an age thing or a cosmic shift, I dunno. I’ll just go with it.

    • Thanks for coming by Ally Bean. Words that come to mind apropos your saying ‘I’ll just go with it’ – take it as it comes – when a friend wrote to me 22 years ago or so, when everything was topsy turvy. (Just prior to hiking Mt Kilimanjaro) My whole attitude changed on hearing those words, I felt a weight lifting from my shoulders and all fell into place. Take it as it comes –

    • Thank you very much Skip. You give me hope in the work that you do, so thank you.

  8. Hi Susan, I am glad you can have the dental work you need and a little surprised you are not medically insured for dentistry. Mind you, my parents are only on a hospital plan so I have to pay for all my dad’s visits to the cardiologists, doctor and blood tests. Same for my mom. It can add up to a lot. I would not drive on my own to Joburg, but I don’t like driving. Joburg is a horrible place at the moment with the load shedding. The driving is so awful I am thinking we need to leave because it is so dangerous now. I am a little over South Africa and all its corruption and mismanagement.

    • Hi Robbie thanks for coming by. We also have a hospital plan. So I’ll pay big bucks to have my teeth fixed. It’s ok, I have the loot.
      I love driving – and on my own – though I’m slightly anxious about the lack of law and order on our roads, potholes everywhere, everything crumbling, people driving as if possessed. Are you really thinking of upsticks and leaving?

      • I would like to get Michael through high school, he is grade 11, and Greg to finish his degree, he is second year. Greg could do honors anywhere if he continues with the marks he currently has. My family is here and so is hubby’s AND I love animals and out wildlife so it is hard. BUT I don’t think my sons will go without me and I don’t want them being prejudiced in the workplace and not achieving as a result.

        • It’s a very tough situation for all and especially for families with
          children who have their futures ahead of them. I feel for you Robbie – we can only hope that the rotten ANC gets well and truly knocked off their perch next year.

      • PS I don’t mind driving – I don’t like driving here. There don’t seem to be any rules any more and it is becoming very dangerous. Accidents every day …

        • Yes that’s what worries me if I make the Jhbg trip on my own in my car – 🙁

  9. Dear Susan,

    What an achingly beautiful and tender read that was! Thank you my dear friend. I feel deeply moved by the longing and prayers and beauty you’ve so thoughtfully planted for your friends and readers alike to discover here in these days of equal light and dark. Thankfully, in mid-life I slowly turned to following the seasons and in doing so find I’ve become a little softer, a little kinder and hopefully a little wiser. What a beautiful quote you’ve chosen to share, one that encourages us to not give up waiting or hoping or praying.

    You remind me to hold gratitude and space for friends, family, neighbours and soul companions, whether we find that hope and beauty in a flower a book or a stranger’s smile. Thank you for being a lamp on the path and reminding us all to be thankful. This poem keeps shouting at me, it’s one of my favourites and one that my mother read to me as a girl many times. It opens the eyes of my heart just as your beautiful, tender words have done today. Ostara blessings to you! Love and light, Deborah, your poet friend.

    If You Stand Very Still

    If you stand very still in the heart of a wood
    you will hear many wonderful things –
    the snap of a twig, the wind in the trees,
    and the whirr of invisible wings.

    If you stand very still in the turmoil of life
    and wait for the voice from within –
    you’ll be led down the quiet ways of wisdom and peace
    in a mad world of chaos and din.

    If you stand very still and you hold to your faith
    you will get all the help that you ask.
    You will draw from the silence the things you need
    – hope and courage, and strength for your task.

    by Patience Strong

    • Such a generous and touching response Deborah thank you very much indeed.

      And I know of Patience Strong. Isn’t hers a lovely name? Thank you for bringing us her ‘If you stand very still’- it is quite lovely.

      And your writing, Jeanie’s, Elaine’s, so wise, profound and beautiful. I am truly blessed. And Marion, Erica, Janet, Silvia, writers all – I feel blessed a million times.

      Blessings and love from the south, over the seas and mountains and lands – susan

      • Oh, I love her name too! Patience and strength, much needed in one’s life. In pure synchronicity, she only lived five miles away from where I live. And yes, what joy it is to be blessed with yours, Jeanie’s and Elaine’s love, friendship and wisdom and all the wonderful books penned between us. I’m so proud and pleased to be able to say that I have them all and very much looking forward to any new book in the works.

  10. Happy weekend and Equinox to you too, Susan. Thank you for the beautiful post, and sorry about the health issues. May they resolve soon. Wishing you the very best.

    • Thanks so much Silvia for your good wishes for my health! Once it’s all sorted I’ll be as fresh as a spring chicken! Happy weekend and equinox!

  11. So much to think about here, Susan. Thank you. I am enjoying the light of spring now. Spring always seems like a hopeful time to me as the earth is renewed. But it is also a time of war and death. I feel like we’re living in 1939 now.

    Good luck with your dental work. That is sad that you have to make those decisions, but ever sadder that not everyone would be in the position to be able to have the treatment at all.

    • Yes there are shades of brown shirts about, everywhere. We have to be vigilant and not get sucked in to whatever is going on. It’s strange that beauty resides alongside that which is raw and brutal. But thank G.d beauty is all about. Your blog posts Merril and photographs are testament to that. I feel refreshed and softer after reading anything by you.

      Believe me, I am grateful that I can afford to have expensive dental work. I feel for those who do not have dental insurance or the means to pay.

  12. As I was preparing a slideshow for our final Evolutionary Activism webinar, a collection of images depicting each woman’s ‘inner garden’, your newsletter arrived in my inbox. I took a break from organizing the slides and read this… and as I started reading Eliot’s magnificent words, a shiver of resonance began snaking up my body… up my left leg, around my back, flooding me with a visceral, tingling agreement. Hope, so intimately married to Beauty… Hope in the face of tremendous obstacles… Pandora’s last ‘revelation’… I do not have profound words, Susan, just deep resonance with all that you have shared at this pivotal ‘tipping-point’ time. (And I am touched that you would share ‘Snake’ as well! Thank you for that. The book I sent to a poet in India last fall has still not arrived… I continue to hope!)

    • It is a tipping time isn’t it Andrea – I hadn’t thought of the equinox like that – I’d thought more of tilting. I’m so
      pleased (more than you could know) that you found resonance in my post and your reaction to it was visceral especially to TS Eliot’s prose. They get me in the gut too.
      I dip into Snake from time to time. It is beautifully profound. I am truly blessed in the wonderful writer friends I have.

  13. Keep looking for the beauty in the world as that is our connection to Hope! Plus, your family and friends provide the support for the love and hope you are looking for in this world. I LOVED your message. Also, take GOOD care of yourself!! Hugs!

    • Thanks Gwynn. Hopefully you get the love and support in the beauty of your family and friends, your surrounding beauty where you live – hugs to you too!

    • Thank you Jacqui for coming by. Much appreciated by me as are your good wishes, which I send to you too.

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