December, Plettenberg Bay

I’m typing this mostly with my right hand. My left arm and wrist is in a cast, thankfully removable as in eg taking a shower. It is a clever piece of engineering, fashioned by the hand therapist at the Vincent Palotti hospital in Cape Town this past Wednesday morning. This after we’d seen a hand specialist in those rooms. All of the staff were so nice and friendly. I am sure this aids healing ~

Sunday a week back we joined Cape Town friends on a hike on Silvermine.

It was so beautiful – we started walking at 9.00 in the morning. There were times that I was a little unsteady on my feet but Neil was there to offer a helping hand over rocky terrain. Golly, it was so beautiful. The weather was perfect. We completed the hike at midday, 8.3 kms on my phone app. Amazing and wondrous, news that I knew would please my vascular surgeon who were seeing two days hence for follow up from September op in Cape Town.

We were staying in an airbnb in Constantia, a suburb of Cape Town. So comfortable, beautifully appointed, with the Alphen Trails on our doorstep and wine estates and coffee shops left right and centre.

There was beauty everywhere I looked. All was so lush and green, spots of colour here and there. Trees so large, overhanging the road on both sides on windy windy roads. Magical. Enchanted.

We visited Kirstenbosch Gardens ~ a true delight. Neil had never been before. I’ve been a few times. He was totally in awe. Indigenous. Some lovely scents –

We trekked out to Gordon’s Bay where we used to live many years ago (50, 60 years ago). My sister and I tossed our parents ashes into the sea 20 odd years ago. It’s been a tradition to walk the pier and say a prayer.

It was an eventful several days. We trekked out to Kalk Bay, especially to see Kudzi and Raite, the women who prayed so hard for me when we were in Cape Town for my vascular op in sept. So lovely to see them.

Monday a week back we trekked out to BloubergStrand, on the other side, to meet with a very dear friend who now lives in Holland. We got there early so we were walking around the shopping centre with its shops and restaurants. I tripped, fell flat forwards, and the next thing I knew, Neil and a very nice man were helping me up from the ground. Neil bought a strapping plaster and cotton wool from the store and strapped my wrist. We met with Carly, had a lovely lunch. Bloubergstrand is known internationally as a kite surfers paradise. Table Mountain is clearly visible in all her glory as is Robben Island, where Mr Nelson Mandela was held captive for 27 years.

My hand was getting progressively more painful on the drive back to Constantia. Long story short: 4 hours in the emergency clinic (the same hospital I was coming to in the morning for my post op appointment with vascular specialist) with x-rays and cat scan. A ring cutter was eventually found and used to remove my two rings, and a ‘back slab’ of plaster of paris was put on my left arm and hand. We were given the name of the orthopaedic specialist to see in next day or so. They were all so sweet, the attending staff and the Dr. in charge, Dr Bangani, a tall, large woman with twinkly eyes.

I saw my vascular surgeon the following morning, who of course was surprised! But all is well on vascular side, and can now stop one of the nightly medicines.

Neil sourced a hand specialist who we saw this past Wednesday as I wrote at the beginning of this post. We left Cape Town a day or so early and were back in Plett later on that evening.

I felt a bit bleak for a few days. Mooched. Sulked. The wind knocked out of my sails. But this didn’t last. How could it when seeing Mike and Dave blowing bubbles for Sam in the bath. I observed from the doorway. Endless fascination – Mike took the photo.

My son had told me of a writing group that meets Mondays at a restaurant from 10 to 1.00. What a pleasure. It was my first. We were 4 women. I started this blog and did some writing on my novel.

writing group

We’ve had very serious loadshedding, electricity blackouts. The CEO of Eskom resigned yesterday. The knives have been out for him. He’s had no support from his board, nor from the President when for example he was accused recently by the Minister of Energy Affairs of deliberately causing electricity breakdowns so as to sabotage Eskom and therefore South Africa and this was a treasonous act. Scapegoating, gas lighting, call it what you will. Snakes in the grass. Breath taking. Political wrangling going on at break neck speed. Unbelievable storms causing much damage across the country. Hail, flooding – and yet civil society is very active and the helpers are many –

The lights went out last evening at 10.00 as they have been doing for last long while. (Various load sheds during the day and evening every day). We were at a dinner party. Candles and lanterns were brought out. When we left a little later, the skies were so beautiful. The stars so bright, the Milky Way, Orion’s Belt, the Southern Cross bright bright and glowing. Again, I thought of how there is so much beauty everywhere. Up there down here –

And while there is so much anxiety around the world on all sorts of levels, there is still beauty. Whether it be the stars or a rock pool. A sunrise, a sunset, a smile from a stranger. A shared laugh, a shared meal. A sense that we are living in historic times (I’m sure all generations say that). A Jacaranda tree outside Plett and an amaryllis on my patio that was a complete surprise. Which reminds me how things can be dormant for so long – but its expression will ultimately find its way out. And when its a thing of beauty, the heart can only smile –

The year is drawing to an end. The Summer & Winter Solstice is nigh. For many, the birth of Christ is a celebration. The lighting of the candles of the Menorah is around the same time. I’m not sure what happens in the Muslim faith. But the birth of the new year is on the horizon and it is this that I want to say – may your new year be healthy and light-filled in all ways. And a huge thank you for your support over these years. I appreciate this more than you could know.

72 Comments on Life –

  1. Hello Susan. I hope by now your wrist is healed. My husband just had a tendon-transfer surgery on his right hand. He is right-handed, so recovery has been something of a struggle. Your photos are beautiful, such a lovely area. I must say my favorite pic is the one of the boy and the bubble. Adorable!

    • Hi Christie, thanks wrist & hand doing much better several weeks down the line. All good wishes for your husband’s recovery from tendon-transfer surgery. 10 years ago my right hand was badly damaged in a car accident but I found I could write left handed and use left hand for computer writing! The boy and the bubble is my grandson Sam! Both my sons were in the bathroom with him, blowing bubbles. My elder son took the photo of his baby nephew. I was watching from the door.
      Thanks for coming by!

  2. Hi Susan, sorry to hear about your injury. It’s been three months for me and the ankle is still sore every now and then – particularly as the physical therapy gets a bit more intense! Certainly does look like some beautiful countryside! Water color is amazing.

    • Ankle injuries and the like can take 6 months so here’s hoping that all will be resolved and you’ll be hop, skip and jumpin’ about soon!

  3. Ally Bean sent me! (returning your visit) I hope by now your wrist/hand is healed. These are gorgeous photos and such a variety of wonderful activities. You are right that even in this stressful world there is beauty to be found–in the small things, the laughter, the interactions with friends and grandsons!

  4. Great post ma – hope your arm heals soon! Silvermine looked beautiful. Lovely spending good time with you, Dad and boet and fam over hols.

  5. Oh my, Susan, I hope that’s the end of the injuries for you! And mazel tov for finding a writing group! Happy Solstice, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year to you with big love from the other side of the sun. enjoy! oxo

    • Thanks Pam! Happy Everything to you too. Yes 2023 looks decidedly more interesting in part because of the writing group. I WAS thinking of taking up surfing but perhaps not. I hope you’re all ok with the freezing weather … I know that things can be exaggerated on the news etc … but still 🙂 xx Love, from south to north, Susan

  6. Susan, so sorry to hear of the challenges you’ve been facing, but inspired by the tremendous attitude you bring to them. Wishing you continued healing and good health in the coming year. Happy Holidays.

    • Thank you Donna for your good wishes for healing. All best to you – I hope to be more active in the new year in response to your wonderful blogs. Happy Holidays to you 🙂

  7. Oh, Susan. I’m so sorry to hear about your fall and injury. I hope it heals well. I’m pleased that you’ve made good progress after your vascular surgery though, and hope that continues.
    I love your positive outlook and your ability to find beauty everywhere. I enjoyed your photos.
    I wish you and your family the joys of the season and wondrous possibilities in 2023. Take care! 💖

    • Thanks Norah for coming by! I think it’s healing well! Gotta wear the cast 24/7, removable for a half hour to take a shower or bath which makes that an extra special ritual. It’s not too bad though and I believe it’s the least bad of the fractures.
      All joyous Christmas and festive wishes to you and your family and the best 2023 yet! (If i could do a heart emoji on computer I would, but I can’t) 🙂

  8. Hi Susan – oh dear … well at least it wasn’t worse and you’re in good hands (people who’ve got two of them?!) – Neil, the hospital et al … so pleased your vascular surgeon ‘released’ you. I loved reading ‘the news’ and appreciate the information you provide us (me!) – Africa – I gather electricity is a political challenge – but we cope somehow … I just wish for peace everywhere. Have a lovely Christmas and New Year enjoying that delightful little soul and being with family and friends … and I hope the hand heals easily and quickly. With thoughts – cheers Hilary

    • It could have been worse Hilary, I got off lightly! Only another several weeks to go of wearing this cast. It’s neither madly comfortable nor madly uncomfortable. Yes having Neil around was ‘handy’ 🙂

      The ANC had their NEC (national executive committee) 5 day meeting this weekend (it ends tomorrow) where proposals for going forward were supposed to be be set. But it was also a selection of the top 6, now made to top 7. There was always a worry that the pres would not get the vote and a crook of note would win the vote from the 4400 ANC members. Thankfully the pres is still the pres going forward. News at 12 today (aday late). I was driving and wqs so anxious about the announcements (a couple of shady people were in the running – 3 women made the cut), that I exceeded the speed limit. The camera flashed …

      How was the soccer!!! Have you been absent from posting on your blog? I will check but I haven’t received anything from you at all in a while. And your weather, I hope not TOO bitterly cold.

      All best wishes Hilary for a festive and happy Christmas and a wonderful 2023. Susan

  9. Hi Susan !
    What a pleasure to read your post. I loved every image you posted, the first one melted my heart, so cute and the other pictures are so beautiful. I am so sorry to hear about the fracture, but I am glad that you are getting better with have so many wonderful people surrounding you. I am sure you will heal fast. I like the the writing group and its great to see you are travelling and enjoying the beauty of everything that surrounds you. Reading your post brought a smile on my face and am happy to connect with you Wishing you a happy Christmas and a wonderful 2023. May you be healed and blessed!

    • Lovely to see you here Genevive thank you for coming by! The writing group re-groups on 9th Jan if I remember correctly. It was such a pleasure to meet them last week. I think my hand and wrist are doing well. I am very conscious of being careful with it. It’s so nice when I take it off, if only for 10 minutes or so when having a shower. Hard to believe that Christmas is this Sunday. All warm Christmas wishes to you and family. The photos that I see of you and Dorothy, family and friends on FB always brings a smile to my face and heart. Thank you for your ongoing friendship Genevive 🙂

  10. I love the way you point out the beauty and magic in our world. It’s there if we pay attention, and don’t dwell so much on the other parts. I hope you heal quickly!

    • Thanks Beth so much! There IS much that is dire and dreadful, but beauty helps to balance it all out I suppose. Plus of course it is always uplifting and a balm for the soul. All best to you Beth, and thank you for coming by ..

  11. Thank you for another delightful post filled with pictures, your enriching travels, and unexpected adventures. I am so glad to hear your vascular problem has been resolved! You are one bold, intrepid lady! May the new year bring you and your loved ones increased love, empowerment, growth, and authenticity. Love, Jeanie

    • Thanks for coming by Jeanie and for your lovely wishes which I wish for you tenfold … All good wishes for the solstice, Christmas and 2023. Love, Susan

  12. Hi Susan, I am glad you are in such good spirits. It is bad luck to have fractured your wrist but it will heal. The power situation is a total crisis and de Ruyter’s resignation is a bad thing for us ordinary citizens. I think we’ve got worse ahead, but from a personal point of view, he’s done he right thing. He can’t possible improve the situation in the current circumstances. I suppose we can look forward to the entire grid collapsing next.

    • Hi Robbie, your rain has come down here, thanks. It’s cooling and much needed.

      This electrickery thing is such a drama. Ours is about to go off. I agree that de Ruyter had no option. I wonder what’s going to happen next. Mantashe & Ramaphosa are huge mates – I wouldn’t be surprised if the Karpower Russian ship docks in Cape Town soon. I’ve forgotten how many billions we’ll be indebted (and our children and their offspring).

      On a cheerful note: a merry Christmas to you all.

  13. Hello My Friend,
    Your last paragraph is “Hope” wrapped up in one sentence that I would like to repeat here:
    “And while there is so much anxiety around the world on all sorts of levels, there is still beauty.”
    Yes, there is still beauty and this beauty speaks out the everlasting love that never fails and presents His beauty in every variation provoking us to care.
    Have a blessed Christmas and a bright new year. It is also good to hear you’re writing a novel. Good luck with that. You will enjoy it.
    Shalom aleichem,

    • Hello Patricia, thank you for coming by 🙂
      I love your comment on my words about anxiety and beauty ”Yes, there is still beauty and this beauty speaks out the everlasting love that never fails and presents His beauty in every variation provoking us to care”. “…provoking us us to care…”. That is so lovely and pretty powerful.
      A blessed Christmas to you and 2023.
      Shalom Aleichem to you xx

  14. Susan, what a journey you have been on! Thank you for sharing this in such exquisite detail. I think of the ‘handless maiden’ story… and am reminded of a dear friend who fell last year and broke her wrist, only to have another fall several months later and break her other one! Such initiatory times… and you are living yours with such grace. Thank you for the generosity of your sharing!

    • Such a lovely comment Andrea thank you. Oh dear I feel for your friend, one wrist then the other. Reminds me of a friend who broke her ankle 4 times …

      I’m forever grateful that these two events had a positive outcome. I guess one always (secretly at least) hopes for positive outcome while knowing of the dangers of attachment to outcome. I don’t know if there’s a lesson to be learned from these two physical events (and I’m no spring chicken); but what I DO know is that I have much to be grateful for. Not least our connection Andrea … I dip into The Book of Snake from time to time …

      Also, if you scroll down and read Deborah’s comment, you will see that she added a Khalil Gibran poem. You would love it I know …

  15. dear Susan,
    all around us beauty – up and down -within and without
    good on you for seeing it feeling it acknowledging it even in the midst of pain
    what a journey – lovely to hear of you within your landscape
    may the solstice cherish and the new year continue to shower upon you with beauty around every corner.

    all the best in healing and lifes adaventures

    • Dear Sandra, how wonderful to hear from you. I know you see beauty in everything. I’m not sure I’ve seen any posts from you this year? I will check.

      I hope your grandson is well 🙂 You too and all your family.

      Blessed Solstice wishes to you and a merry Christmas and a wonderful joy-filled 2023. Thank you for your healing wishes x Susan

      • All well and thriving here – coming into our 3rd anniversary of The Fire and still much healing to go on within the forest and surrounding areas. sadly I have not been blogging this year but who knows what is around the corner
        wishing you are yours a lovely festive season

        • Glad all thriving Sandra! Plants, animals, creatures of all shapes and size surely find safe haven there by you. where I live also had dreadful fires over a huge area in 2017. The return to green was a miracle to watch.

  16. Oh Susan, I am so sorry that you broke your arm. I am glad you are recovering from the pain. Your adventure and your pictures are sooo lovely. I really enjoy seeing your part of the world. It is lovely seeing you also!

    Well the 21st, here in North America we head into Winter. I pray our winter isn’t too cold and snowy, I hope you send us some of your lovely summer weather.

    In the meantime, I wish you and your lovely family a VERY Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!! Thank you for your lovely photos, too.

    • Hi Gwynn, my arm is not broken, my hand is fractured on the top and along the side. It could have been worse, thankfully not worse and for that I am grateful 🙂

      It is boiling hot here – actually it is the humidity which makes it feel hotter. We’ve heard that serious thunderstorms are expected tomorrow. Plettenberg Bay is not ‘supposed’ to have summer rains; we have winter rains.

      Thank you for coming by dear friend – i hope you get to spend some time with your grandchildren over the festive season. Stay safe and warm and a very merry Christmas to you all!

      • Unfortunately our grandchildren live too far away, so John and I will be on our own. However, I’m betting you will have grandchildren with you. You too have a very LOVING and MERRY CHRISTMAS!! Hugs!!

    • I’m also very excited about writing group Jacqui! Thanks for your enthusiasm which I find encouraging 🙂 Thanks for coming by ..

    • Thank you Alethea so much. I thought the doc said in terms of healing that it would take 46 weeks, but he said 4 to 6 weeks. 🙂 xx

  17. Oh, I’m so so sorry that you’ve injured your hand dear Susan! What a difficult year it’s been for you on many levels … physical, political, and many more as I recall the loss of a close friend, or was it two close friends, earlier this year. How heavy your heart has been! Yet somehow through all these dark nights of the soul you have found resilience from within, bouncing back every time an obstacle places itself in your path, never discouraged, you keep moving forward … albeit slowly at times, yet, in doing so, deeply inspiring for many.

    Kahlil Gibran and his wise words about joy and sorrow come to mind as I reflect on your beautiful family, including your precious grandson, Sam, and the beauty of the country that you live in and the joy of summer with all its warmth, colour and light in contrast to the immense challenges 2022 have brought you! You’re very important to me and naturally I worry, as friends do, so hoping your left hand heals in the right way and that the New Year brings you and your writing a surge of creative power that lights up the skies!

    On Joy and Sorrow
    Then a woman said, Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow.
    And he answered:
    Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
    And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
    And how else can it be?
    The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
    Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
    And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
    When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
    When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
    Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
    But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
    Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.
    Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
    Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
    When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

    Thank you for sharing your joys and sorrow and your beautiful resilience. Sending you much love and light across the oceans between us, Deborah.

    • Dear Deborah, that’s such a lovely Khalil Gibran poem, thank you for taking the trouble to post it. I treasure it.

      Two people recently said to me, this has been an annus horribilis for you. Well, I had never thought that. Then someone on the phone said, you must have lost some confidence. Well, I had never thought that either! So, I got to reflecting about this. In part, why I had never used those frames myself. Yes, I moaned and groaned par excellence because of the terrible pain I experienced at night for several months until the time I had the vascular op in September. I remember being concerned that I was overly identified with pain. When things go well, is the dark time forgotten? I don’t think it should be. I know that I am immensely grateful that medical solutions were found for my right leg and left hand and wrist. Many lessons from this – apart from the symbolism of injury to these two limbs, I’m more convinced than ever that I have to take things as they come, accept them all, warts, illness, good health, pain, pleasure, sorrow, joy, above, below, the whole bang shoot. Each a part of the other in this huge web that is life …

      And, I had never thought about myself in terms of being resilient, but do you know what? I think I am! Thank you for saying so Deborah!

      Love to you from south to north, across mountains and seas, skies and stars … Susan

  18. I’m glad the cast is removable, I didn’t even know they did ones like that. It’s good the staff at the hospital were friendly, that makes such a difference to the whole experience, doesn’t it? I really do hope everything is healing nicely and that you’re not in any extra pain. Fab news too about the vascular side of things and you having one less medications to take.

    I thought UK politics have been scandalous but it’s nothing compared to there by the sound of it. I’d not heard about the blackouts in our media either, only from you. It’s testament to your inner strength and awesomeness how you still see the beauty and choose to focus on that despite everything else. And gosh, the photos are all gorgeous! I’m a little jealous as it’s freezing cold here at the moment, minus 6 overnight. The snow has been beautiful but my body doesn’t do well with the cold anymore!

    It’s hard to believe the year is nearly over already. I think I blinked and missed it. But you’re right – it’s nearly time for a new birthing, a fresh start, and that’s the best way to look at it.

    Sending lots of love and best wishes 💜

    Caz xx

    • Hello Caz, thanks for coming by. Just popped in on your blog and am amazed at several things. So sorry about the illness that prevented your surgery. Strange how these things happen but more importantly I hope you’re completely better and have the energy to enjoy the festive season. -6 degrees is bitter indeed. (We’re boiling here). More reason to keep warm and as healthy as possible. Your feline and those ready made cocktails will hopefully keep you in good cheer – though you seem to have cheery attitude to life!

      We watched the UK story with utter amazement –

      Thank you for your lovely healing wishes. I send the same to you. Love, Susan

  19. Dear Susan — This is so beautiful, beauty everywhere, in your surroundings and within you. Your post came, a light in the hundred or so emails I receive every day, a torch illuminating the real truth submerged among the mundane, the greedy and the dark. I am so glad I know you and that you keep in touch after all these more than 10 years — can you believe it? — since we connected on my LinkedIn writers/caregivers group. Your excursion and the photos are wonderful. Thank you for sharing these. The South African landscape resembles our American Southwest that I love so much. As for your “trip,” I am so sorry you injured your hand. I am prone to those kinds of trips — stumbling over nothing and falling flat on my face, or knees. Once, walking along a perfectly flat sidewalk, I tripped and sailed horizontally past the plate glass windows of several, it seemed, storefronts and landed on my feet. A fascinating performance for the viewers inside. In those days, about 10 years ago, my years of ballet training stabilized me. Not so, should I fall now. You are so fortunate to have Neil in your life and his medical connections and expertise. Sorry to learn about your electricity issues — reminds me of these days in Southern California, where I used to live when things were better there. Using lanterns and candles, though, and seeing the stars and constellations — a blessing in disguise. Otherwise, Sam is such a beautiful child. I delight in watching him grow. And that’s an amazingly big bubble. And you’re writing a novel! Can’t wait to read it. Be well, and fast healing on your hand. I’m sure I left something out, but this is long. Much love, Carol

    • Carol, thanks for coming by and your lovely comment. I can imagine you sailing through the ether and landing on your feet like Mary Poppins. Your ballet training surely helped. Some of those bubbles in Sam’s bath were extra big, some small. The big bubbles are not unlike the bubble in which I live which with one prick will disappear exposing all of the murkiness of life. Which sadly is a reality for the majority of South Africans. But while there is beauty around and about, that’s where my energy will go. Much Love to you Carol xx

  20. Thank you for the reminder that while winter approaches here, you are experiencing the profusion of spring in South Africa. I am sorry about your suffering with limited movement. You are a good illustration of what I do with physical and emotional pain: Find a way “out” or “through.” Thus, I enjoy these lines: “I felt a bit bleak for a few days. Mooched. Sulked. The wind knocked out of my sails. But this didn’t last. How could it when seeing Mike and Dave blowing bubbles for Sam in the bath.”

    Here’s to blowing bubbles, snapping photos of flowers, and meeting up with friends of all ages in your writing group, Susan! ((( )))

    • Thanks Marian, it’s so good when a mood lifts and I’m so thankful for those moments that take me right out of myself!

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