Happy Solstice Day to all in the northern and summer hemispheres. Longest night, shortest day for the southern hemisphere; longest day shortest night in the northern hemisphere. A moment of balance. I acknowledged this, this morning, when I took a tube of paint and covered a blank canvas that’s been staring at me a long time in my study. I’ll continue with it during the week –

A friend sent me this today.

Solstice June 2003

And yes we climbed it. My husband came along, a few others as well. Susan (from the US), Vonn and I ventured into the Amazon while the others returned home. (We had to be rescued by helicopter because of the flooding.) We must have done this in 2004.

Vonn/Voon was here in Plett for several days at the end of May. She’d been attending the BirdLife Africa conference in Wilderness. She was made the chairperson, a worthy achievement. While she was here I took her to The Birds of Eden, a half-hour outside Plett. The largest of its kind in the world. It really is a lovely place. The day was overcast so colours were not truly seen in all their glory. An upside down bat, a parrot –

and a black swan – which reminds me of Black Swan referring to events that turn the world upside down –

Towards the end of March, I drove on my own to Johannesburg and overnighted in the Karoo. People were a bit horrified that I was doing this on my own. Fly, rent a car, it’s too dangerous etc etc etc. But, part of me wanted ‘own time’ and I didn’t want to hire a car. The stars at night and the cosmos when I stopped the car closer to Johannesburg were some of my pleasures.

Prior Grange: Springfontein Karoo
Cosmos: they always make me smile

Johannesburg was lovely. I stayed with my friends Linda & Ron in the most comfortable and private suite imaginable. We had lovely chats, delicious food. She’s something of a connoisseur and whipped up treats in a flash in her very fancy kitchen. The photo below shows the entrance to my suite.

my private patio had hundreds of succulents –

I saw a few friends for coffee or lunch, one on one. A few gatherings of girlfriends.

A beautiful day on Easter Sunday with my friend Susan at the Emmarentia Gardens – a picnic. I saw my 2 dental specialists which was the main purpose of my trip – but because it’s quite extensive treatment, it makes more sense that I have it done closer to home, which is Port Elizabeth.

We travelled to PE a few weekends back to see the first dental specialist and stopped in at the address where I had spent the first 6 years of my life. Obviously greatly changed, and my home is no longer there though the address is.

We motored on to the Addo Elephant Park for 2 nights. O it was bliss. I’ve chosen this photo because of the starkness of its white tusk –

It’s bitterly cold here in Plettenberg Bay. We’ve had lots of rain. There’s been flooding all over the place, especially in the Western Cape. Politically? Up the shute and down the drain –

Thank you for reading. I hope this finds you all well and in good cheer. May the Force be with you.

this morning’s sunrise on the Solstice

49 Comments on Solstice

  1. Hi Susan, As you know, I have been off the grid and I want to catch up with your news. June 21 is pivotal and symbolic on our planet. Wow, about the 2003 memory. ‘Rescued by helicopter’…what an adventure…yet, stressful. I get it on the “own time.”

    It is fascinating to learn from you, Susan, about your part of our planet. I hope the flooding has settled down. I greatly enjoy the photos. Your word “bliss” speaks volumes. xo 💕 🦋 Erica

    • So lovely to hear from you Erica, thank you. A friend in Johannesburg says that almond blossom is around which is always (for her) a sure sign of Spring. For SA the first day of spring is officially 1st Sept. We can but hope! We pruned the garden and plants mid-July which is supposed to give them a jolt so that everything blossoms from Spring onwards.

      The flooding has settled thankfully. All sorts of other dramas are playing out on the political field as they are just about everywhere in the world. I hope the Canadian fires are soon a thing of the past.

      Love, Susan xx

  2. Hi Susan – well done for making the Jhb trip – and interesting to see the name of the farm you stopped at near Springfontein, I can’t remember the one I stayed in … but I took an elderly friend back when she visited. That’s good the teeth will be fixed in PE, rather than Jhb – good luck.

    It’s boiling hot here – sorry! Actually cooler today – storm clouds gathering – just in time for Eastbourne tennis week! Do you know what that cactus/ succulent is called – it’s delightful.

    Some friends are just back from the Okavango, Vic Falls (and my grandfather’s bridge) and the Western Cape with some mutual friends who live in Jhb – I’ll be caching up with them in a few weeks.

    Gosh time does fly … to put it mildly – I can’t believe how quickly it rushes past. It sounds like you had a lovely time meeting up with friends and family before returning home. Lovely to catch the news here … life is not easy anywhere at the moment – where we’re heading is anyone’s guess – I just hope we all stay safe. With thoughts … and so pleased to see the brief note re tiny Sam – he’s a delight … cheers and love Hilary xoxo

    • Hi Hilary, good to see you here and hear some of your news! I know that Ascot has been (and gone?), you’ve had Glastonbury and Glyndebourne – and now Eastbourne.

      We’ve been watching the tennis at Queens; I thought this was the lead up to Wimbledon which is always an exciting time on the calendar. They said about the heat in London and the humidity.

      I’ll ask my friend Linda if she knows what the name of that beautiful cactus is called – she doesn’t know that I put up this blog. Do tell more of your Grandfather’s bridge at Vic Falls. My father was involved in the building of Kariba Dam, along with the English and Italians .. engineers of all stripes. You’ll be hearing more from your friends of life in SA when they return. It’s hard to know what to say about SA – Mike my elder son returned today to Plett from a trip to France. His photos show a pretty carefree life – he arrived in Annecey just a few days after that horrible stabbing. He was right there … we just never know.

      Yes life is just rushing by – it’s almost July. Is life speeding up? It seems like it. I don’t think it’s just we older people who sense this, many do. Maybe it’s the sense of rushing headlong into – who knows what as you say (paraphrasing).

      Meanwhile, take good care of yourself dear Hilary. Love, Susan

      • Thanks Susan … I can’t like on some WP blogs – given up on what I can or cannot do!! I will reply in a day or two with more details re the Bridge etc … Queen’s is the mens’ tournament pre Wimbledon, Eastbourne was the women’s … but we have both down here now – which leads to a scramble to get tickets. I haven’t gone for a few years …Interesting about Mike – and Annecey … glad he’s safe – and is back with tales to tell – cheers and love Hilary

  3. Hi Susan, I don’t think my previous comment posted. I also love cosmos and birds enthrall me. I enjoyed the bird sanctuary in Plett very much last year when we visited it. I hope your weather improves.

    • I’ve checked for an ‘un-posted’ from you Robbie, but no sign so extra thanks for stopping by. A sunny but bitterly cold day today – hope it’s all good in Johannesburg. Those beautiful blue skies –

  4. I’m so pleased to see you here writing in blogland again. I was thinking about you yesterday in fact. I associate you with changes in seasons. It looks like you’ve been keeping yourself busy. I like that you did something on your own, that kind of devil-may-care attitude is what keeps us young, I believe. Happy Winter.

    • So lovely to see you here Ally Bean, thank you for coming by. I haven’t seen any ‘The Spectacled Bean’ around in a long while? I reckon there was a bit of a devil may care attitude in me – my sons were very concerned, my husband thought I was foolish etc😃happy summer to you –

      • Oh I’m still writing my blog, weekly more or less. I haven’t seen anything from you in months, though. WP can be unreliable about how it lets us know someone has posted.

        • Am trying to (re?)subscribe. From the looks of I received your last post in February this year.

          • Thanks for trying to subscribe. I appreciate it. I’ve written quite a few posts since Feb. I don’t know why WP sometimes works beautifully– and other times is a big ole pain in the patootie. Just to keep life interesting, I suppose.

            • Am on my computer instead of phpne upstairs in my study. I’m glad I’ve re-subscribed. I will have to put aside an inordinate amount of time, pleasurable it be, to go back – and check you out. It looks like I’ve missed chunks. Not nice – nice though that I have some light and amusing reading ahead. I’ve always enjoyed your blog Ally Bean – the comments too, and yours back to them. A little bit of – everything – and I like that you’re very real. Have a lovely weekend. A bright and sunny one in the south, a chill in the air but warmer than the last several very chilling days. And on whether WP does strange things sometimes, it’s nice that this ‘mystery’ has been solved. yes, it keeps life interesting I guess.

  5. Happy Solstice, Susan! Thanks for sharing your world in words and photos.
    We had a rather cool and rainy summer solstice–unusual weather for us in June.

  6. Hi, Susan – Macchu Pichu has been high on my husband’s and my travel list for quite some time. What a wonderful adventure that must have been. Wishing you a special and meaningful Summer Soltice!

    • I heard that they are limiting the number of visitors Donna so check that out. It was a wonderful trip. Icy cold, the hugest boulders to clamber over, Devil’s Pass to traverse – but o! The joy of turning the corner and seeing the city in its glory!

    • Son Mike is in France right now basking in sublime weather. Thanks for stopping by Susan.

    • Thank heavens for quieter times ahead! Though will be going through to Port Elizabeth earlyish July. 240 km away. Thanks for stopping by Marian.

  7. Wonderful Images, Susan. Sunrises and sunsets are always lovely over water. I wish you will on your dental procedures. Been there and done that a time or two over the years. Not a fun time.
    I should post some photos of our flora soon. Quite the opposite your country’s weather. It’s 88 degrees Farenheit here today.

    • Thanks John for coming by. I could do a calculation on 88 degrees to convert to Fahrenheit but I estimate it’s around 28 to 30 degrees F. Hot enough for me. Temperatures can reach 40 F here in SA. I’ve yet to experience that. Keep cool! All best, susan

      • Thanks, Susan. June is our hottest month in New Mexico; thankfully, the humidity is nil (20% right now) but that also coincides with wildfire risk. Arizona has the deserts; we have trees, shrubs and a variety of other plants–along with cacti.

        • I’m wishing you no fires John. June 2017 there were dreadful fires here and surrounds. Our humidity reaches 90% some days in summer. My cacti at home are showing very pretty flowers right now.

  8. Such beautiful pics as always, gosh I remember when you went on that trip and ascended the mountain, you never stop ….. and I love that about you. Miss you my friend. Hope we can have a cuppaccino or a wyntjie when you are in Jozi again. Freezing in Joburg too. Love and miss you xxx

    • Hi Les- next time Jozi and coffee for sure! Do you remember Mt Kilimanjaro or the Machu Picchu climbs, or even the Amalfi coast hikes? Have done a few local ones – last year the Wellington Wine Walk. You would love that! Ya I hear the big freeze is on in Jozi: who was I talking with about this just recently? The cold that gets into your bones up on the highveld, and it’s a dry cold; and a different kind of cold down in the south, a damp cold. Either way: keep warm!

  9. I LOVE your photos, and I’m always amazed that as our summer starts, your winter starts. Take care and enjoy your beautiful scenery!

    • Thanks Gwynn. Winter has still to really bite – I guess for you likewise re summer. I hope this finds you well. Hugs from me to you.

  10. Happy Solstice, Susan. Reading this and your Equinox post (which I just caught up on), I see so much beauty in nature surrounding you and within your life. I enjoy reading about your adventures and thoughts — I agree with T.S. Elliot on hope — and love the photos of your beautiful grandson. Such a joy he is. Don’t envy you the dental work, though — I, too, need extensive dental work; and although I have dental insurance, its coverage is a mere pittance of what the dentist’s fees will be, sigh, so I’ve been putting it off. Wishing you well with that and continuous joy in the beauty that surrounds you. Light and love, Carol

    • Thanks for coming by Samantha! Sam is such a joy. I would’ve loved to have added a photo or 3 of this beautiful boy.

      I have no dental insurance. My sister eg does and while it’s a very good medical aid, she too has to co-pay big time. I’ll have to sell my house I reckon to pay for what’s coming up. Or eat bread, drink water for ever –

      But otherwise all is well and I hope for you too. Love, Susan

  11. Hello sis. Nice blog. What a pretty entrance to your suite in Johannesburg. The Amazon….. I didn’t know you had to be rescued by helicopter because of flooding. What great adventures you’ve had. The season is turning, and I’m looking forward to seeing us through to the end of winter. It’s been very wet and cold. Sending all the best of loving wishes. Sis

    • So lovely to ‘see’ you here Sis thanks for coming by. As you can imagine I could’ve said much more about much more, but I would’ve still been typing. Goodness me, it’s cold! Wouldn’t be surprised to see snow on the Tsitsikama mountains in the next day or so. Loving wishes to you dear Sis! Keep warm!

  12. What a wonderful adventure Macchu Pichu must have been – and it sounds like you’ve been very busy with your travels this year. The image of the night sky in Prior Grange looks magical – that in itself must have been a wonderful experience although I must admit I’d hesitate to do the same alone! Your solstice sunrise is stunning – even better that it heralded some creative inspiration. Solstice blessings to you!

    • It has been a busy time Lin. A quieter time up ahead which as it should be as we go deep into our winter. Prior Grange is where I/we always stay when we make the road trip up to Johannesburg. It’s a working farm – I picked apples last time and took them up with me. The night skies are always beautiful. The Milky Way has to be seen to be believed. And the occasional shooting star.

      It was wonderful to greet the sunrise this morning. I did not think of it heralding creative inspiration, but now that you say, I give thanks for that. Solstice blessings to you too. And thank you for coming by. I hope too that you’re managing to get your website up and running.

  13. Dear Susan,

    Solstices, whether summer or winter, are magickal times! And I’m loving them more this year than ever before since I’ve started writing my new ‘Poetry of the Wheel’ series, where today I’ve reached the halfway point.

    It’s so wonderful to catch up on all your news, trips and gatherings. I have a huge passion for succulents so must tell you that my eyes nearly popped out of my head in admiration of the one you’ve photographed and shared here.

    If Truth be told, I find the shortest day the most sacred one in the whole year, I think it’s to do with having a birthday late in the year, it just feels so special. Sending you love, warmth and light across the oceans between us, Deborah.

    Happy Litha and Solstice Blessings,


    • Thanks so much Deborah for your lovely reply. Yes I agree the winter solstice has something very special about it. A time of going below for us, harvesting. My cacti are doing well at hone, it’s lovely to see the pretty flowers on them. The one I photographed on my large patio at Linda’s home was startlingly beautiful. I watched it shrivel up ‘seemingly’ die during my long stay, yet felt that it would bloom again, next year.

      Your last writings on Litha were lovely Deborah and how poignant that it bubbled up just a few days ago in celebration. We’ve got a fire going downstairs and a gas heater so two fires.

      Thank you for your lovely wishes, the warmth especially 🙂 Love, Susan

  14. Ah, the day my Mother-in-Law and I always dread, because it means winter is coming our way! Enjoy the coming of summer once more in the eternal round of life!

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