We returned home from being away in Plettenberg Bay this last Sunday. I took this photo on 12th June from the balcony of the bedroom in Plett. It was taken at 8.06 a.m. the morning of my birthday. We’d arrived the previous day. It was a lovely sight to begin the day in spite of the lingering haze from the smoke of the fires in Knysna, Plett and surrounding areas in the recent week.  

I wanted to put up a post on the Winter Solstice, acknowledging this particular time – for us in the southern hemisphere it means a time of going inward, germinating, lying low, the soil resting, cold, frost – for you in the northern hemisphere, a time of warmth and bursts of colour as Nature reveals herself in all her glory. 

But I didn’t put up a post. The 20th June was the anniversary of my severe car accident 4 years ago; yesterday was the anniversary of our moving into our townhouse 4 years ago, the day I was released from hospital. 

Two days ago on the 20th June I was in my car, very aware of the anniversary. A taxi nearly took me out at the traffic lights as I was about to make a right turn. It went through the red lights – a bright blue van. Later on, when I was returning home, there was a terrible car accident at a different set of traffic lights near where I live. Two vehicles were involved. One car was upturned. The officials were doing a good job of directing traffic.  Ambulances and a fire engine were on the scene. Later on that day, I was alerted to an earlier shooting of someone dead in a Bentley in the road much further down – also close to where I live. A ‘hit’ is currently assumed –

The name of the main road which is close to me is South Rd. A car accident at the top of South Rd, and a shooting at the bottom end of it. Top and bottom … it gave me cause for pause …

Not that this is the only matter that gives me cause for pause. I feel a pausing on many levels. I wonder if I’m a pessimist, or an optimist; or a mixture of the two. A pessimistic optimist – or an optimistic pessimist. Or just simply caught in the opposites. Never a comfortable place to be.

Maybe this is the time to pause – as I did today, going through my photographs of the week spent in Plett. Both sons were with us, our elder son Mike in his lovely new home, and younger son David with Jüte his wife visiting from Cape Town. Hence my decision in putting up the sunrise photo and writing a blog while feeling ‘happy’ looking at the pics remembering that special time.

I messaged both of them on Tuesday to thank them for their assistance 4 years ago when they were both in Johannesburg to help with the packing and the move and when I had the car accident.

David responded: “Was a very hectic day – still don’t like thinking about it. But it’s also good to be reminded of it & to ponder the fragility of life. That incident taught me to savour each moment I get to spend with family, and not to take you, dad, Mike or Jüte for granted”. Mike said much the same thing in response. I was also reminded of my dear friend Lyndy, now just 3 months gone, of saying so often to me as she lay dying, don’t postpone doing what you want to do, just do it …

The sunset photo is from a long while ago, in the bush. Though it makes me think of Lyndy and therefore feel sad, I see the beauty in it.

Sunrise-sunset, pessimistic-optimistic, energised-enervated, happy-sad, top-bottom, above-below, life-death, north-south, east-west, new moon-full moon and all the phases and pauses in between. May the new moon in the next night or so bring you renewal and joy.

Thank you for reading.


52 Comments on Sunrise Sunset

  1. Susan! If you knew how hard I’ve been trying to find you. Your LIKE (email) notice takes me to the blog of an Andy White. You might look into that and reestablish connection with your site. This is a beautiful, thoughtful post. I am so glad the accident (and hopefully all it brought) is behind you. Onward and upward…


    • Thanks for trying to find me Diana! And for alerting me to the difficulty of it – I thought I had sorted out the mix-up of Andy White’s blog MONTHS ago but I see that I will have to look at it again.

      All us well thank you, onwards, upwards, sideways, downways and all otherways 🙂 Hope same with you 🙂

    • Hi Diana. Thanks for pointing this out. This is a very strange occurrence, and I’m trying to sort it out.

  2. Thank you, Susan, for beautiful images and deep reflections. I read this last week, but didn’t have time to comment because I was leaving for the weekend. Just a two hour drive, but to spend time with close friends. I purposely left my computer behind for a weekend without political news.

    You’ve put a light on the way Nature’s Pause is both personal and collective. As I drove on the major highways yesterday, I felt the precariousness of all of us in our zooming cars, especially when someone does something reckless or stupid. I’m grateful you had such loving helpers at the time of the accident. That’s one good things about those perilous times. We know how much we need and love each other.

    I’m one who stands with a foot in both worlds–optimism and pessimism. This world of opposites almost forces that unless we put on blinders. I’m happy with life now and grieve for life as it was. I’m both healthy and unhealthy. My country is both rich and impoverished. My country is both blessed and damned, inspiring and demoralizing, full of love and full of hate. And on we go as darkness grows here, ever so slowly, and the light increases there.

    • Thank you Elaine for articulating so beautifully the reality of life! I too have a foot in each camp. In one of our recent Jung reading groups (each Monday night) we were having a major/minor freak out about our country and the world. We (5 of us) were literally wailing so much and so loudly we all collapsed into hysterical laughter. We let rip – it did us good. Got those anxious unspoken feelings out into the open. Humour is I suppose the other side of tragedy.

      We are very perturbed by what’s happening in our country and luckily a significant part of the public is very vociferous against the gangsters who call themselves our rulers, or the ruling party. I’ve been crying out for a long time that they be called the ‘serving party’ – the nuance is important. But before I burst a blood vessel, I’ll pause and look out into my garden. There’s a gentle breeze about, the shadows are already lengthening, my white and yellow roses are looking healthy and my orchids are a delight.

  3. How about “a realistic optimist,” Susan, the logical choice of taking the best of both. Thank you for writing this thoughtful and poignant post. I love the photos. And, I certainly am glad you are still with us, that you survived that awful accident. Thank you, too, for Lyndy’s reminder — just do and don’t postpone. I cannot hear that often enough. I am saddened to learn of the loss of your dear friend. Those who have gone, I think of often. I miss each one.

    • Thanks Samantha for coming by! I suspect you’re a Libran …not unlike a Gemini, weighing everything up – or down 🙂 Well, I’m back at my desk this early afternoon and I’m going to take my own advice – yours and Lyndy’s – to just do. I have much to get on with. So, with a realistic and optimistic heart and mind, here I go xx

      • You are right on, Susan. I have sun in late Virgo, but Mercury, Venus and Midheaven in Libra, plus opposite them, Mars in Aries (retrograde, though). I see both sides and weigh and balance everything. I cannot imagine doing otherwise. I, too, am striving to just get on. I’ve read somewhere that writers are great procrastinators, certainly true in my case. Almost ready to publish my Jane Austen book, though, and after that I will try to catch up with you on the long-delayed details. Wishing you harmony. 😊

        • you’re in good/bad company Samantha – i.e. I with my procrastination habits. Why o why she cried pulling out her hair?

          I look forward to your JA book – and to catching up.

  4. I’m late in getting to this post, Susan. It is so thoughtful. I think incidents such as the one you described do make us pause and reflect–or should at least. I don’t think that’s pessimism. You are right there is much to ponder and to be scared about these days, but then there are people like you in the world, too.

    • Thanks for coming by Merril! You say – and write – the nicest things! Have a great week and enjoy all that life has to offer 🙂

  5. Oh Susan – my heart is touched by this post and your being in that pausing “between” place. Life is truly a complex adventure offering us all manner of things to consider. I’m glad you had a lovely birthday and have that anchor to ground you even as you consider the wobbles of the current and past June 20s.

    Whether we view it from the lens of an optimist or pessimist or some combination of both, there is no denying that life is precious. Your reflections always help remind me of that.

    • Thank you Deborah for your comment, I am touched by it. And, I attended a charity performance of a musical this late afternoon and the song after ‘If I was a Rich Man’, (Fiddler on the Roof) was ‘Sunrise, Sunset’ – you could have blown me away with a feather!!!! Truly, that made me smile 🙂 as I’m sure you can imagine!

      Even though I will no doubt continue to waver between the opposites, all these lovely moments make life precious – as does your comment. Thank you again Deborah!

  6. A very frightening experience for you, Susan. The old and the new. The driving in South Africa is frightful and there is no sense of accountability or responsibility. The photographs are beautiful.

    • Thanks for coming by Robbie. I wonder when drivers will realise their responsibility to themselves and passengers and others on the roads? Have a lovely weekend – 🙂

  7. Hi Susan – yes difficult times with fires in SA … and lots of remembrances of difficult times from not so long ago … so glad everyone helped you pull through …

    I can relate at the moment … some things could go my way … but I’m lucky in so many ways – this is a period I could do without – but we grow strong coping. I need to balance my perspective and ease through …

    It’s good to know you had a lovely birthday and visit with both your sons and their wives – sunsets bring an end to another day … a new beginning dawns. So sad about Lyndy and others who have gone too …we’ve had our share of cruel horrors here … it’s an uncomfortable world sometimes …

    Here’s to peace, empathy for others, and love for all things – cheers Hilary

    • Thanks Hilary for coming by. The world is definitely a strange place to be living in, at the moment. I wonder how our parents and grandparents felt about the times they were living in. Uncomfortable too I guess. Maybe this is part of life, when our perspectives keep on changing yet our inner compass hopefully remains stable enough to steer our own ship through these muddy waters.

      Peace, empathy and love for all things – a lovely message. Susan

  8. Thank you for writing! 😉

    Your message about doing what you want/need to do NOW rings true with me. Must remember to heed your advice. So sorry that you learned [re-learned?] it in such a traumatic manner. But all is well now, yes?

  9. I like the pause susan its so important,it keeps you balanced and helps me understand that life’s like that – sunset and sunrays 🙂 yes happiness and sadness, darkness and light.. as swami vivekananda will say what is darkness but absence of light, what is sadness but absence of joy… we go through it all sometimes we are happy and feel optimistic about everything and we shine bright as the sun illuminating lives that surrounds us and at other times we feel low and pessimistic…. being both has helped us become who we are… and yes we need to pause…. some memories can bring both, the accident that would have killed; and the same experience that brought the family closer and help learn to value and cherish one another. Glad for what ever has been susan the “best is yet to be” Loved the pictures… can just sit with awe and wonder and watch both images …they made me happy, take care, love and hugs

    • Thank you for your poetic, real and rewarding response Genevive. You’re right, being both of all emotions, sometimes at the same time, sometimes at different times is a great part of what life is about. Glad you loved the pictures! Have a lovely weekend! Love to you …

  10. Hi,
    You’re noticing that your life has cycles and every cycle indicates a change you have to adjust too. Therefore, it is good to pause and reflect before you storm forward.
    All the best.
    Shalom aleichem,

    • Thanks dear Pat – that’s a good way to look at it all. Just about time now to get on my bicycle and on the road again … Shalom to you and have a lovely weekend enjoying your summer heat in Germany! Susan

  11. Hi Susan, thank you for sharing this post of ups and downs; and happy belated birthday wishes.
    When you mentioned your car accident of four years ago, I thought at first it occurred on your birthday, but thankfully not. I hope you have recovered well, but it’s not good to have reminders with similar events this year. I very much agree with your son David’s response. Life is fragile and we mustn’t take it for granted. Your friend Lyndy also gave good advice. My sister died at age thirty six (22 years ago) from a very aggressive cancer. Her passing makes me appreciate every day I have. We should not take our gift of life for granted. Twenty-five years ago, on my 40th birthday, a very dear friend was involved in a very serious car accident. It almost took her life. She spent two months in hospital and is held together (in some places) with pins. She has a remarkable attitude and each day manages to find the positives in life though she is constantly reminded of her accident by her pain. We have just celebrated the last twenty-five years of gifted friendship and look forward to the next twenty-five.
    I wish you many happy sunrises and sunsets, accepting the light with the dark, the ups with the downs, the pessimism and the optimism. There is a little of each in all of us.

    • Norah, I am so sorry I have only NOW come across your response. It was in the spam, along with another precious comment, I don’t know why. I am pleased to receive it thank you very much.

      It’s true that we never know for whom or when the bell tolls – a constant reminder to me to NEVER take life for granted and to appreciate each day and each moment. Fortunately for me, I have a comfortable life on the surface but I can’t help wondering about those who live in poverty or abuse and whether they can look on life with hope –

      I am sorry on the early death of your sister even though it was 22 years ago. I still fondly remember family members who died too soon. Your friend’s car accident and her response to it, her positive attitude, is remarkable and inspiring. Here’s to another 25 years of your friendship with her. No doubt your friendship is one of the especially valued elements of her life.

      Here’s to happy sunrises and sunsets to you Norah!

      • Thank you, Susan. Yes, it’s true that it is easier for those of us with privileged lives to take pleasure in each moment. We must remind ourselves of that and do what we can to relieve the suffering of others.
        I appreciate your toast to happy sunsets and sunrises! I wish the same for you. Cheers!

  12. Dear Susan;
    It is a powerful time–longest and shortest time. Perhaps the warnings all over the place speak to your survival and life, even though there is death and disaster…

  13. You are wise to pause in gratitude for your blessings amidst the trials of life. How lovely to contemplate the help of your fine sons during a tough time.

    Thank you for sharing bits of your life here, the accident I did not know about and the celebration of your birthday I notice you observed. I think I commented on your Facebook page. Yes?

    Cheers for a wonderful year ahead, Susan. I appreciate too your reply on my blog post today – so glad we have this connection.

    • Thanks Marian – yes, always grateful for my sons and their help. I remember very little of it all but I clearly remember Davey praying over me.

      You put up a lovely birthday message on FB – this I remember well too! Thank you!

      Here’s to an excellent year for you and I and very pleased we can share bits of our lives. I so enjoy your blog posts. Have an excellent weekend!

  14. The anniversary of an event, whether happy or sad, reminds us of so much more… happy or sad. Father’s day weekend was the 10 year Anniversary of my in-laws’ death due to suicide. Father’s Day we work hard to remember the happy aspects and not the sad aspects of our memories. I totally understand your conundrum of emotions. Happy Solstice!

    • Thanks Gwynn for coming by. Those anniversaries are reminders whether happy or sad. Your in laws suicides on Father’s Day 10 years ago would definitely give rise to complex emotions – and hard work to remember the better aspects …

  15. My 92 yo uncle has passed (blog coming tomorrow) and it too reminds me to appreciate every precious moment and not get too far ahead of myself in anticipating what comes next. For we truly have no clue

    • Condolences to the family of the passing of your uncle, Beth. Long life to the family. I’ll look out for your blog post. Yes, appreciate every moment in this strange thing called life …

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