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


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.





40 Comments on Heat Rainbow Blue

  1. An especially beautiful, poetic piece, Susan. I’m sorry for the loss of your friend, and for the drought in SA. Hope the rains come to you soon.

    If you’re ever in Canada, you’re always welcome at my table. If it’s not Thanksgiving, we’ll have our own. I make a mean cranberry sauce.

    • Thanks Holli for coming by! We’ve had amazing rains the last 2 nights! Everything looks dazzling bright and green! That dry yellow patch in the garden is as if it never was!

      Thank you for the invitation to join you at your table. You know that you’re always welcome at mine. And we have many ghosts around SA! I’m sure they love cranberry sauce – we’ll make them an offering 🙂

  2. My dear Susan — the profundity of your writing never ceases to amaze me. The rain has not stopped much here these last days and the racism — now against migrants looking for a better life — continues at an alarming pace as well. There is no question that the color of your skin determines upon what rung you will be placed when you begin life’s ascent. Like winning the lottery, but where does that leave the rest. Hanna was a wise woman. I refuse to be overcome by evil.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and insights with the rest of the world, Susan. oxo

    • Pam, your comment is lovely thank you! The racism here continues unabated but we’re calling it out and taking legal action. The vitriol is breathtaking.

      I was at a lunch today in Pretoria a good 3/4 hrs away from where I live for a visiting Jungian Swiss analyst, such a lovely man, all of 87 years. We were outside on the patio among the lovely trees and bush, the skies were cloudy affording some relief from the heat, and it started raining. Pshaw, we thought, we know this kind of rain – a few drops. But then it really started pelting down and we had to make a mad dash for the inside. So lovely and refreshing. But too much and endless is another story. May you have just enough! xox

  3. Susan, I’m late at this, our family Thanksgiving has passed. After a difficult beginning (my daughter not feeling well), it turned lovely. And I am choosing to focus on the positive, look for all positive signs, and calmly walk past the rest. it’s working, so far!

    • Good that your attitude is positive Beth! I hope your daughter is feeling well again – I know her health has always been of grave concern. I saw some of your photos on FB of your Thanksgiving and it looked mighty fine!

  4. What a beautiful, profound post, Susan–the rainbow with no rain, the message found from a dead woman. . .I’m sorry about the death of your friend. There are so many horrible things going on in the world right now–I do feel fortunate to be able to have a feast with family and friends. I hope you get rain soon.

    • Thank you for your lovely comment Merril. Yes those were the strange and meaningful things. Thank you for your sympathy re Hannah. A great lady laid to rest.

      Rumblings are about as I write and a a little bit of rain. I’m hoping …

      Yes, fortunate indeed to share Thanksgiving with family and friends! I’m looking forward to your musing posts 🙂

  5. I agree that these times are forcing our worst base instincts out into the light. Will we survive it? I just don’t know. My friend since our first Jung classes together in 1970 lives in CA now and wrote. “Paradise burned down. We don’t need any more symbolism than that.”

    It’s embarrassing to be a citizen of the United States with a mad man in the White House. Most people I know, including me, are bewildered, but we fought hard for the midterm elections and made a dent in the defensive wall around the White House. We shall see.

    What am amazing note you found, Susan. How wonderful to get that message after your friend’s death. A gift and remembrance.

    I did something different for Thanksgiving this year and went with my younger son who now lives near me to one of his friend’s homes. They cooked!! All the traditional foods of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, and stuffing. Since I don’t eat birds or mammals, I took stuffed shells with tomato sauce from last summer’s garden. That’s always a hit. I ate pie–pumpkin and peach. Here it is wildly cold. It wasn’t this cold all last winter and it’s only November here. It was 2 degrees Farenheit on my front porch last night (-17 Celcius). I won’t complain. I have a stack of dried firewood for the woodstove and no danger of forest fire here because we had flooding rains this past summer. Be well. May our countries find a way back to the heart.

    • Thanks Elaine. I keep on thinking of that note that I haven’t moved since I came across it the other day. Every time I open that cupboard in my study there it is.

      Your Thanksgiving sounds lovely. Fires and food – fires for wood stoves that warm the home that is. Your cold does sound extreme. I loved reading in your FB posts about striding out in snow boots on your farm. Meanwhile we’re roasting here. Prediction of rain for today and tomorrow. Maybe if I wash my dusty car it’ll bring on the rain. Or water the garden though that I would do only in the late afternoon.

      Glad that dents are being made around the man whose name I will not say. It is altogether extraordinary. We had jacob zuma – it took forever to get him out. On 14th Feb he finally resigned. Best Valentine’s gift – ever!

      Be well and here’s hoping that T won’t be around for too much longer …

  6. What a beautiful, positive, heart-felt post, out of the blue, Susan. I do hope you get some rain soon. The jacaranda’s blooms fall all too soon, don’t they? I always think of you and our discussions when I see them now.
    May good prevail! I totally agree.
    Best wishes with all you do.

    • Thanks Norah for coming by! Do your blooms also have a short life? They seemed shorter this year but while they lasted they were so beautifully blue.

      Best wishes to you Norah as well as to your exemplary work in education. I wanted to FB your website but wasn’t able to?

      • Actually, I just checked … it didn’t come up on my usual timeline but I noted just now that it is on my author page which I’ve just tried to share to timeline but ‘there is a problem – try again later’ ..I’ll keep you posted 🙂

        • Thank you for your kindnesses, Susan. I very much appreciate your positive words and attempt to share readilearn on FB.
          I haven’t yet got a FB like button on my home page – am working on it. Blog posts and individual teaching resources have buttons for sharing on FB and Twitter.
          This is the link to my readilearn FB page: https://www.facebook.com/readilearnteachingresources/

          I love the Jacarandas, as you know. Their blooms never last as long as I’d like them to – they are but fleeting joys wrapped in blue; and I agree, I don’t think they lasted as long this year.
          Best wishes,

          • It seems to be working Norah … I’ll check on it again. I shared from my author page yesterday I think on which readilearn (with the link you’ve also now provided) came up and it seems that it’s already been liked by a few … 🙂

            Another sweltering day here – rain is forecast. I wonder …

            • Thank you for your persistence, Susan. Appreciated.
              I hope you got some rain. We got a couple of showers but not more than a few spots in them, and nothing to cool us down, but we’re not quite to sweltering yet, fortunately. Keep cool!

  7. Yes, the lotus arises from the mud. With the limitations of our human minds we fail to comprehend how good can come from evil, but it does . . . repeatedly. The message of Romans 12:21 is still true.

    I join with you this season in prayers (and gifts of help) for those suffering from the effects of drought, fire, and wars. You have a generous and caring heart; it always shows on your postings here, Susan!

    • Thanks Marian for coming by! I read your post earlier this day – and was intrigued that it was repost of your 2013 Thanksgiving post! Timeless … I’m about to pop over to it. So, have a wonderful day and a blessed Thanksgiving to you and family.

  8. Suzee – lovely post as always. The song ‘somewhere over the rainbow, way up high…skies are blue…..’ You remind us to appreciate the beauty of the world around us even when the world seems in such turmoil.

    • Thank you dear Didee 🙂 Yes, A lovely song – I just looked it up, sung by Judy Garland in the Wizard of Oz … 1939 .. I’ve excerpted a few lines

      The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
      And also on the faces of people passing by
      I see friends shaking hands saying
      How do you do?
      They’re really saying I, I love you

    • 🙂 All these treasures I’m finding in the tidy up – including a very old dream of yours. You will be amazed when I give it to you.

  9. Hi Susan, Greetings from the northeast U.S. I really enjoyed this post. As a newcomer to your blog, I don’t know all your references, but your words show how people have the same emotions, no matter what part of the world they live in.

    • Thanks so much for coming by Book Club Mom. I agree, there are thoughts, feelings attitudes, emotions which are pretty universal irrespective of historical background. Much of it may be conditioning which is not necessarily a good thing?

      I popped over to your post and will check it out further – it looks interesting. Happy Thanksgiving! I’m down south in South Africa .. 2000mtrs asl hence the highveld ..

  10. I agree, Susan, “Good will prevail,” in the end. But I fear we have quite a road to traverse, as your essay suggests, between here and there.
    Thank you for these thoughts!

    • Thanks Stephen for coming by. Yes a long road to go still … (i’ve just found you in my spam folder, hence taking so long to reply – apologies)

  11. You are always full of optimism and hope, Susan. A lovely post. Thank you for sharing and introducing a rainbow into all our lives. We had really good rain yesterday and today. Long may it last.

    • Thanks Robbie for coming by. I veer between optimism and pessimism. Yes the rain yesterday was lovely – there was such a crack of lightning that I jumped out of my chair. And hail! The grass is already a little greener.

      I’m about to edit my own post which I started writing yesterday and forgot to change the details in the beginning of it – ie I saw the rainbow in the blue sky on Sunday 🙂

  12. Dear Susan, Even now as we approach the last, autumnal/spring days of November, it feels like 2018 will be going down worldwide, in personal and shared memories as a ‘Giant’ year for many. For the opposites, above and below, seem to be going all-out in demanding more balance!

    Here in the UK we’ve also had a heat wave. Gawd, it was sweltering for weeks! The world’s weather (and Mother Nature) feels in turmoil, as you say, with her droughts, hurricanes and fires of epic proportions. The loss of life for humans and animals alike has been catastrophic! Makes me weep to read the news and remember many heart-breaking days this year, so far.

    And then out of the blue, literally out of nowhere in the middle of a storm (however defined), a rainbow, a bridge to Heaven appears and nudges us to look up … to leave our earthly worries, our ego concerns and reconnect in an instant with our spiritual natures. What a hopeful message Hannah has gifted you with the discovery of the paper. Thank you so much for sharing this ray of hope, this soul-shine with us! Love and light, Deborah.

    • Thanks Deborah – and of course I was thinking of Brexit and the turmoil that this is causing. World wide – I wonder if our parents and grandparents had this sense of calamity? Well, yes of course they did – WW1 & WW2 and all the horrors of that. As well as the cold war – East and west this north and south that … divisions whichever way we and they looked.

      I agree Nature also seems in turmoil. Today thankfully is cooler! I remember some years ago seeing people in T-shirts and shorts in the UK over Christmas!!!

      Thank you for saying how the rainbow nudges us to look up … which also reminds me of the rainbow after all the storms in Genesis I think and then the rainbow, a covenant from G.d that never again will such destruction happen … I hope the universe hasn’t forgotten that promise .. (mind you, we as humans need to keep our side of the ‘bargain’) ..

      Warm blessings to you Deborah .. Susan

  13. This is such a beautiful post — and especially relevant during our North American time of Thanksgiving. Sending warm thoughts to Hannah’s family. I would also love to send you rain (we have plenty to spare this time of year on Vancouver Island).

    • Thanks Donna, I’m sending your message to the ether to Hannah’s family as I write. It’s time for me to do a rain dance I think … for here and there 🙂

    • Thanks Susan – the reminder of both good and evil being extremes is a particularly important reminder. The greater the good the greater the evil … The rainbow is always such a thing of beauty, after the most thunderous storm… or, in this /my experience, no storm at all ..

  14. Wonderful post. There is so much change, drama, and outright evil going on right now. I guess some call some of it progress. Hmm… I really don’t like change.

    • The times they are a changing for sure! The pace is frenetic and frantic and hard to keep up with – do we need to keep up with all of it is a question I ask myself sometimes Jacqui .. thank you for coming by.

  15. This is an excellent post, Susan. Beauty does arrive out of the mud, and we have to work at planting the seeds of good so they will grow and make the world beautiful again.

    The devastation from the fires in California is heart-wrenching. Malibu and Paradise were beautiful areas, now so many homes and lives have been lost. A rainfall would be a blessing, yet if it were to rain too hard in the Malibu area then there would be horrid mud slides. This is a time when we have to come together as a community to help one another. Some areas grow so fast that people avoid meeting their neighbors to sustain their privacy… especially in California. This may be a time for us to learn and grow to come together, and be Thankful for one another and the small blessings that we have. This is our opportunity to “overcome evil with good.”

    I will salute you and your family on Thanksgiving Day, for all the good you do for our world.

    • Thanks Gwynn for coming by. The communities in the US never fail to amaze me with how they pull together when there is disaster. We do likewise here – yet it is true that we also live apart from community in our desire for privacy.

      May we always be thankful for our blessings no matter how small. Thank you for your Thanksgiving wish. I salute you Gwynn. We all do our small things – which mean so much.

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