I took this photo late afternoon today at my son’s home here in Plettenberg Bay. Friends here in South Africa have been sending messages as I have to them to celebrate the first official day of Spring! Up north Johannesburg way, they started the day off beautifully – warm and sunny. Here down south and across various parts of South Africa, it’s been cold!

I found a packet of seeds yesterday that a friend had given to me when last I was in Johannesburg. As always I admired her beautiful garden and asked about a bushy and beautiful plant among a setting in her garden. She said it was a flower called ‘Cleome’ and we harvested some seeds which she put into an envelope with instructions – plant in spring, sunny, a little shade is alright. Below is a photo I took that day, end March early April.

So, I sowed them today, first day of Spring! I don’t know how they’ll fare down south in our particular climate and soil. We’ll see!

I also planted some aloe cuttings today that I’d taken from my sister’s home in Cape Town. I was there recently. I wish I’d taken photos of my aloe garden garden today. It’s looking so fulsome. But here’s a fairly recent one. Just a small portion of it. I see I took it on 21st June … the solstice – not so recent after all!

The drive from Plettenberg Bay to Cape Town was lovely – I set off Monday two weeks back. The canola fields were out in their full glory. Photos below were taken on the way back, this one last week Wednesday when I stopped the car to get out.

canola fields

I had a lovely time in Cape Town, saw a few friends but it was mostly low-key. My sister’s husband was away for the time I was there.

The one day we drove out to Gordon’s Bay where we used to live as teenagers. We walked the naval base pier to the end as we used to do as youngsters. Our parents’ ashes were tossed into the sea so many years ago and we walked it yet again and said a greeting and a prayer of thanks to them. We walked along the road past our house to the nunnery at the end – a cul-de-sac. Sat on a bench, walked on the beach, Bikini Beach, picked up a stone or two. We drove into Somerset West where we also lived and checked out our townhouse from the outside and then drove up the mountain to try to find our parents’ home. We thought we’d never find it but we did. Picked up a little bit of trash that was lying around. Photographed a pretty bush on the sidewalk. We shared memories … my sister’s memory is far better than mine … she always fills in the gaps.

bush opposite parents’ home
my sister, Gordon’s Bay
me on bench Bikini Beach with pier in background
Pier alongside yacht club and naval base

On the drive back last week I stopped in at a place for coffee where I’d had a breakfast before with my husband some few years ago. I’d done about 2 hours driving. Such a pretty place – those mountains! Here’s a photo of those mountains!

Nuys Valley Farm Stall

I sent a birthday greeting this morning to a dear friend in Johannesburg. Also saying Happy Spring Day! She responded by saying ‘I feel that something changes on Spring Day and will embrace it’. For me, that’s a lovely message – ‘something changes’ –

I sent my daughter-in-law a Happy Spring Day message. Including in it ‘a pinch and a punch for the first of the month’ – I don’t know where that saying comes from. She said ‘a first kick boom pow from the boy for the first of the month’ – and that baby had ‘started kicking with some incredibly powerful kicks a few minutes ago!’ So, even Emilio the embryo is responding to Spring Day ..

All is well here – the wheels of justice are turning slowly, but turning they certainly are. As another Johannesburg friend said today in a Spring Day message, ‘Lovely weather for Spring Day. When the sun and blossoms come out it is so wonderful and that even makes the ANC (our governing party) void look bearable’.

Thank you for reading. I hope this finds you all well in these troubling times. Be safe. Embrace change.

This is a photo from my garden of our townhouse in Johannesburg. A night light made all those pretty circles of light radiating out. I must get one for Plettenberg Bay – In darkness, be light

62 Comments on Spring Day the first of September

    • Yes, your season is very special too Marian .. I think of Autumn as very special, a time for much – inner and outer. A friend once told me when I was sweeping the patio in our old home in Johannesburg, that there is something very special about sweeping. It can be looked at metaphorically and symbolically …

      Thank you for your lovely compliment ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. I always enjoy your posts, Susan. They remind me of the beauty around us, and not to be terribly distracted by the rest. I recently learned that Australia celebrated the first day of Spring on Sept. 1st, not the 21st, and you too? Is that typical of those in the southern hemisphere?

    I need to get out more!

    • Listening to the radio on the 1 st September I heard a listener complain of spring day being celebrated on 1st September instead of 21st here in Southern hemisphere.. Spring equinox.

    • I don’t know if it’s typical Jacqui – maybe I got it wrong for all i know ๐Ÿ™‚ I do know that typically public swimming pools open on 1st Sept (tho of course they haven’t for the last 2 Septembers), and judging by the general tone of excitement by the arrival of 1st September, I’d say it’s worthy of celebration! Sept 21st is the Spring equinox, noteworthy in itself.

      • I bet you’re right. Just differences. It’s like in the US, everyone decides if they will go with Daylight Savings Time. It makes it crazy sometimes to figure out what time it is!

  2. A beautiful post and gorgeous images. And a grandbaby coming!! Let me tell you what I tell every grandparent-to-be: “Grandchildren are the love affair of old age!” It’s true. I could never have imagined the upsurge of joy, hope and love when each of my five were born and the ongoing pleasure they’ve given me all these years. Our fourth turned sweet 16 today! Her father took her to get her driver’s license and then she dropped him off and drove solo for the first time ever go visit her horse. I remember witnessing the miracle of her birth as if it was yesterday. She’s been such a gift to me, as are they all. Wishing the same for you. xo

    • Ha ha! Grandchildren are the love affair of old-age! That’s so lovely Jeanie thank you. Happy birthday to your granddaughter, sweet 16 ๐Ÿ™‚ I remember my parents with my two boys when they were small, each relating to them in their unique ways. My firstborn Mike who was crawling around their home and checking out plugs on the wall, my mother horrified, my father patiently explaining to Mike about electricity and plugs and what electricity does and son Mike listening wide-eyed and transfixed, taking it all in and learning … even though so small. My mother saying, ‘Jimmy, You can’t expect him to understand all that’. I said. ‘Leave them be’ – the old and the young, relating … a gift and a lesson for me as an observer.

  3. Such a gentle and reassuring message, Susan. Thank you. Spring, blooming flowers, fields of yellow! Deep connection with your sister and those beautiful mountains and the water. You look radiant. Cleome are beautiful, delicate, and happy in my garden, but not a perennial here. They’re worth planting every spring and I always order seed or buy new plants. They’re flowering now–until frost. Thank you for reminding me to embrace change. There’s bitterness and cruelty released in this country and it breaks my heart. I’m fortunate to live in NY State where it’s not as severe as other parts of the country.

    September began cold here and the whole country feels cold in spirit and unable to love. The shadow has been released. I hope Pandora can get it back in the box. Love to you as I do my best to relax into what I can’t control and embrace life as it is.

    • Thanks Elaine for coming by! I haven’t used all the Cleome seeds and am waiting to hear back from my friend Annie about whether some can be planted in terracotta pots. Annie harvested the seeds while I was there – shaking them out and putting in an envelope for me. Instructions to pull bushes out when ‘over’ .. glad that they’re doing well in your garden, maybe try harvesting some seeds? Like you do for milkweed?

      I also think Pandora’s Box has been let loose upon the world … what was the only thing left after all the ills of the world took their course – and continue? (She was to blame of course, like Eve). The only thing left was Hope – and let’s hope that the shadow can be fully acknowledged and recognised for what it is .. and if this miracle happens, then I would say that Hope is worthy of its name ..

      As you say, things feel ‘… cold in spirit and unable to love’. Love us the operational word .. so, I’m sending you my love and my frail hope that all this, somehow, has been worth it.

  4. Hi Susan – loved this as it took me down many rabbit holes of memories, ancient and modern (well not so modern now … the thoughts are today, but the knowledge is of ‘a while ago’!) … lovely photos with accompanying notation memories.

    I tried growing cleome in Jhb – not very successfully … but c’est la vie! Delighted to read about Emilio the Embryo – fun to think of the future … I too wish them lots of happiness and joy; it’ll be wonderful if they can get down to live near you … good luck with the house-hunting for them.

    Life here is just a muddle and tends to negatively absorb us all – I only wish for peace for all … and preferably a 50% fair share of the world. We are beginning to branch out with our programmes for various organisations … that will make a big change – some people understandably aren’t ready … hopefully the rates will go down … we’ll see. we’ve had a very gloomy (grey and overcast) few weeks … and some sun would be nice!

    I’m fine and ticking along happily – would prefer we were going into Spring like you … but so be it – cheers and enjoy yours … Hilary

    • Thanks for coming by Hilary. It did me good to get away. My sister and husband are moving from Cape Town to Wilderness this month – they’ve had a home in Wilderness for many years now. So, one of the reasons for visiting was to say goodbye to her old home. And to see her of course and a few friends. Rather nice to think my sister will be an hour and a half away and not seven hours away!

      I’m hoping that Dave & Jรผte come and do some house-hunting soon. The prices are skyrocketing, people from abroad and Africa (also Johannesburg) are buying buying as if there’s no tomorrow, along the Garden Route. Pricing locals out of the market. And with the festive season around the corner when people fall in love with the beauty, they BUY. Dave & Jรผte plan to have their baby in Johannesburg expected mid-January, but methinks they must come look sooner rather than later. We saw a lovely house on their behalf yesterday – also Jรผte’s parents came to view – but there were a few things not quite right.

      Things ARE gloomy aren’t they. Hopefully the plans for programmes for various organisations take root and give you a positive sense of purpose.

      Have a lovely weekend Hilary. Susan

      • Hi Susan – re houses … same here – people with a lot of money, or money from London/Jhb can easily buy and do – taking homes away from local others … so I hope they can get their foot in the door, without faffing too much! That’s great your sister and her hubbie are moving much closer – yes that will be wonderful … but am glad you had those few days in the Cape area before they move.

        I meant to say I’ve The Weight of a Feather here waiting to read, along with the summary by the author – to help with the understanding: I gather!

        Some sun at last … you too have a happy weekend … Tuesday was Saturday for me! But I do know that tomorrow is the start of the weekend! Cheers Hilary

        • The Weight of a Feather? That sounds intriguing! Iโ€™m intrigued by a book called The Weight of Ink. Not read by me, have heard about it. Thanks for your lovely reply Hilary. Today IS Friday isnโ€™t it?

  5. Hi, Susan – You made me curious…so down the (Google) Rabbit Hole I went. Here’s what I found:
    “A pinch and a punch” is thought to date back to old England times regarding the existence of witches. The ‘pinch’ refers to the pinching of the salt – as it was believed to weaken the witches when thrown at them. The ‘punch’ was to banish the witch completely.
    Happy Spring and super exciting about Emilio kicking!

    • I also went down the rabbit hole a bit Donna – the saying to be followed by ‘a flick and a kick for being so quick’ ๐Ÿ™‚ and to ensure no pinch punch back, ‘white rabbits, no return’ ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for your offerings too. Makes me remember that when salt is spilled, the old custom is of pinching a bit of it and throwing over your left shoulder … Have a lovely weekend!

  6. Lovely story, Susan. I do enjoy these stories of your travels and adventures. Love the pics — your scenery is so beautiful — deep blue skies and puffy white clouds. Today, after the storm remnants of Hurricane Ida passed, we’ve finally experienced our first day — and it’ll be back to heat and humidity soon, for a few weeks, I’m sure — of crisp, fall, Sept. weather — our deep blue sky and puffy white cloud season. Such a pretty picture of you, too. –Carol

    • I thought of you Carol and Ida passing through. My goodness, and NY and NJ – let alone New Orleans and all …may order follow chaos. Thank you for coming by – and now it’s the weekend! Have a good one dear friend!

  7. What a delightful ‘tour’ of your garden and surrounding landscape, Susan. As I appreciate our tilt here into autumn, it is lovely to have a description of the complementary burst into spring. I’d like to send you a complementary copy of my recently published book, The Book of Snake, as I think you’d appreciate its themes of exploration in the imaginal realm with Snake as my guide for 60 shamanic meditations in 2015. If you send me your mailing address, I will ship you a copy of the book.

    • That is such a generous offer re your book Andrea thank you. Over the years we’ve had correspondences and I’ve always been thoroughly charmed with your writings with such depth and understanding. I know that you too love Nature and have a deep appreciation for The Snake. I remember a post of yours when you received your own copy and how you enjoyed the wonderful silky feel of it. I remember also the wonderful review of it and the foreword by Elinor Dickson. See how some things stay in my memory? May I write you separately re shipping address.

      Enjoy tour tilt into Autumn! Thank you for coming by ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Hi,
    First, let me say congratulations! You are going to be a grandmother and I think that is peachy wonderful!
    I didn’t know that September 1, is the first day of Spring in your lovely country. Then, Happy Spring Day. Spring is for me always the time of new beginnings. Events start popping up that have been planted deep in the ground. Situations start unfolding and a new day begins and starts to grow.
    I too wish you Happy Spring Day and pray that your days ahead reveal themselves as days of joy and change that brings you success.
    Take care.
    Shalom aleichem

    • Thank you so much Patricia. You’ve hit the nail on the head re new beginnings from what has been deeply planted and has taken root.

      And as you tilt towards Autumn, may there be more deep planting in all ways. Your recent wonderful success with your writing group shows how perseverance in your craft brings its rewards. I have your recent publication on my Kindle which I look forward to reading.

      Shalom Aleichem to you! Susan

  9. Dearest Suzee, How special to spend time with Deborah J, and revisit some of the places so dear to you both. Thank you for sharing your’s and friends’ thoughts on Spring Day. Loved the reference to Emilio.
    Special hugs and love

    • Dearest Didee, Debora and my trip to see you and Rob in Wellington was a definite highlight. Sis thought so too. Your home in those gorgeuus mountains, the fire roaring that day as it got very wet and cold. The lovely lunch! I was going to write about the simple and delicious pudding but I had to stop somewhere! Golly, we go back a long way … Centrepoint in late 80’s was my first meeting with you … love to you dear friend.

  10. How wonderful and full of light your update is Susan, here at the start of your spring and for us in the northern hemisphere, our autumn. May your seeds scatter, germinate and flourish beneath the bounty and beauty of Mama Gaia. As I followed the trail of your beautiful, blossoming words and images, I found myself driving past and walking through the most glorious fields of bright flowers, stepping into gardens of delicate splendour and then at the end of memory lane, with two soul sisters, I stood before a wide open sparkling sea. Glorious!

    Thank you for sharing your recent journeying with us. Loving the photos, all of them and how wonderful your silvery hair looks! It radiates just like this post. Oh, and I love that you included Emilioโ€™s response to the old saying, pinch, punch and all that! Sending you much love and light across the oceans between us, Deborah.

    • Thank you Deborah for your beautiful poetic response. For a moment I thought I was wandering and walking & driving through YOUR particular landscape so evocatively did you describe it!

      I think that these were the first real kicks felt by Jรผte. She’s a delicate creature, but strong too. I’m hoping that they will visit Plett soon – they’re looking for a possible home here to bring up their first child. Jรผte grew up here and has happy memories of her childhood (one of the very few I believe who make that statement). So we’re house hunting for them at the moment! The move if it happens won’t be any time soon … they want the baby born in Johannesburg and under the care of her gynae.

      May your Autumn be blessed. It’s a lovely time of year with the leaves of trees changing providing a different colourful visage. A time to lie low, for further germination while things lie fallow, deep beneath –

      Love, light and laughter to you dear Deborah!

  11. So happy to read your post Susan; I loved every picture you posted, Glad to hear that you sowed the seeds on the first day of spring, I enjoyed reading the response of your daughter in law – Emilio kicking…:) embryo responding ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for sharing colorful positive post.

    • Thanks Genevive for coming by. Yes, I felt positive (for the first time in a while) and I wanted to record and share it. There’s so much that is good and beautiful in the world.

  12. Hi Susan, it’s so nice to get an update from you. Happy first day of spring. We are looking forward to cooler days, it has been a very hot summer. I’m glad you got to enjoy some time with your sister, walking through your old neighborhoods.Those cleome flowers are super interesting and I love the color. I hope they come up nicely!

    • Thanks Barbara for coming by. I did a bit of research on Cleome when I found the envelope the seeds were in … it seems as if it has medicinal properties too. But I’ll do a proper research later – it does look ‘super interesting’. Enjoy the cooler weather, I’m sure it will be a big relief.

      • Yes – we just had horrendous rain and flash flooding, the result of Hurricane Ida. It caught us all off-guard. Thankfully I got home from work without a problem, but many were stranded in their cars overnight. Today is a beautiful day and not hot!

          • I know – so do I. We’re not used to paying attention to flash flood warnings, but I will certainly take them seriously now. Hope you’re enjoying your weekend ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Iโ€™m getting ready to welcome autumn and all that means (clean new notebooks, crisp new plans). I will harvest a sh-load of tomatoes and basil too. Love your flowers!

    • Thanks Jan – are you Jan from a long time ago? I remember your lovely posts. I wish I could access them if you’re still posting? How lovely to welcome Autumn with all things new! Good luck with the basil and tomatoes. My basil is so rewarding, my tomatoes get eaten by squigly wiglys. The spinach yields are rich, I think I’m turning into Pop Eye. Please let me know if there is a mail list I can subscribe to. Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. I loved your spring post as you share the southern hemisphere with us in Australia and the seasons also. As we are in lockdown we have become more attuned to the signs of the seasons. Limited to our Local Government Area we are still able to access beach, lake and bush. We can exercise outdoors all day and so have been walking the Botanic Gardens, cycling and kayaking. We just canโ€™t visit our grandchildren except on the iPad. We have had glorious weather for the first week of spring but rain and a cold change will be coming this weekend. So weโ€™ll be out making the most of it until then.

    • Thanks for coming by Linda and glad that you’re responding as a southern hemisphere gal! Restrictions are still in place here in South Africa but we can also walk the beach and do various outdoor activities. Glad you’ve had a good introduction to Spring. It’s a capricious time I’ve found, warm one day, freezing cold the next. Now, there’s concern that a 4th wave may land on our doorstep and concern that that may mean heavy lockdowns, no beach, no travel, no nothing! I hope it doesn’t come to that. The tourist industry has been badly hit, restaurants etc. Enjoy your weather while it lasts!

  15. Enjoy welcoming Spring while I’m ECSTATIC about welcoming Autumn. Summer has been terribly HOT here. I’m looking forward to some nice COOL weather. Your pictures are beautiful – ENJOY!!!

    • Autumn/Fall will be a welcome relief for you Gwynn. I’ve been following the news about the extreme heat in all parts of the world, including yours – and the accompanying wildfires, smoke. Although wildfires don’t distinguish between winter and summer – we have them often though not on the scale the US has been having. Thank you for coming by ๐Ÿ™‚

      • So. Africa is VERY LUCKY to not have to deal with the amount of wildfires the U.S. is dealing with, especially poor California. At this rate we won’t have to worry about going to HELL one day, as we ALREADY are there!!! ๐Ÿ™

        • I’m sure it feels like hell Gwynn… we can survive these hellish periods of time, as our ancestors have and those before them. Believe me, the politics of my country can at times feel like the deepest darkest spots of hell ..

  16. Beautiful heading Spring photo, Susan, while we are experiencing a crisp beautiful Fall day. Do the seasons get recognized more in your part of the planet, or is this primarily, you, Susan, aware of your surroundings? We have many canola fields in our Prairies. Always a highlight.
    You describe well your visit with your Sister to your home area where you lived as youngsters. I feel as if I am there with you. Nice photos of the two of you.
    As I read further, I answer my own question “…something changes on Spring Day…” Exciting news about baby, Emilio kicking. Also a sign of growth, renewal, hope for our future (love the video!) Wise words, Susan, “embrace change.”xx

    • Thanks so much for coming by Erica! From photos I’ve seen of the Fall in the northern hemisphere, makes me aware of how much beauty there is in each season. And the idea of Fall, with a lying low, germinating, preparation for the next season, for humans as well as seeds. I don’t know whether I am particularly aware of the changing seasons, but I like to acknowledge them, shortest/longest day and night, equal day and night in both hemispheres. Maybe that’s why I find time going by so fast!

      It’s warmer here today, no socks for the first time in a long while. Will this be my first experience of ’embracing change’? ๐Ÿ™‚ xx

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