I half knew that the equinox was this last Thursday 19th March, but it passed me by and I didn’t put up a post as I always have at equinoxes and solstices. They’re timely points of the seasons and so symbolic of a going towards and a going back – light and dark – each fecund – Did we reach a still point of balance at the equinox I wonder?

We’re moving into high gear here in South Africa. Our covid-19 numbers of confirmed cases are doubling every few days. Today they stand at 276. No deaths reported as yet. Of concern is the majority who live in crowded conditions and many do not have access to fresh running water; and those who use taxis, buses and trains for transport. And those who refuse to see the reality of it …

Our Health Minister gives us updates and re-inforces the message of self-isolating as much as possible. Our president is finally being presidential. Groups may be only maximum 100 though there is talk of lowering to this to 50. Probably less. International travel is disallowed and internal travel discouraged. Schools, libraries, restaurants, gyms are closed (or most of them). Churches, synagogues and mosques are closing. People are being innovative at this time. The elderly and pensioners are given their own hour to shop at stores. Bulk buying is not allowed and putting up prices is not OK. Bulking up on bog roll is the butt of many jokes here..

Soap and water is the best for hygiene. It is not necessary to keep the water running while hand washing. Like brushing your teeth – turn tap off while brushing, turn tap on when rinsing. Water conservation. In fact I think today is ‘Water Conservation Day’ –

In our isolation we have the opportunity be more together in co-operation. You’ve all no doubt read of the lovely things that are occurring, blue skies in China, clean rivers in Italy, Italians singing from their rooftops, various organisations making live viewing or streaming available free of charge. It was Fake news about dolphins and flamingos suddenly appearing – National Geographic has put paid to that rumour. But there are wonderful stories of people helping each out, beautiful poetry posted on eg FB that speaks to the soul. Meditation is also available on various media. As are opera, art houses and much more –

I am aware that I could be more slothful as the days go by and I need to guard against that. I can see myself on the sofa watching endless series or movies, avidly watching the news, reading till my eyes get tired, not moving very much and so on. As advised, one can still get up from slouching and do a few stretches. I have listed some tasks, like finally planting the various waterwise cactus that I have dotted around the garden into one place in among some white stones. I plan turning a room downstairs into an art room, get my easel and a table set up for all the art paraphernalia. I’m pretty much self isolating, staying at home. Shopping done, things in the freezer.

I tidied my study the other day, re-arranged books etc. I have so many lovely books, a veritable treasure house. I foresee re-reading some of them. Maybe show my husband Jung’s The Red Book. If only for the amazing art work.

The Red Book within sight of my desk
the other book shelf

Some paintings to be put up – still more to be re-arranged until they are just as I want them to be!

I’ve resurrected Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell ‘The Power of Myth’ CD’s to watch and listen to. Rich material. A long time back since I last viewed it –

Parabola (based in New York) very generously offered a free PDF of their 2012 quarterly journal entitled ‘Alone & Together’ which I downloaded after DM’ing them and have yet to read. I know it will speak to my soul – hopefully yours too – It’s a wonderful organisation to follow on FB. They often publish excerpted essays from their various editions.

Click here to access the PDF.

I’ll tidy up my computer and delete a lot that’s been sitting there forever. I’ll need to gird my loins for that ..

I can walk on the beach so that’s a blessing. The weather is mild. The last two times I walked with son Mike (actually not on the beach but the lovely surrounds of his home) he kept a distance from me, of 2 meters.

My husband & I walked down to the lagoon this morning, a glorious day. I put up the photo of the small boat on a Plett what’s app page, thinking that the owner may like to ‘know’ or identify it. One or two of the comments were amusing; one said the boat was self-isolating, another that no oxygen required –

It was lovely to watch the antics of two dogs trying to get onto a paddle ski; this one was successful. I asked permission to take the photo –

May you all keep safe – these troubling times present an opportunity to go both inwards and outwards and to find new and creative ways to stay connected while isolated. We’re way out of our comfort zones … it’s a challenge for sure. May we meet it …

To end, my younger son David the musician, The Kiffness, has produced a spoof on Sweet Caroline/Carona and is in my view very funny and the funniest part of it is left to the last. Do watch, I’m sure you’ll laugh!

May the Force be with you and thank you for reading.

61 Comments on This That and the next

  1. From the time of yr post till now, a lot of water has flown under the bridge. The entire world is in the grip of a lockdown. While governments and medical workers do their bit, I suppose each one of us has the responsibility to ensure we act sanely and not make it more difficult for others.

    • Thanks Ankur for coming by. Yes a lot of water under the bridge, a lot of it cleaner and clearer 🙂 And, the idea of responsibility as you mention is a powerful one. If we can each act responsibly, this will be our greatest and most meaningful task. I hope this finds you, family, colleagues and friends in good health. Keep safe ..

  2. Hi Susan, I enjoyed your son’s song, but now I’ve forgotten what I was going to say about your post. 🤣 I think we’re following the same regimen as you, or are asked to anyway. I just wish people would. Things won’t change much for me as I spend most of my days at home sitting at my desk writing anyway, but it is very sad to not see family and friends. I look forward to spending time with my children and grandchildren again.
    Stay safe and well. Enjoy all the jobs that you will find to do to fill your hours.

    • Hi Norah, lovely of you to come by thank you! Thank heavens for technology as a way of keeping in touch. And a garden and a view. It’s early days yet, and who knows how it will continue unfolding. I’m not watching the TV news that much. What’s nicer than a book or watching a series? My husband & I do an exercise routine in the morning, first time we’ve ever done that. We’ve done a bit on the garden but spacing it out so there’s still gardening left to do. Though Mike lives just up the road, we can’t see him though we keep in touch via what’s app. Younger son too Davey who’s in Cape Town. Haven’t felt the need yet to skype. May the time come soon that you can spend time with your children and little ones Norah. You too stay safe and well …

      • Thanks, Susan. Yes, it’s hard to be apart and yet so near. Hopefully, we’ll all come through it and get to hug our loved ones again. Sadly, we know, many will not and they will pass alone. That saddens me greatly, that they are robbed of the opportunity of having their loved ones around them. Here’s to knocking this thing on the head – and soon!

        • It really is worrying about those who will die alone – it could be you, it could be me, it could be our loved ones, or those we know and those we don’t know. ‘Robbed of the opportunity’ hits the nail on the head Norah. Well, let’s do what we can to knock this thing on the head. Stay safe.

  3. Hi Susan – loved Mike’s video … how talented he is. We are lucky … we can entertain ourselves – I feel for those who haven’t the educated resources. I read possibly six weeks/two months back that the Cape fishermen are really struggling as the Chinese market went ‘phut’ … it’s the poor I worry about, self-employed … and homeless – SAns and the Indians – let alone all the others. I just hope the western nations can get through this and then be there to help others as our economies rebound … it’s interesting – but not an easy time. All the best to you and yours – Hilary

    • Hi Hilary thanks for coming by. (Dave’s video – not Mike’s!) Yes plenty of ways to keep ourselves out of mischief but concern obviously for those with little or no resources. The Govt has put out a plan and various organisations and individuals are donating left right and centre. Lockdown starts midnight tomorrow and while there was a directive about not being allowed on beaches or any walking in the suburbs, there is a new one (to be determined) that people can walk alone or in two’s if they keep a distance and take their dogs for a walk. Food stores will be open so no need to get onto the bandwagon and hoard.

      The Kiffness (Dave) has just released a new video on FB – I’ve shared it, I hope you see it. He can’t change the spelling of quarantine which he spelled incorrectly!

      Keep well and safe Hilary and thank you for your good wishes, Susan

      • Hi Susan – sorry … I know that – but the brain takes over without my permission sometime! Dave’s done wonders with his Kiffness projects … he obviously loves what he’s doing. Good to know Mike is nearyby. I don’t do FB … so forgive me – but won’t go looking …

        We’re in interesting times … and from the historical point of view I’m noting … seeing how things develop in various parts of the world – without getting over involved in anything – take care – Hilary

        • Believe me, I call one the other often, when they’re together 🙂 The countdown begins – again Hilary take care, keep safe. Susan

  4. I so enjoyed your son’s video. I posted just yesterday (on FB) Neil Diamond himself singing “Washing Hands” to the same tune. Hasn’t social media been a boon to those of us in exile? Hmmm, first time I’ve used that word. But it’s shorter than self isolation and evokes the same feeling to me. Enjoy those walks to your lagoon. My walks take me uphill first, then down again.

    • I listened to Neil Diamond singing ‘Washing Hands’ – it was great! Glad you enjoyed David’s one! No more walks to lagoon or anywhere from now on – total lockdown. Exile – strong word. So many in exile. The day will hopefully come when the diaspora becomes a thing of the past and we all return home, whether physically or psychologically or emotionally, spiritually or whichever way. Thanks for coming by Janet 🙂

  5. Thank you, Susan. I love knowing what’s happening in your part of the world–the good (that you can walk outdoors on the beach and your president is being presidential) and the bad (coronavirus–and the bad here that our president hasn’t a clue about how to be presidential and rise above his childish ego). What a mess we’re in here as some try to protect workers and others try to profit from this disaster. I always hope for better.

    I’m keeping solitude ,an opportunity, but also hard, but connecting on social media and Zoom Meetings and Skype. All these changes from in person to on line began this week so we’re working out kinks. My son who lives 5 minutes away left bags of staples on the front porch in case this goes on and on. We waved at each other through the window I can make soup for the next month and begin growing vegetables in April. I pray humankind will find a heart–and a vaccine. There are so many kind individuals, but few of them go into politics it seems. Thanks for your son’s video. Laughter is the best thing for all of us. I also have a list of good things I can do in this new world, but find I do few of them. I hope that will change now that supplies are in (no hoarding here) and preparations are over for whatever comes next.

    • Thanks Elaine for coming by. The president gave a talk to the nation last night – we’re now in lockdown for 3 weeks from this Thursday at midnight though essential services for the ordinary man and woman (like buying food and pharmacy) will remain. As will other essential services that have to continue. No longer allowed to walk on the beach! We have to stay home! No walking around the suburbs …

      It’s really such a HUGE thing … I’m still digesting it and at times feel tearful. We’re just back from the shops, we wore gloves which we sprayed with hand spray and the staff at the entrance to shops did spraying on entry and leaving.

      Mike my older son also lives 5 mins away and he’s being absolutely diligent. Dave my younger son and his wife Jüte MAY come from Cape Town though they’ll check themselves out first …

      Also planting … be well Elaine, stay safe and I’m sure you’ll meet the challenge.

  6. Hi Susan – glad to see your post and to learn how things are affecting you in South Africa. Here in the U.S., the restrictions are greater. Schools, libraries and non-essential businesses are closed and our governor just closed schools for an additional week. I have a feeling the schools will be closed for the rest of the year. We are doing okay, though. Take care – loved the video!

    • Hi Barbara, thanks for coming by. We’re on lockdown from Thursday midnight for 3 weeks. The president gave an excellent talk to the nation last night.Libraries schools universities etc have been closed for a while already. No walking outside, not even on the lovely beach I can see from my study window. Essential services will be maintained, food can be bought, no hoarding. So far we’re over 500 cases confirmed, so far no deaths. But it’s early days and one HUGE challenge. We’ll all have to unite in our separation. Strange times. Stay well and safe Barbara ..

      • Hi Susan. Yes, very strange times. We still have hoarding going on here and I will need to find some paper products the next time I go out to food shop. No Tylenol or ibuprofin on the shelves. We’re a couple hours from New York City, where I have family and they are really in the thick of it. They are healthy, though. Take care.

        • Thanks for response Barbara and good luck on finding tylenol and other requirements and may your family stay safe and healthy 🙂

  7. You have lovely surroundings, Susan, and it sounds like you and your family are staying well and active. That was funny about the boat. Wishing you all the best in these troubling times.

    • Thanks Merril, like you lovely surroundings. And so worthwhile to explore locally. Not so much walks on the beach anymore, directive made today, but walking around the ‘burbs is also lovely. You too stay safe well and calm in these troubling times.

  8. Your house is pretty and your desire to keep it tidy is one that rings true with me, too. Now that we’re here inside more, I’m turning an eye toward those areas in the house that could use a spiff up. I figure that any goal is a good one when our routines have been turned upside down. In other words, a bit of order is in order. 😊

    • Thanks for coming by Ally Bean. Nothing like routine being thrown out the window to turn an eye (preferably 2) to other areas that need spiffing and sprucing. Good luck – order is sure to prevail 🙂

  9. I’m glad to hear from YOU and the situation in South Africa, Susan. First of all, you have a beautiful home filled with evidence of your love for art and reading.

    The video is super – what a talented son you have! Also, I enjoyed your references to Joseph Campbell’s The Power of Myth, which was a faculty reading group pick for discussion when I was at the College.

    I’m glad you can tidy up, something I must focus on soon, and can walk on the beach. Our governor has closed all beaches in Florida. I’m not sure if residents with beach property can venture out.

    Nevertheless, we have the tools to survive this, Susan, and outlets in writing and reading. I appreciate this update! 🙂

    • Thanks Marian for coming by – I so appreciate it. Glad you enjoyed the video which has gone viral, excuse the pun as have one or two of his others.

      We’ve just come back from a walk but not onto the beach, as now there is a directive about NOT even walking on the beach. A big brouhaha about that and residents urging those who come down from other areas for the Easter break NOT to come …

      Our president will be giving a talk to the nation this evening. I just so hope that everyone pulls together at this time. Confirmed cases have gone up significantly – a 60% jump from yesterday. No deaths reported. Also reports of those confirmed now clear. I think about 14,000 plus via govt have been tested though testing is increasing as it must.

      We have the tools, here’s hoping we have the will to abide by the rules. Keep safe and well, you, family & friends 🙂

  10. Dear Susan, I did note the spring equinox and took myself out for a long walk, yet wandered aimlessly, plagued with fear and anxiety. People naturally distanced themselves which felt strange yet considerate I guess all at the same time. Strange times indeed! For me the equinox didn’t feel like a still point of balance, more an unbalanced one! Curious, as Saturn entered Aquarius on 21st and this poet’s second Saturn Return feels like it has truly begun.

    I agree, the wonderful stories of people helping each other are food for the soul for all at the moment. Yesterday we had to go shopping for a few items and were lucky enough to choose a shop that had everything we needed in it. Closer to home and with a heavy heart, last Friday I temporarily suspended my therapy practice, a huge yet necessary undertaking … as I will miss them so much … yet plan to investigate online platforms in the weeks/months to come.

    Listing tasks is such a great idea! We started working in the garden yesterday and the front lawn got its first rough cut of the year. Luckily it’s small and didn’t take too long but our list at the start of spring is a long one indeed for all the little jobs that need to be done outdoors. Hmm, one that may take us till summer to complete. It’s time for us all to journal for sure! And I feel sure now that my second poetry book must wait until this pandemic has passed.

    I’ll be pretty much self-isolating too, face-timing loved ones and generally mooching around home and garden. You’ve listed so many different ideas of what to do in these times, thank you Susan! I guess getting comfy on the couch and writing my next poem is near the top of my list, alongside staying connected with others, albeit mostly online or by phone. Anyway, you’ve certainly inspired me to start thinking about the jobs I’ve avoided this past decade!

    Wow, your submerged boat image that tantalises this poet! I’m with Jeanie, thank you for providing us all with such a wonderful, newsy and soothing post in these fearful, uncertain times! Lastly, thank you for the lovely mention in your comments. Oh, and I loved, loved, loved David’s brilliantly funny “Sweet Corona” parody! Most excellent! Sending you much love and light across the oceans between us, Blessings always, Deborah.

    • Lovely to get your response Deborah as I’m responding to others, sitting on the balcony overlooking the sea, no people walking so far as I can see. (Actually just spotted a few). As of today a directive of beaches closed.

      Ha ha re the unbalanced equinox! Have to laugh 🙂

      We HAVE to adapt as best we can to this rapidly changing world and question as to what attitude we personally will bring to our tables. Mooching is good, a time for reflection and contemplation I would think/feel. At least that is what I take from it.

      May fear be the spear that goads us into action; maybe to find real ways to overcome it and to find the best in us – to check out our shadows and find the gold in it.

      And if you’re spending too much time slouching on the sofa (instead of slouching towards Bethlehem), be careful to not grow roots into the sofa. Grow other roots – as you will.

      Love Light Blessings to you from over the seas …

      • Thank you my dear friend for gifting me such rich insights in your wise words. They got me off the sofa in a flash! Hmm, the newspapers here in the UK are hinting at an imminent lockdown. Strange times! Lovely to imagine you on your balcony with those living waters before you. Take care and please do stay safe. Love and light, Deborah.

        • Ha Ha I’m laughing! (Wish I could heed my own words) Mind you, sitting and jumping off in a flash could be a type of routine exercise? Every few hours – or days? 🙂 Maybe every hour or so 🙂 Lockdown … it’s a scary word. Take great care Deborah … thinking of you …xxx

  11. Nice to hear from you, Susan. Most people in my area are respectful of social distancing and social isolating. It is still very frustrating when people “refuse to see the reality of it….”. I had to think for a moment about “bog roll” and then it occurred to me what it was. It is nice to hear about the positives, especially people helping each other. My family decided last Sunday to completely self isolate. We usually interact a great deal with our grandchildren every week. Our priority is for everyone to stay healthy. Susan, you have inspired me to tackle some house projects around here. Very funny on the boat self-isolating. Your son, David is quite creative and made me smile. Very funny, too, on his fundraising approach. Just what I needed tonight. Thank you! Stay healthy Susan.xx

    • Thanks Erica for coming by. I know how much pleasure you get from your grandchildren so other ways to interact will be found I’m sure. As of this morning, we’re notified that there is to be no beach walking or swimming. Arrrgggh. But the suburbs are lovely and already a few days ago I was thinking of exploring them. My son Mike has lived here in Plett for many years already so he knows the ‘burbs. I’ve done a couple of walks with him around his home, keeping the distance. We don’t know them so much.

      I also will be tacking house projects.

      Davey ended his video about donating – If you don’t want to hear me sing’ – 🙂 He’s not looking for donations.

      Keep well Erica, this adapting is going to be a struggle but with an attitude of – actually, I don’t know – Keep Calm & Carry On maybe? Chop Wood Carry Water? xx

  12. I did get a Kick out of the ending of Davey’s video. He is such a clever young man. Boy, the Coronavirus is making everyone miserable around the world as we have to isolate. Maybe we need to have a world podcast so we can commiserate with one another. In the meantime stay safe and well. Thanks for the lovely post.

    • A world podcast – great idea Gwynn. This is surely a time we can try to uplift each other in whatever way while definitely acknowledging each others discomfort. As of this morning no walking on the beach allowed. Or swimming. This is crazy. One of our playwrights once had a play “Adapt or Die’ – Pieter Dirk Uys. I must try and find it. He is a great satirist .. Stay well and safe dear Gwynn.

      • Yes, I had to stop walking Poulsbo’s waterfront as too many people were there enjoying the sun too. So other than grocery shopping, I’m pretty much hiding out in the cave of my apartment… no, I’m NOT hoarding toilet paper. 😉

  13. Love your son’s video. I’ve got my copy of The Red Book sitting, still wrapped in plastic, on my end table. A Christmas gift to myself I’m waiting for the right time to open…I’ve been thinking that moment will be soon.

  14. I enjoyed your newsy, soothing post, loved seeing your pictures. Your son’s video is a hoot! I sent it to my immediate family who enjoyed it too. Thank you for sharing that. We have much in common with you, despite being on opposite sides of the world. We really are all in this together, and it feels like it’s bringing for the best in most of us. Stay well, Jeanie

    • Thanks Jeanie – yes all in this together – I’m sure there’s a song about this. I also think most of us are being respectful and careful. The best in us is emerging. Just hoping that the worst in us doesn’t also emerge when those opposites clash. Stay safe and well. Susan

  15. Wonderful. I’m disappointed I won’t be going on that trip this summer (no word yet on money back) but happy to have a WHOLE month to work on writing projects! I can see you’re using your “distancing” time well. Congrats!

  16. Your son’s spoof did definitely cheer me. We’re sheltering in place here in California–only out for emergencies, which nicely includes exercise. Since I spend so much time in the house anyway with writing, this isn’t a big change but I’m the extreme minority. There are food shortages, medical supplies, that sort. I’m trying to conserve.

    Stay healthy, Susan!

    • Glad you were cheered Jacqui! Pretty much self isolating here too, and for me it’s also not that much different. Stay safe, conserve well and thank you for coming by.

  17. Poetry also helps, connecting with friends remotely and being conscious of self and others. Movement and keeping somewhat of a routine, Writing dreams and journaling feelings is also in order in such a time of disorder and the looming of the unknown.

    • Thanks Susan – poetry so many times says what almost cannot be said or helps us see between the lines, evoking images, feelings. Deborah Gregory who often comments on my posts is one such person. The unknown looms for sure, including the rules and regulations to contain it .. Journalling and writing is a great way to reflect for one’s self as well as to consider the wider world .. Susan

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