Tomorrow the 1st of September is the official day of Spring! It certainly looks like it here up on the highveld in South Africa. Jasmine is showing her jewels everywhere and her scent is sublime. Yesterday Today & Tomorrow (brunfelsia – I had to look it up; aka Oxford & Cambridge) is beginning to bloom, its fragrance  and colour a delight and the clivias are gorgeous. I took the above photo yesterday morning of a strelitzia, also known as ‘bird of paradise’ and indigenous to South Africa. The top right hand corner probably had my thumb over my phone – but somehow that doesn’t matter. You can see another bloom about to burst behind the glowing flower. 

My garden is showing winter snow drops. It’s always a lovely surprise to see them pop up. They’re so pretty and delicate. My orchids continue to bloom in their pots on the patio; they’re a real wonder to me. My rose bushes are sprouting, as are my bougainvilleas in their large pots, their green leaves shooting. My azaleas – today I saw tiny buds! The jacaranda trees don’t seem to know what to do – they’re half in process of shedding many leaves and looking bare while others look as if they’re about to bloom. A friend of mine in Durban, Kwa Zulu Natal says they’re showing in all their purple-mauvey-bluey glory.

I had my first walk in ages this late afternoon. I broke my two middle toes several weeks ago when I banged them against the dressing table as I was rushing to find my shoes to attend an evening meeting. I had my injured toes strapped together for a few weeks. I didn’t think it worth an x-ray. They were either broken or badly sprained. They were sore, bruised and plumped up like pork sausages. So, I haven’t walked for a long while, though I’ve been attending yoga and pilates since the beginning of this month, doing what I can. No rising up or bending down on tippy toes – all quite flat footed thank you.

For the last two mornings I’ve arrived at school earlier than usual where I volunteer to help poor readers. Instead of checking for emails and reading the news on my phone in the car before fetching the first pupil from class, I decided to walk briskly around the soccer field in the bright still early-ish morning. I was so pleased – my toes seemed to manage. This gave me the impetus to walk this evening. It was so lovely – and, since my elder son is up here in Johannesburg for a few days from Plettenberg Bay, he and my husband also came for a walk! Joy indeed! And most unusual!

While we welcome the arrival of Spring here in the southern hemisphere (although it’s been known to snow in October), those of you in northern climes have your Fall approaching. Always, the change of seasons brings about inner changes. May these in-between times bring good constructive changes and may peace, goodwill, justice and freedom prevail.

“When you’re young you prefer the vulgar months, the fullness of the seasons. As you grow older you learn to like the in-between times, the months that can’t make up their minds. Perhaps it’s a way of admitting that things can’t ever bear the same certainty again.”
Julian Barnes, Flaubert’s Parrot

48 Comments on Spring

  1. Susan, that’s a brilliant click- loved the picture of the jasmine, so very bright and beautiful. So sorry to hear about your toes, but I loved your spirit that does not give up easily, despite that you preferred to walk, you inspire me susan and I enjoyed reading the way you take care of the plants and its so motivating to read and I am now wanting to bring a few plants and watch them grow:) you are always so generous in sharing your life’s happening, thank you !!

    • Genevieve thank you so much! YOU inspire me – 🙂 There is something about watching the first buds, one day barely there, the next day peeking through. My toes are much much better thank you – I hope to do much walking down at the sea, on the beach, we leave tomorrow for several days. Hope you’re having a good and restful weekend. xx

  2. Spring is a great season. It’s always nice to see the beautiful flowers. I’m glad to hear you were able to take a walk. It’s no fun having broken toes. I suggest laying off soccer for a while yet, though.

  3. One more comment worth adding is that a person is able to compartmentalize, or multi-task where or when the mood-ball bounces.

    Amidst the month of August 2016, for example, I have found several precious time-slots where I could lie comfortably and detach myself from all-else, while listening to a piano concerto by Tchaikovsky that I had heard some years before, discovering something new and overwhelming me. Or, immerses myself in recalling sunlit afternoons at a pond where I took photo-shots of my very small children discovering ducks and a goose meandering leisurely in the water.

  4. I now had a first chance to closely read comments and responses, above. I’d like to add that YIN and YANG bounce us back to all the sparkling experiences with weather, flowers, etc.,, however ,under special and trying circumstances, these events seem temporarily eclipsed.

    • You’re right, all the lovely things do take a back seat when health seems particularly trying. I hope these issues are passed now Joseph or in process of being resolved and that you can enjoy all the lovely things that life has to offer. All best wishes to you and Anita ..

  5. I can respond to only 2 of the several topics of this post, that well-deserve commenting upon.

    Much more than we realize, SENSITIVITY and ATTENTION to outer life, as is miraculously mirrored in inner life, bring great rewards!

    I cite Julian Barner, “When you’re young you prefer the vulgar months, the fullness of the seasons. As you grow older you learn to live the in-between times, …” Thank you, Susan, for bringing these thoughts to us!

    Most of us hardly grasp the penetrating effects of advancing age. It is the hard-rock specifics that need to be talked about. For example, In the ONE MONTH of August 2016, SEVEN FULL DAYS of normal living were lost while going to medical visits for me and with Anita, my wife. And all the additional links to getting pills from the pharmacy, and paying for each invoice arriving in the mails!

    The YIN and YANG is that it is many times POSSIBLE to bounce up once more in MIND and in MOOD, and also to enjoy the wonderful world of people and the other pleasures awaiting us!

    • Hello Joseph, I’m really sorry to hear of what sounds like worrying health issues. I hope they’ve been sorted out for you and Anita? And that you’re both feeling much much better … You’re right about the hard-rock specifics of advancing age. Thank you for being so clear about this.

  6. Lovely post, Susan. Over here a bird of paradise is an exotic, very expensive flower. I can’t imagine what it’s like to have them in the garden–so pretty! In your photo they’re much more vibrant than they are at a florist’s.

    We’re still in late summer, but there’s signs fall is on the way…a colder breeze, yellow leaves on the ground. I’m not ready.

    • Thanks for coming by J.H.! Confession – the photo is not from my garden, it’s from a neighbour’s … but they are all around others’ gardens and in parks and they truly are magnificent. Striking, glamorous, defiant even in a away …

      Methinks I spoke too soon – the last few days have been cooler – and in spite of water shortages and not being able to water my plants and flowers, they continue to sprout!

      Have a lovely weekend!

  7. Happy spring to you, Susan! Your garden sounds magnificent. The bird of paradise is such a beautiful flower. I was interested to hear of your jacarandas blooming. Ours don’t bloom until later in the year – November, I think. I love the jacarandas. They’re a great import from over your way.
    I appreciate the quote you included at the conclusion of your post. I do like the in-between months. I hadn’t thought about them as indicative of uncertainty. Interesting thought.
    Ouch! I can just imagine how much banging those toes must have hurt. I guess you didn’t make it to the meeting. You are very brave to have hobbled around with them taped up. I guess there’s not much else to do. I’m pleased you are finding walking more comfortable now, and what a great way to start accompanied by your husband a son.
    I wish you joy as your recover full mobility in your beautiful springtime.

    • Happy Spring to you too Norah down south! I must check but it’s possible that we imported the jacaranda from Australia – I remember hearing this some time ago and your saying about SA exporting to Australia now makes me wonder! Ours bloom in October – such a sight to see.

      Of course I dashed off to my meeting those many Monday evenings ago … but they’re almost fine now, thank you. Still looking a little plump and swollen 🙂

      Thank you for your good wishes! Have a lovely weekend.

  8. Hi Susan – I love the Strelitzia – the SA name … one I remember … but particularly Y, T and T – so gorgeous with that wonderful scent … and then the jacaranda – that hazy blue flooding Pretoria.

    Sorry about your toes – my little one disappears sometimes … but is still with me, after all those years! But how very painful – I’m glad it’s getting better … and that your walk was so companionable.

    I love Spring … plant-life is a-blooming … now we are still in the throes of a very hot few weeks down here – I think it’s on its way out … which is not something I’m looking forward to …

    Cheers and enjoy the lightening days and greening up – Hilary

    • Lovely to hear from you Hilary thank you. I can’t wait to see my amaryllis plants – the buds grow stronger every day! And I can’t wait to see my azaleas! We have 2 YTT in our garden – looking a little tired whereas elsewhere in our townhouse complex they are simply gorgeous! The jacarandas ‘should’ bloom in October –

      Thanks for your sympathy re: my toes. Can I get some more sympathy for my very sore left shoulder please? I think I’ll have to get medical advice on this. Left toes, left shoulder – something rather sinister about this. Sinister being Latin for left ..

      Enjoy the summer days, and may your winter not be too severe. I remember some years back in the UK when in December people were wearing T-shirts it was so hot – I saw this on TV.

      This morning – and evening – was cooler than the last several days.Cheers to you and I hope this finds you well 🙂


  9. We have Bird of Paradise plants growing all around our community. It’s a popular flowering plant out here in Los Angeles. We don’t have much differentiation between the seasons where I am other than the nuances in temperature that come seasonally. I’m looking forward to some cooling off in the upcoming weeks. I hope.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    • Thanks Arlee for coming by. Interesting about the profusion of Bird of Paradise in LA and surrounds. Here’s to a cooling down for you in due course – such a relief after punishing heat.

  10. Thank you Susan, for your reminder to cherish Nature’s beauty in each of her phases. It’s so easy to forget that we, too, are Nature and that we can not only enjoy, but learn from what She shows us: in budding birds of paradise as well as falling leaves, snow and even storms! Yesterday the tropical storm currently crossing Florida gave a healthy boost to our water table here in Central Florida; it’s doing the same for North Florida today. I sympathize with your poor toes. I’ve had to wear the dreaded “boot of shame” three times because of similar mishaps. If nothing else, it has taught me to be truly grateful for the gift of pain-free mobility!!

    • Thanks Jeannie for coming by. Nature in all Her manifestations truly reminds/us of Her cycles of creation and destruction. How lovely to have an increase in your water table. We’re hoping like mad that our drought gets broken in due course. Somehow today it turned chilly – perhaps it had something to do with a partial eclipse of the sun this morning, this first day of Spring. Jupiter and Venus were so close just a few nights ago. I wonder what other delights our planets have in store for us.

      The ‘dreaded boot of shame’ 🙂 That made me laugh!

  11. Oh, your poor toes. I rush around too much and sometimes think I should wear hiking boots in the house. A pair of steel-toed boot slippers. I’m glad you’re walking again.

    The flower is exotic and exquisite–only seen in a flower shop here. I can’t quite imagine the beautiful flowers that come in the spring there. My gardens burst with fall color as they will for the next month or until a freeze. I harvest, freeze a little for winter soups, and neglect my writing project. It will wait, but the ripe tomatoes won’t.

    • Thanks for your sympathy Elaine! Hiking boots in the house is a good idea! I see Arlee below says Bird of Paradise are all over LA … (still to reply to him). It really is gorgeous flower; I forgot to say in the post that it is not from my own garden – I took it the other morning at a friend’s home.

      What a harvest you have! Winter soups from one’s own toil of soil. This must be particularly gratifying, And the changing colours; an ever changing canvas … as is life. Thank you for coming by 🙂

  12. It’s good to read of the budding Spring popping up in each sentence, whilst here in Scotland were beginning to dip our unbroken toes into autumn. I’ve just moved house down to the Ayrshire coast, and for the first time in my life now have a small garden. Discovering the therapeutic joys of weeding pruning and sowing. Your Bird of Paradise is a wee beauty!

    • How lovely to have your own garden Brian! All those activities you write about tending to a garden remind me of similar psychological inner processes. The weeding that needs to be done which clears the way for new growth – enjoy it. And happy landings – may this be a fruitful time for you in your new home in the beauty that is Scotland. My maternal grandmother was a Scots. My husband’s late father and grandfather were Scots …

      Thanks for coming by Brian, I appreciate this. Thanks also for the reference to the toes 🙂

  13. Your Spring sounds beautiful. You have so many lovely plants blooming. Spring is a fun time of year.

    Since I live in the Northern climate we are looking for the first signs of fall. The lives are starting to change to variegated shades of gold, orange, and brown. Our temperatures have finally lowered and I can sigh with relief! Fall is a time for introspection.

    I’m glad your toes are doing better. To break two toes you must have really whacked the chest of drawers. Be nice to your body! Your walk with your son and husband must have been glorious! Hugs to all of you!

    • Hi Gwynn your leaves changing colour must be a delight – also the drop in temperature. We may be in for a long hot dry summer – I’m remembering now feeling quite pole-axed by the heat! Grrrr-I’ll gird my loins.

      That leg of the dressing table just jumped out at me. Bare foot, rushing… all the elements were in place. But all is getting better.

      Thank you for coming by 😀

  14. Your collection of photos and thoughts is refreshing. How interesting that you are entering spring as we anticipate fall here in Florida. I take this as a reminder to remember to entertain other points of view about things in general, socially, politically, whatever.

    I love the Bird of Paradise and your playing with color in the title. I like to do that too, Susan, which you’ve probably noticed.

    I’m sorry to hear about your toes. I fell on my back moving from laundry room to garage. I don’t think I broke anything but I’m bruised and still ache from this concerting experience.

    The Julian Barnes quote is new to me – priceless!

    • So sorry to hear of the fall Marian. That is very eina. A South African expression which means ouch in capital letters. Hope you can rest from time to time? Essential.

      I love how our planet earth reminds me of opposites – North South East West -,hot cold, light dark and so on.

    • Hi Gulara and thank you! As I write it’s the first day of September. Now to await the rains usually in October along with thunder and lightning!

  15. I had to read your blog when I saw your name, because my best friend’s mother had the same name. She lived to be 100.

    Your photo is beautiful. I’m glad you are excited about Spring, because my favorite season, Autumn, is on the way here. In the mountains of North Carolina, dogwood leaves are beginning to change color. Just the other day we noticed the second blooming of honeysuckle vines.

    • Thanks Anne for coming by on account of my name! I know another Susan Scott here in Johannesburg. She is married to a med specialist as I am so there is often confusion. We have the same middle name as well. And I know of a few others as well.

      The Autumn season really can go to town in her display of colour! Enjoy it. Do you call it Autumn in the US? Perhaps you’re a SA or Brit now living in the US?

  16. And I am dragging my heels, trying to prevent summer from departing. It’s still pretty warm here in California, but I know that will end soon.

    • I guess we all feel healthier in summer than we do in winter? The vit D in abundance? Hope your heel dragging keeps the warmth there a bit longer Jacqui 😃-and thank you for stopping by.

  17. What a delightful trip that you invited us along with. I saw the flowers, because you are a great story teller. The Bird of Paradise is lovely.

    Yes, we will be drifting into Autumn. It’s very comfortable in North Central Florida. Not many colors, but green, in our trees. The air is fresher with less humidity. Sadly, the storms coming off Africa, are heading in this direction. A storm will crash across Florida, into Georgia, South Carolina, and into the Atlantic within the next few days. Another is off the coast, where Carol lives. Mother Nature offers so much change.

    Thank you for your wonderful writings. I always finish with a smile…except for the broken toes.

    • Thanks Marsha for coming by! I keep an eye on those storms heading towards the eastern seaboard. They can be so ferocious.
      Enjoy the fresher air and cooling down!

  18. Nice picture of spring, Susan. I love the spring bulbs, and keep telling myself each year that I will pant some snow drops. Have to plant more daffodils because they mostly disappeared last spring. I read where weaker strains do that after a few years. They used to overwhelm my garden.

    Sorry about your toes — I’ve done that, one toe on each foot years ago, didn’t strap them, just kept walking despite the pain. They’re OK now, but oddly set on my foot.

    Love the flower photos and can almost smell the jasmine. For us, upcoming, my favorite time of the year — fall. We were just talking about that at lunch today — by the end of August the season starts to turn, even though it may still be hot and humid — there are perceptible signs, in the air, in wildlife activity and leaves start to blow off some species of trees.

    Thanks for this journey through early spring in the highveld.

    • Thanks for coming by Samantha. Daffodils overwhelming the garden? How lovely! Your/our poor little tootsies taking strain and we just motor on 🙄.
      I can imagine you noting the subtle changes. Funnily enough AuGUST is usually very windy and gusty blowing away the cold. Not this time round …

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