Today, Yesterday, Tomorrow –

This is a photo I took 2 years ago on safari in Ngaka Modiru Molema, Botswana. I was hunting through my photos on my phone to see if I had one of wildebeest crossing a river; I‘m pretty sure I do but I reckon it’s in the cloud somewhere.

 I was watching a person on TV speaking in parliament today while having coffee. I missed the beginning so I can’t give his name. He was saying about the absolute necessity of South Africa to use farm land for crops and agriculture. This includes the expropriation of land without compensation. We are able to provide for all, including export he said, if commercial farming (and for personal gain) is properly implemented:a plan for training, machinery, and good living farm conditions with schools and clinics. Title deeds (not leases) to be given for such land, which can be used as collateral for loans from banks – farmers, black and white, men and women, are very eager to farm and be prosperous.

He ended his rather impassioned plea saying he wanted to leave them with an image. He spoke of the wildebeest and their migration.

Imagine huge herds of wildebeest on one side of the river, he said. It is dry, there is no food. They need to get to the other side where the grass is greener and their calves can be born. If they stay on the one side, the lions will eat them. They have to cross the river, even if there are crocodiles in the current. But they can’t just jump into the river one by one – they’ll be attacked by the crocs. The banks on the other side of the river are high; they’ll have to clamber up those steep slopes.

So, there are risks. I saw this as an apt metaphor for today and tomorrow. A raging current to be traversed – 

Last evening I was at my usual Monday night Jung reading group. Sometimes a passage we read is so relevant to the current situation here in South Africa as well as world wide that not much actual study gets done. Last night was just such an evening – we each expressed our grave concerns about this beautiful country we live in. I’m starting to feel like a stranger in my own land. I’ve been feeling uneasy for a long while. We discussed whether it is better for our psychological health to remain hopeful that things will work themselves out and NOT to listen or watch the news.. I’m trying to figure out exactly what my feelings are. I do know that I’m witnessing the dark side of human nature as never before – though as someone said we know of it already as in WW1 & WW2 and the Holocaust and other historical and current atrocities. Yes, this is true. As in the migration of people from Venezuela because of the collapse of the economy. As in people trying to get to Europe as refugees or asylum seekers and the many deaths due to overloaded boats and/or people smuggling. As in suicide bombers. As in elephant and rhino poaching, as in drought, flooding, pollution … do I really want to know all this? I don’t actually – I really don’t. It gets to me on a gut level. We agreed that these sorts of feelings also render us somewhat powerless, if not unhinged. With what’s going on in SA, it feels as if the whole of SA is depressed. The rot is deep. Thousands are emigrating, skilled professionals. I feel anarchic at times.

Today while driving I heard on the news that SA is technically in a recession. Our currency is fast depreciating. The cost of living is already high and the poor are feeling it most. But we’re all feeling the pinch. Less money to spend which affects the economy. Money is now used for basics – not for spending –

What does this all mean we wondered last night? What is the meaning of meaning? But, as always, it is imperative to hold our centre in the midst of it all. The wheel keeps turning. It’s always intensely dark before sunrise –

I’m flying down to Cape Town tomorrow morning for several days. I want to see the sea and mountains and some friends. I especially want to see the whales. To see those great leviathans emerge from the depths that let us know they are there in all their magnificence. My friend Jan who is in our Monday night meetings sent me this little video this morning, of whales in Hermanus, this morning, this day. I’ll be visiting Hermanus, about an hour and a half outside of Cape Town.

Thank you for reading. L’Shana Tovah and well over the fast, Happy Labour Day, and may you all be well.

I’ve removed the whales video – it was causing some problems … Tues 18th Sept


41 Comments on Today, Yesterday, Tomorrow

  1. It is not only South Africa, but everywhere it seems is going through a rather “dark patch”… our leaders are no longer people to be respected and revered, as they themselves seem to have lost their way.

    Climate change is impacting every country all over the world and we are ill prepared to deal with it all as a nation. Denial of course is the least helpful aspect of all…

    I left South Africa at a very young age, 20 to be precise. No one in my age group was leaving then.. I was one of the first. I left because my boyfriend had a soccer scholarship offer in America but primarily I wanted to be out of a country that supported apartheid. I felt deeply embarrassed. I hope to be in Africa by January, for the first time in decades. But this time, not South Africa, but Eastern Africa, where we were not allowed to venture during the apartheid era.

    Very thought provoking and sobering post


    • Thanks Peta so much – ‘our leaders too seem to have their way’. Too true .. I left SA around 1973 for the same reasons, though returned a few years later. We were hopeful for a few years afterour first democratic election in 1994 but not for long as things went from good to bad pretty quickly …

  2. The world is too often, too much for me–but then I tell myself, I can only control my reaction; a coherent response is more helpful than rage or depression.

    I hear you about your country. I live in a very rich nation, but only through living here do I know that it too, has its share of problems. My answer is to leave the planet, and if I can’t, either take refuge in nature, or books.

    You seem to be on the right track with whale-watching. I saw them once in Sri Lanka, and cried each time one of them breached. We need that sort of awe, once in a while, to remind us that our planet still has magic.

    • Thanks Damyanti for your lovely response. It’s essential to distance one’s self from the ugliness without denying it but to be refreshed, rescued and in refuge, by Nature’s beauty. Books also! One of my sweet spots for sure.

      I set off on the highway this morning for Hermanus, an hour and a half or so away, to see the whales but got hopelessly lost and returned to my sister’s home. So I’m digesting this – got lost yesterday driving into Cape Town and coming back – I’m off to simonstown tomorrow, stopping in muizenberg to fetch a friend and I’m really hoping to see whales, maybe if not in simonstown then further on, at Scarborough which is almost Cape Point …

      I’ll be happy for the rest of the year if I see whales …

  3. We must change what we can and try not to be burdened by that we can’t, otherwise we lose our outlook for the future and fail to see that our actions have any effect. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, which I’m certain are similar for many of us worldwide.
    Enjoy your break away. I hope you find some comfort with these great creatures. How wonderful to see them without even leaving the shore. Enjoy!

    • Wise words Norah thank you! I needed the reminder! I’m still to see the whales – hopefully this coming week. Right now there’s snow on the near mountains where I am with my sister – and pictures on media of elephants in the snow in the eastern cape –

  4. I get it, Susan. We’re either burning or flooding here–environmentally and politically. My approach is to read (never watch) a variety of news sources so I know the main things happening. It’s horrifying and news media makes money by keeping us terrorized enough to keep reading. I budget my “news” time. While I try to hold that darkness, there is also the gentle death of my 102+ year-old mother-in-law this week and the release of many Monarch butterflies I’ve raised all summer. The ones emerging now join the fall migration to Mexico. So, I’m holding the opposites in these turmoiled times. I hope you see many whales. I can’t imagine those migrations and know all the creatures are threatened by human competition for space and resources. Blessings, blessings, blessings to us all.

    • Your butterfly releases are always calming and beautiful Elaine and a blessing to us all. Like your mother in law released, to migrate elsewhere – like the whales as they travel far wide and deep –
      Yes, we’re all being put through our paces in these strange and troubling times. Have a good upcoming week and blessings to you and family as your mother in law is laid to rest ❤️

  5. Hi Susan – reading your post gave me a mixed feeling, here the floods in south India have caused havoc and the government is here planning for early polls… the problems of unemployment, suicide, drugs, politicians blaming one another instead of working together for the greater good of people gives a sense of despair – at the same time i see people reaching out to flood victims forgetting everything and there are small service organisations working to empower youth giving them skill training’s, and others creating awareness on preventing suicides and saying NO to drugs.. we only hope and believe that all be well… wishing you a safe journey and sending you peace and harmony.

    • Genevive I thinks it’s important for us to be aware of the dark side of society even if it is despairing. Out of that darkness comes another awareness of the need for us to reach out towards an other way. Drugs are the scourge of society – it is such a problem here in South Africa. Crime, gang wars. I know that you work in suicide prevention and in many other areas – we need more like you. Thank you for coming by. And for your good wishes. I send mine to you 🌸

  6. Always so spot on with where
    I am emotionally, Susan. I think the whole world is sad, and all for similar reasons. We’ve stopped listening to each other and taking care of each other. Happy New Year to you, too, and if you fast, hope it’s an easy one. 🤗

    • Thanks Pam – I.m now at my sister’shome in Cape Town and we’ve been discussing this all a bit. About worry, awareness, sadness, anxiety – I’m not Jewish, we should all have a day of atonement. And teiglach. And caring for and looking out for the other 😀

  7. “I’m starting to feel like a stranger in my own land.” That is the saddest sentence in your whole post. I’m so sorry, Susan. You held such hope following your last election. I don’t get much international news here; headlines in The NYTimes, that’s all. So I’m very glad to get your perspective there on the ground, as the war reporters call it. What happened? Is the corruption so deep? Are the heroes all gone? We say here in the US that all politics is local. And here in the US, that’s what is beginning to save us. Young people (they are all young to me anymore) are getting involved as never before— at the local level. And they are winning. We will take back our country from the hate mongers.

    Is such a path available in your system of government?

    • Thanks Janet – maybe it’s pretty much the same everywhere, I don’t know. Maybe 24 years of a democracy is still too soon but we are all shocked at the corruption which thankfully is being exposed in commissions of enquiry although we’ve known about it for a long time and many books have been written about it. Some TV news and newspapers and other media do not shy away from telling the truth.

      We do have heroes – the whistleblowers and ministers who stood up against bribery and corruption are coming forward. We have elections next year. The Democratic Alliance who I support and who have shown excellent results in municipalities and governance are being sidelined by other opposition parties. It’s all a huge thing – hopefully the DA grass roots movement will take back from those in power who are not serving the people …

  8. Dear Susan, One of the reasons I love visiting your wonderful blog is for the beautiful loving souls that also gather here and the great wisdom they so willingly share in their responses to your beautiful words and images. After reading through all their rich replies I always feel doubly blessed and my heavy heart feels doubly shared.

    This week the story of the Goddess Ma’at and her feather of truth has found its way to me and is inspiring me to write something of my own heart’s journey. Much like yourself I love the “Great” outdoors, the woods, mountains and hillsides, the flowers, birds and great open sky … and this is where I take my sorrows and scrapes, always.

    Just a thought, a few months ago another Jungian loving friend of mine sold up and relocated herself to another country. For 16 years it was a long held dream of hers to leave England and move as close as she could to the Swiss Alps and she did that alone, aged 71 years. She let her dreams guide her. How inspiring she is to me!

    In doing so she reminded me I have choices, and if a physical relocation is not the answer perhaps your psyche seeks to relocate within, to another place. I ask myself where do I want to live and the answer is always, closer to nature … but where is nature? And the answer (today) lays with the weight of one’s heart. Love and light, Deborah.

    • Thank you dear Deborah! A few thoughts as I was in the air flying down to Cape Town today – I remembered a dream about a week ago when I was walking on a beach – all of a sudden I saw this very large wave that was about to break – it had that curl at the top of it. A single wave. I watched it – it didn’t break and I didn’t run away, but I woke up. I sense this is a reflection of my inner state. I know that dreams of huge waves are nit uncommon, at least not to me. Often I’ve dived head long into it and gone deep to avoid the crashing! In real life too –

      Another thought that’s been circling around in my head and heart is the bitter-sweet that is life. I made a note while flying about yet another thought but that can wait!

      Your friend’s action in following her dream is inspiring! It’s never too late! And your words about relocating one’s heart is music to the soul.

      May Goddess Ma’at continue to inspire you dear Deborah. Thank you so much for coming by and enriching my thoughts and feelings and those of others who stop by.

      It’s pretty cold down here – 😀

      • It’s wonderful to read more of your musings Susan and what an impressive dream you had! A comment, no doubt, from your psyche re the strength and fortitude of your evolving relationship with those “living waters”. The fact that you didn’t break and didn’t run away, says it all really. You’re made of strong stuff, much needed, if we’re ever to hold the tension of the opposites, within and without. Sending you rich blessings and deep warmth, Deborah. 🙂

        • Ooooo Deborah I didn’t think of it like that! Though I did wonder why I didn’t run away and just observed! Thank you for your valuable insight! I was out earlier walking in the coolth of the evening and I remembered a woman at an airport while we travelling in Europe who saw me struggling a bit with my backpack in the waiting lounge – my shoulders were tight and I was having a bit of a moan to Neil; she gestured to me that she would give me a shoulder massage which she did, standing behind me. It released everything. I don’t know if she was Spanish or Portuguese – I was so grateful. Another man sitting next to neil was observing this and then proceeded to tell me he was an Ayurvedic practitioner and showed me how to massage my hands, palm and fingers to release tension. What lovely remembrances I had while walking in this pretty suburb. I was thinking also of how grateful I am for so much – including you and fellow travellers – so a big thank you for the blessing that is you Deborah 🍀

  9. I appreciate your writing about South Africa. I don’t get much international news, so it’s great to hear from someone on the spot. I’m not sure this message will reach you, since I’m often blocked. I think of you often and hope things will improve.

    • Thanks Anne for coming by and reading my rant 🙂 Message received. I’m sorry to hear you’re sometimes blocked? Weird … Yes, I surely hope things will get better … Too soon to Panic – the title of a book by a local tennis player many years ago 🙂

  10. I hope you see whales, Susan, as well as the sea, mountains, and friends.

    It is difficult to know what to do and how much information. I want to be informed, as I’m sure you do, too, but there is a toll. I seldom watch TV news because I don’t want to see or listen to dt. I usually get my news from (real) newspapers and NPR, and sometimes the BBC, which gives a different perspective. It’s sad that others say they don’t trust the news. Well, I certainly wouldn’t trust Fox News. 🙂

    • Thanks Merril, I hope so re the whales and all else! That puts it well about the toll on us … I don’t know where the balance is between being informed and not being informed. And reading between the lines and not getting blurry eyed. We get CNN here, not Fox. Plus the BBC, Skye, Aljazeera and Russia Today. Plus our own networks. Nothing like a good book to keep one engrossed .. my default. 🙂

  11. Boy, Susan, I feel your angst. The world is scary. The political climate here in the U.S. is beyond ghastly. I think our leaders have forgotten that they are supposed to be looking out after their people instead of themselves. However, we do have to be aware of the problems and work to change the world, and not give up. Enjoy Cape Town and RELAX!!!!

    • Hi Gwynn. Very much aware of all going on in the States. Ripple effects everywhere – 10% trade increase for SA by the US – ripple effects on our economy. Am at my desk getting ready to leave. Hot here in Johannesburg already, cold down in Cape Town! Ok I’ll try to relax! Thank you for coming by xx

  12. So much is beyond our control, and I don’t trust the news to spread the truth. We do what we can though. Yes?

    I’m happy to see that your son commented here. Also, you have a weekly Jung group. Blessings in spite of the pain, Susan!

    • You’re right Marian – the news is always slanted in some way or the other. I need to remember that! Davey has a good point about the crocs!

      Thank you for your blessings – the pain feels a little lighter. My bags are packed, I’m ready to go … John Denver methinks – I’m leaving on an airplane …

  13. What a nice post mom. I think the news definitely makes things worse than they seem. Some wildebeest might not ever cross the river because they’ve been told in the news that the crocodiles WILL get them. Have a nice time in Hermanus.

    • Ha ha Thanks Davey – a good reminder about the wildebeest who’ve been TOLD that the crocs will get them. You & Jüte have a wonderful time in Amalfi – you’ll be bowled over. (like we are back home in SA but in a totally different way).

  14. Another very thought-provoking post, Susan! I repeatedly ask the same question to the news media surrounding me, “Do I really want to know all this?” “How can I positively affect change.” When I focus on the small and immediate, I am calm. But the big picture can completely push me out of balance.

    • Thanks Donna … that’s a VERY GOOD reminder … focus on the small and immediate. The big is overwhelming. I see my younger son who’s swanning around in Europe right now has made a comment – he has a point about the media!

  15. I share your angst. Worry that your problems, the world’s problems, are heading this way, where we already have our share. I fear for my grandchildren. Fear for all children. Look what we’re leaving them with.

    Enjoy the beauty of Cape Town. It will surely be restorative, as beauty always is. I’ve just left my beautiful mountains for beauty of another kind here in Florida. But I’ll have to admire it mostly from indoors until it starts to cool off.

    Breathe, sweet friend. I’m trying to remember to do that too. And stay conscious. 🙂

    • Thanks Jeannie. Yes, it’s everywhere .. it is desperately sad. I also mentioned last night in our small group that the more conscious we or the world becomes, the more the unconscious seems to be just below the surface ready to erupt. But as C said, it’s always there below the surface ..

      Anyway … breathe too sweet Jeannie. There is beauty everywhere … I’ll pop over to your blog in a moment when I’ve sorted out some bills on my desk. I read it earlier .. 🙂

  16. Hi Jacqui – I feel for so many … it is just not an easy time and we can do what we can for others, in fact probably do more. I get frustrated when I see waste, lack of consideration, and never a care that others need hope. We need to click the refresh button on the world … get rid of the ‘crap’ and lies … have a lovely time down south – enjoy your friends … cheers Hilary

    • Hi Hilary … I’m supposing you meant the comment for me? 🙂 Frustration is a good word, I reckon that’s much of what I feel. Powerless also. A refresh button, on everything – that would be good. Thank you for coming by, and thank you, I ‘hope’ to have a good time … Susan

  17. Tragic Susan. The bread line is thinner in SA, the poor more in evidence. But the darkness in England is equally profound, so much hatred, so much identity absurdity, and more than both so much dishonesty.

    Not much hope here either.

    • Hope – what a word that is Philippa. Thinking of TS Eliot Wastelands I think it was. Dishonesty is also the worst part of it. I swear, people believe their own lies … Yes, my sympathies are with you all in the UK and the politicking. It’s a very badly staged ruddy circus .. Thank you for coming by –

  18. I feel for all my fellow South Africans, Susan. You are right about the exodus that is taking place, people no longer have hope for any improvement and it is very sad. We have lost 10 friends this year already and hope to soon join the long line of leavers. We have to think of the welfare and future of our children. I hope to take my parents with us and, luckily, my Mom is British. I feel like we are in a downward spiral and it is spinning quicker and quicker as the spiral narrows downward.

    • o dear o dear … as I write back to you the headline news says no need to panic .. the govt is working on a stimulus package so that the economy recovers. I wonder if they’re using China’s billions of dollars investment … another cause for concern. Another kind of colonisation …troubling times indeed. Thanks for coming by Robbie. I know you’re away – safe return.

  19. My heart is with you in these challenging times. I don’t trust our news here in the US so can’t comment on your situation but it sounds so darn frightening.

    • Thanks Jacqui. We’ll see. It does have a sense of crashing … perhaps like the noise and the waves the whales make when they come crashing down after their leap into the air ..

Comments are closed.