Waves crashing
Shandu and Dave at Beacon Isle. Photo: Oda Tungodden

I spent such a wonderful afternoon the other day with my two sons Mike and Dave on the beach here in Plettenberg Bay. Others with us were Shandu aka Black Norris, Dave’s partner in their band, The Kiffness. James, Mike’s good friend was with us, as was Oda, Mike’s young girlfriend, a Norwegian lass.

 In fact there was no beach where we sat – the tide was extraordinarily high, waves crashing over the grass and boats being unmoored. This was on Sat 2nd November, the eve of the new moon.

Some brave souls were out surfing quite far back. Mike and Dave were thinking about it, but elected not to. They went swimming though. They know about rip tides and if one gets you completely unexpectedly, one has to relax and keep the shore in view and not frantically swim against the current – one of the times when it’s not advisable to swim against the tide!

James and I were talking while keeping a weather eye out for the bathers. We talked about that moment of panic when it seems as if your life is in danger, whether by a rip tide as I’ve described above, and/or whether another person poses a threat to you. No doubt there are other examples in other areas in our lives, as in eg illness; and, as James said, when the front tyre bursts on your motor bike and your instinct is to lean forward to try and control the bike in this dire circumstance, that the better thing to do is to lean back, actually quite far back

What happens in that split second when one’s life is suddenly threatened?

It’s an interesting thought to me; James and I discussed it at some length.

Does one remember what one knows in this moment of panic and use that knowledge to avert disaster? Does that knowledge kick in somehow at the very last moment? Does one call upon the angels or some Godly personage to save us? And what if one is not saved in spite of using all available means? Can one be saved in spite of unavailability of means? Can its very unavailability be the very thing that saves us, if we are indeed saved. And if so, what is that other worldly something that came into play at just that moment when it was needed? What forces were at work that averted a certain disaster? Going with the flow and trusting the process? Surrender to the moment?

We were sharing powerful stories and anecdotes when the guys called James and me to join them on the rocks a little way away to check the waves that were crashing on the boulders below the Beacon Island Hotel.

They came up to us and said we must come and check the awesome waves crashing on the rocks, a sight to see, come, come, now…

And a sight to see it was indeed! O those huge waves huger than usual, smashing their strength onto those enormous rocks, sending magnificent sprays skywards!

O what a happy hour or so it was on those rocks with my lads and their friends all of us in our element somehow. I felt happy in a way I haven’t for a long time, a different kind of happiness. One of joy being in the moment, approaching the rocks to watch the waves and jumping away from their explosive crashes in the nick of …

Seeing, witnessing and being a part all of us having such precious fun, and being there and laughing, and I being a bit scared some times that I would get knocked over, or someone else would – and seeing the poses that we all made and taking photographs as the waves hit the boulders and seeing them all throw their arms out wide embracing the magnificence of it all,  are magical moments that will stay with me forever. The photograph above – one of many – was taken by Oda, I think on her phone. Hot chocolate afterwards on the lawns of Beacon Island watching the day turn to evening – a death to the day –

Seeing Shandu – aka Black Norris – and Dave perform the following evening on the beach on the night of Diwali and listening to Leela make a speech before they came on, in honour of Diwali and more besides … and seeing these two amazing performers in action on the stage giving it their all and more and everyone happy and bopping and dancing and moving their feet, from old to young was something for which I give profound thanks –

These days have given me an experience of living in the moment. Not planning anything, letting things happen in their own time and place. A sense of unfolding and being enfolded by the warmth of these lovely young adults, in Nature, being in the Now and enjoying life and all it has to offer.

Being with my lads over these few days has been so special. My sister has been holidaying in Wilderness for a few days an hour’s drive away, and she joined us on Sunday morning and spent the day with us and the night, so also saw Davey and Black Norris in action. My lads and sister are now all back in Cape Town …

So this is a dedication to my sons and their friends, my sister and my husband who have been touched by this special time. For me it felt as if fairy dust was in the air when we were all together. Oda and my sister gave me a foot massage on Sunday evening; I had the best sleep I’ve had in a long time, maybe ever. Though the dream I woke up with the next morning was a bit disturbing and puzzling. I am still trying to fathom it ..

No more to say for now, except to say I am sorry that my last blog was unable to take comments for a few days when it was first posted. But thank you so much to those of you who did post when it was ‘sorted’ by son Mike.

50 Comments on Living in the Now

  1. Gosh, that sea and central beach where we used to find pansy shells, and walk before breakfast. I recall the BI occasionally getting cut off, I wonder if that’s true. I also remember snow on the Outeniqua mountains and visible. Yesterday I was so homesick, these posts have made me pine! My uncle and Aunt ended in PE but my other one was an architect in ‘Salisbury’ he designed the University and I have a picture with him and the Queen Mother when she opened it… We seem to have traversed all the same beats.

    • It seems we have Philippa!

      Re Plet – we have a view of the Tsitsikama mountains from the verandah, as well as the lagoon, and the sea beyond where, when whales are in the bay, we watch with telescope. It’s very walkable to, as is Lookout Beach which was flooded a few years back; but now thankfully is getting back to ‘normal’ and has to be the best beach in the world!

      I think that IF I were to find a pansy shell on the beach now, I MAY be tempted to leave it there. They are so scarce … but I still always look for them, just like I used to!

      And of course hiking Robberg is always a treat!

  2. P.S. My black mother Milly Thoko Ndaba had a long standing relationship with the Headwaiter of the Beacon Island Hotel, and he spent most nights secreted in and leaving early. He was known as ‘the best dressed man in Plet because he inherited the suits tailored for my stepfather by Hawes and Curtis in Savile Row. He was the African equivalent of Carson, the Butler of Downton!

    • When Moses was a boy, my father had the opportunity to purchase the B.I. which he declined. Imagine if he had!

      I have diaries from so long ago describing the oysters in sacks in the cellars of B.I. which we would retrieve by torch or candlelight – o dear, I will have to look for them again!

      What a lovely story about Milly and the Carson equivalent!

  3. It is particularly lovely to join with a compatriot in celebration (and mourning) Not only a fellow who loves Plet ( it is the closest to heaven in my mind) but a Jungian who might understand my book, three reasons for recognition.Thanks for dropping in to my book site http://involution-odyssey.com/ and leaving such a lovely comment . I have answered it there too!

    • Celebration and mourning – they belong well with each other.

      Plet is indeed a place of paradise. I remember it well from so long ago – (we lived in ‘Rhodesia’ after living in P.E. where I was born) for several years and from ‘Salisbury’ we would motor down to Keurbooms. When we lived in Somerset West for a long while, we would holiday there as well. I nearly drowned off Central beach when I was about 16.
      I will look more into your book Philippa …

  4. Found you via your comment on Shane Dean’s blog about Mandela, and delighted to hear talk of Plet where I lived for awhile when at University (Witz) My mother ran the WhyNot tea room, (a shack in those days) and only my mother could have run it at a loss, more concerned to give out kianz( the bundles of batter drippings rich in Vit A from all the fried fish)not sure how it is spelled/) to the malnourished children. I wrote a blog on Mandela and you may be interested in that because it has inspired a resolve to articulate my memories of SA. That will be a change from the book featured ( though that might interest you too- not fiction but an alternative to Darwin) and you ‘Living in the Now is very much at the core of it!) You can find it all on this site http://bit.ly/Belovd

    • Philippa, so great of you to stop by thank you! You spell the abbreviation Plet correctly – one t, not 2 as so many of us do. I remember the Why Not but can’t quite place it. Those ‘shacks’ were the best places! Bless your mother for keeping the dripping for the malnourished!

      Great that the death of Mr. Mandela has spurred you on to writing about your life in SA. So many of us have a skewed idea of its history which needs to be clarified. I checked out your recent post on the death of Mr. Mandela and it was wonderful. And commented.

      Thank you again and I hope wherever you are in the world, that all is well ..I will check out yr blog again and get more info about you. Darwin’s theories are seriously skewed ..

    • I hope you get this note Phillipa.. We arrived in Plet this p.m. and shared a ride with a woman Karen who was en route to Plet too. She remembers the WhyNot very well and the woman who baked delicious bread and gave to ‘the urchins’. She said how she would eat the bread on the way home. She remembers it as quite shabby which gave it its own special charm. She fixed WhyNot more clearly in my mind re place, position and I remember it more clearly!!

      • Oh you lucky lucky thing! Green with envy. IT was very shabby, a real shack but my mother started out baking bread, and serving curry in individual cast iron pots. She used to try and cope with queues that reached the beach, because she charged almost nothing. Usually ran out or ran to the fishing boats and never asked why the fishermen were hiding the enormous cod in a sack! Never tasted fish as fresh since. Such poignant memories!¬ Thanks so much for writing this detail.

  5. This sounds like such a wonderful time. I’m not a beach fan, but the sight of the ocean leaves me in awe. I love to watch waves roll in and ponder the vast expanse of the mysterious waters.

    I feel my own life blessed in having eluded death many times so far. I thank God for the live I’ve had and pray that I’ll have many more years to enjoy. Someday I hope to be able to move closer to my daughters and grandkids so I can spend more time with them than I am able to do now.

    Tossing It Out

    • So great that you stopped by Arlee thank you and thank heavens you are still with us! Who knows for whom the bell may toll – which always makes me grateful for the days we do have. I love your description of the waves rolling in – you paint a lovely picture.

      No grandkids on my side yet – I look forward to the day! In the meantime I am great aunt to an amazing kid who is such a pleasure to observe ..

  6. Very powerful stuff. So often, we complacently go about our lives, not realizing real peril could be waiting right around the corner. I often wonder how different, and how much better, people would live if they realized how precious and precarious each moment is. Thank you for the reminder. Will be following to see what other gems you bestow on us!

    • Plus, also thank you for your very kind compliment. I appreciate this very much and am delighted to see that you are the Shane who’s acquaintance I made yesterday after reading your powerful blog.
      I am not sure when next I will post a blog. Perhaps on the weekend …

  7. What a great picture, full of life.
    I think when one’s life is threatened, everything slows down and the body/mind tries to adjust to this and deal. At least that’s how I saw life when in an accident a long time ago, slow-motion like. Living in the moment is precious and probably a bit difficult, but gratifying. Thanks for another thought-provoking post, Susan.

    • Thank you so much Sylvia! I enjoy your posts too and I sincerely hope you receive my comments. Too often I get a reply sating ‘sorry your comment could not be posted’ It happens with a few posts I especially like to receive read and comment on, and yours is one of them.
      Thank you again and I hope all is well in your neck of the woods. All is well here in Johannesburg South Africa 🙂

      • I certainly received your comments, Susan, and appreciate every one of them. I’m trying to clean up some of the graphics on my site, maybe that’s what’s causing the slowdown. All is well here, and so nice to have a chat with you — from So. Cal to Johannesburg, SA. That’s wonderful.

        • So pleased to hear that Sylvia, that they do appear – ! ‘Slowdown’ – what an interesting word! Glad all well in your neck of the woods 🙂

  8. Hi,
    It is nice to see that you were enjoying living in the now, the present moment. It is the enjoyment of these moments that heal the past and make our strides toward the future worthwhile.

    • hello Patricia! and thank you as always for your comment. I think it is not always an easy thing to do, live in the moment; but like anything of value in living, it requires some practice. I like what you say that it heals the past …

  9. Hello Sistog. Lovely piece. The pure joy of just being and living in the moment. What a good thing you decided to go with the flow and join the boys on the beach. I felt the power of the waves as I read it, and experienced the energy as I remembered in my bones the sheer exuberance of waves crashing on the rocks.
    Plett for Peace was a great experience for me on Sunday evening, and at last I was able to see The Kiffness in action. Also to be with your family was a huge treat. Thank you

  10. A nice reminder of how precious moments shared can be.
    I really enjoyed the weekend, and it was very nice to meet you! The power of the waves that day still amazes me ! Vakkert skrevet ( beautifully written)

    • Hello Oda! Thank you for commenting and the compliment in Norwegian! Thank you for the use of the photograph. Don’t forget the 7 part series of red sunglasses. The time we all spent together was so special.

  11. Your post so reminds me of the days when I lived at the California beaches… the fun swimming, body surfing, walking the beach or riding my bike. Or the summer family get-togethers… chatting, playing with the kids and grandkids. It is delightful having these memories.

    I too learned not to swim against the riptide but in the Pacific ocean to swim across it, no matter how far down the shore you ended up as it is far easier walking back than swimming against the tide. But interestingly, here in the Puget Sound, the riptides are shallow and in some cases you can swim under them… although I still wouldn’t advise it as it could be a good way to drown.

    Your post is so enjoyable as it brought up so many fun memories. Plus, I LOVED the comments of your sons and their friends. I could hear the joy. You have a remarkable family… rejoice, and thank you for a view into YOUR world.

    • Hi Gwynn, thank you so much for stopping by! So pleased it brought up memories for you.
      It’s interesting that you can go UNDER riptides in some instances…it makes me think of the value of going under, underground, underworld in a psychological sense…

      • It seems we can “go with the flow” of life, or swim against the tide, or dive into our soul and search for alternative ways to solve our problems or deal with life. All we have to do is sit back and check out the current BEFORE we dive in so we know which route to take. But, I suppose we can change our options in mid-stream if we have found ourselves “over our heads.” Life is interesting!

        • O that is so nice Gwynn thank you! Lovely way of looking at it! Yes, life is full of possibilities and potential with which to deal with whatever is happening … ‘dive into our soul’ .. how lovely is that!

          We’re back home now and I will be jumping into everything the moment I open my eyes tomorrow. I will have to remember to breath and go with the flow – and check the current beforehand …

  12. Suzy,
    You sound so happy, so content. I have no doubt that your brush with fate has a lot to do with your sharpened senses and your recognition of the moment. If only we could find a way to live with such intensity more of the time.
    Home safe. Al.

    • Thanks so much Al.. Yes I think my brush with fate may have much to do with it all! Thank you for articulating this! I would burst I am sure if life was always this intense!

  13. I like your reference to panic and leaning back as a way of leaning in and being with what is happening. Sometimes one listens to instinct by doing the opposite one thinks.

    • Thank you Susan for highlighting the value of the opposites and in this instance leaning back instead of in .. and the value of instinct as opposed to thought.

  14. Magical in every way Susan. What a wonderful experience! The now seems like the only place to be sometimes and this was without doubt one of them. Sometimes, even when I am away I escape through daydreaming and you managed to live those daydreams. 🙂

    • Thanks so much Lesley! Yes it seems living in the now is gaining currency … I can live with that I reckon. But o my goodness, my mind does jump ahead, sideways, backwards, all the time. Imagine … never ever doing that and releasing into the now!

  15. Hi Sue,
    Delightful post, so happy you had a quality break and more importantly with family and their friends.

    Yes, to go with the flow, the art on non resistance. It indeed requires trust and may I add patience, time and silence to be on that cusp of the breaking wave of possibilities.

    Resistance can be a great source of pain.

    Loved the fairy dust in the air and counter balances what was in the air on Halloween Eve.

    • Julia, how lovely thank you! The art of/on non resistance.. so true! Mike said to come with them to the beach, I resisted and said no, I’ll stick around here at the house. Neil was golfing. No, he said, come. Something clicked.. non resistance. I can’t tell you how many times I thought how easy it was not to go. I love what you say about ‘on that cusp of the breaking wave of possibilities’.
      Thank you Julia 🙂

  16. Nice post ma! Yes, was a very nice weekend, so glad to see you and dad, and Dave also there, nice family chillax.

  17. hi susan. i am a huge fan of the scott family :). you guys rock! it amazes me how children can be products of the sum energy of parents. i see how mike and dave come from you and neil in such a good way, but are such powerful individuals at the same time. so well done!

    • James, so great of you to stop by! Thank you for the kind words.. I am just plain amazed and very very grateful for Mike and Dave. Glad you think we had something to do with it!

  18. What a nice blog ma. Really enjoyed my time in Plett with you, and glad it was as special for you as it was for me.

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