I realise the first half the year is over, gone, and we’re entering into the second half which will no doubt fly by as swiftly. The solstice is at 10.50 p.m. tonight –

It is rather exciting to anticipate the nights getting incrementally shorter and days longer. Sunrise and sunsets seem to be especially beautiful and dramatic in winter. This is from Sunday sunrise June 12 2022. I had just returned the previous day from Johannesburg.

I think we’re still to experience the true bite of winter. The clouds and mist arising from the sea beyond the lagoon in the photo below from my bedroom balcony looks cold. I enjoy this quieter, darker time, reminiscent to me of going inwards – and, as the sunrise photo reminds me, the return of the light –

We were away for just over a week recently. We took a road trip, inland, the R62, into the Karoo. It was spectacular in every way. The beauty of the mountains, rocks & boulders, rivers, waterfalls. The quaintness and quirkiness of small towns. Food, markets. Watching the tennis semi-final at Garros on a large TV in a pub in Greyton and meeting a wonderful couple and having extraordinary conversations. The best bookshop in the world in Barrydale. Even it’s entrance was exotic. It’s owner so special.

the sign ‘House of Books’ is on upper half of right hand side

our Barry-dale airbnb

Greyton Nature reserve

autumn colours

Greyton protea reserve

protea

While travelling, I was on an ongoing high. Everything seem infused with a glowing energy. Colours seemed brighter, more vivid. Bird song was sweet. People and places seemed enchanted. Some extraordinary synchronistic happenings occurred. I didn’t question it, rather just enjoyed the experiences as they happened and acknowledged them with gratitude. I thought my husband caught the contagion too. We didn’t discuss it. Our steps were lighter, we talked more than usual, laughed more than usual, more spontaneous in our exploring, no desire to have plans set in stone for the next day –

We had the elections at the end of May. The corrupt ANC (African National Congress) was certain beyond any shadow of a doubt that they would gain an outright majority. This backfired spectacularly. Against all odds, the opposition party, the DA (Democratic Alliance), has gone into a coalition with the ANC and one or two other parties. This was announced last Friday. Other parties are entirely back footed, angry and promise trouble, and say that the ANC has sold them out. Mr Ramaphosa has been re-instated as president, yesterday at his inauguration. Cabinet ministers are still to be announced. Policy agendas to be worked out. The DA has a track record of delivery, clean audits, increasing employment in DA-run towns and cities (Cape Town is DA run). As a business analyst said, this represents a force for good. So, we’ll see. It’s all pretty amazing and extraordinary. The DA says it is not jostling for cabinet positions, it really wants to begin the business of repairing SA and its 30 years of carnage by the ANC. The youth has woken up as have the general population. We could not have continued on this trajectory any longer. So, we’ll see. Early days. Who guards the guardians …

I’d heard the whispers of hope in social media for positive outcome for South Africa. Hope was seen as the absolute last resort for this beleaguered country under ANC rule for 30 years, brought to its knees, staring into the abyss. Hope was not my familiar. It’s too fragile a thing. I’m reminded of TS Eliot: hope for the wrong thing … and a feeling akin to despair was afoot. But I think I caught a whiff of hope and it was transformative for me for in those several days away. It may have been the sheer beauty of everything, Mother Nature in all her majesty and simplicity that gave me a hopeful feeling; that somehow, we’ll survive this. And that feeling, whatever it was, was energising, lifting, unbelievably special –

throne in art nouveau hotel in BarryDale: The Karoo Art Hotel

in room next to room behind the door where poetry reading was in progress. We spoke to a man who said he read ‘Slouching to Bethlehem’ ..

I thought about trauma and how as a country we’ve been so traumatised. The Covid-19 period. The corruption of our politicians. An unsafe country with the highest murder rate, GBV, lawlessness, highest unemployment. Not just trauma in my back yard, but in the world. Collective trauma is felt individually too. Collectively we’ve all suffered trauma, some places much more than others. As well as places we don’t even hear about in the general distribution of news. Death, destruction, despair, displacement on a gigantic scale, warfare, fires, flooding, starvation –

surfers at Muizenberg. Is that a surfer in the sky?

Chapman’s Peak

inner outside wall of our bnb in Rondebosch, Cape Town.

Walk in suburb of neighbouring suburb, Newlands.

Beauty has been a healing balm.

another view of Chapman’s Peak

lightning from balcony at home on Monday night

We saw a few old and very dear friends in Cape Town. Our topic of conversation was often on aging and how necessary it is to be aware of death. It is such a beautiful and clean city. The roads are excellent. The drive home last Friday was lovely. I’m happy to be home. We had lunch here at home on Sunday for Father’s Day. Sam, our 2 1/2 yr old grandson said grace before the meal. My eyes and ears nearly popped out of my skull. Neil brought out large framed photographs of his and my father and acknowledged them.

I haven’t written a blog post in 6 months. I feel out of practice. I feel I could carry on, and on and on and post lovely photographs. More rivers and waterfalls. More hills and valleys. More of Mother Nature and her healing powers. Since we were in the area the one day we went looking for an airbnb we stayed at in Constantia in Cape Town some while ago. I would have booked there if I’d remembered the name. We thought we’d try to find it so we would book it for next time. As lovely as our Rondebosch airbnb was, the Constantia one was particularly spacious. My husband rang the blooming bell. Anyway he re-met Linda, and has details for next time. It’s such a pretty suburb.

Thank you for reading. I hope this finds you well. It’s election year around the world. We can only hope that potential leaders and the population will be guided well.

Namaste – may the Force be with you –

41 Comments on Winter Solstice

  1. Hi Susan, I love to read about your travels through your beautiful country and see your photographs. It sounds like all those years of stress and tension living under a corrupt government have made your latest journey out into the mountains and valleys an even greater sanctuary than usual for you. Nature is an amazing healer and I have to admit when we get up to the lake district fells in the uk it has a similar effect – everything seems greener and my steps lighter!
    I hope that the new coalition brings peace and calm to your country – I’m hoping for one here too, it does seem like its election year everywhere and change is on the horizon, hopefully for the better.

    • Thanks so much for coming by Lin, really appreciate it. There’s a joy in taking photos as you know only too well. I love looking back. Do I see what I saw and captured through fresh eyes when looking back? I think so. The negotiations that are going on right now between the ANC and the DA are pretty fragile. The president has still to announce the cabinet ministers. This all reminds me of the series ‘House of Cards’. We saw the UK version many years ago, set in Margaret Thatcher’s time if i remember correctly and then of course there was the US version … both so topical! And as scary as all hell … the world of politics. Yours is next week! Good grief. And Good Luck!

  2. Hi Susan, Always nice to read your updates.😀 Egad…yes, fly by quickly. Your photo from June 12th is spectacular! The photo of the bookshop shares an amazing, unique vibe. I appreciate being reminded about your autumn colours when we are entering our Summer…the diverse seasons of our precious planet. I Googled “protea” to learn more. “…extraordinary synchronistic happenings…” hits home. I have begun documenting them and driving my husband batty with the conversations.

    I don’t have the words to truly acknowledge your beautiful photos. Nice to read about Sam (2 1/2, already, when did that happen?) Thank you for sharing your wise words. Namaste, Susan. xo 💕 Erica

    • Hi Erica, egad and gazooks time flies. Tempus fugit. Glad you got the vibe of the bookshop. Oooo did I have an experience inside. A shaggy dog story extraordinaire. Can you enlarge the photo? Are you documenting the synchronicities? Did I understand you correctly? This is a jolly good idea, thank you for saying so. Mike’s girlfriend gave me a belated birthday present the other day, one of which in the lovely things is a journal. Still in its cellophane wrapping but as we speak I am unwrapping it. And a pen, which writes so well, lightly and smoothly and feels comfortable. Which I’ve just used now to write in the journal…. o my stars ….I’m thinking of one that happened on Friday … well, let me say it was only the next day (yesterday) that I ‘saw’ it …
      Anyway, we’re off now for a barbecue at Mike’s house .. it’s a fine day, I’ve made an amazing broccoli salad and all is well with the world. Thank you for coming by Erica, I was hoping you would, and thank you for your kind words! Hope all is well with you and your family and your beautiful world ..

      • Nice to hear from you, Susan! My husband and daughters will likely say ‘don’t get Erica started on synchronicities.’ You and I could fill a book on this one. I believe everyone has them? Whether we pay attention? We all have busy days, and do we bother to stop and notice? You likely have read a popular book, “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. Many gems in this book, and I don’t agree with everything, yet a learn a great deal. (Paraphrasing here: she talks about noticing the synchronicities in our lives each week and documenting them) I should have started doing this when I was 6, a noticer, beginning to write. She also stresses writing longhand and I have issues with my hands.

        Nice to be surrounded by the love of your family and friends, Susan. Enjoy the barbecue. When I leave this page I will enlarge the photo. 🦋💕Erica

        • I’ll pull out my Julia Cameron this week Erica thank you for saying so. Synchronicities seem to occur when we’re open to them … doing s short cut here, a copy and paste from Dr. Google. ‘Synchronicity is what happens when seemingly unrelated events coincide in improbable ways that have some sort of significance for you. Jung believed synchronicities were evidence of a unifying consciousness at play in the universe, creating physical manifestations of what’s happening in our psyche’. Yes and paying attention is the greatest gift …
          I’ve used my lovely book and pen – I like writing longhand …
          Have a wonder-filled week Erica xx

  3. Great to see a post from you! Although I definitely like having more daylight at the end of the day, there is indeed something different about the shortening days that take you inward – and not just indoors. Of course some people hate the shorter days – I like both!

    • Thanks Barbara so much for stopping by. I like the punctuation of seasons with the equinoxes and solstices. Each has their own extraordinary meaning … from light to dark, dark to light, germinating, harvesting … bursting forth and so on! Full moon tomorrow although she looks pretty full right now. Have a lovely weekend.

  4. Oh, it’s simply wonderful to catch up with all your news and travels dear Susan! Both outer and inner journeys, photos above, images below! Thank you so much for sharing them all. Plus, reading your replies and comments enriches your post, so when I reached the lines where you say you’re out of practice, I smile to myself knowing how much, like myself, you’re drawn to write, so am thoroughly delighted you couldn’t resist the urge! Sending you much love and Solstice light across the oceans between us, your poet friend, Deborah.

    • Hello my dear poet friend across the seas, shore, vale and dale! Just back from a busy morning, hiking a bit on the Robberg. I agree that comments make the whole endeavour of a blog post so (extra) worthwhile. It’s always such a pleasure to hear back …
      About to check who’s playing at Queens. I’m a great tennis fan. Well done on Draper (UK) knocking Alcaraz out yesterday. Sorry about Andy Murray tying up his tennis tackies. Are the strawberries extra delicious this year round. Have a wonderful weekend. Love, Susan

  5. Wow susan, its always a pleasure to read your post, you put in so much efforts in writing in details of everything thats happening in your life, loved your journey, and wonderful clicks – I smiled as i read your grandson said the grace; and yes there is so much of challenges everywhere we had the elections to in our country, and the we thought democracy will have a natural death, but thanks be to God there are people who can still think and make a proper choice, so we did not have majority win; that itself is a strong message that the opposition this time is stronger than what it was; just pray and hope that Leaders work towards growth and prosperity of the country reducing the divide between rich and the poor. I have been having a rough time too… but have emerged resilient and getting back to the routine… thanks for sharing:) this post is motivating me to take a nice break among either a road trip or just playing at the seashore, may the force be with you too:)

    • So lovely to hear from you Genevive and happy to hear that you’ll be taking a break of a road trip or a visit to the sea shore. I think a change of scenery goes a long way to restoring an equilibrium. And if you’ve been unwell, I hope that this fully replenishes your physically and soul-wise. I heard that India (Modi) did not have a majority win. It’s interesting that the opposition’s voice is being heard, ie the people’s voice. Political leaders must give up the idea that they are G.d-like, as must those who vote for them. The UK and the US are both coming up for elections – as are many other countries around the globe.

    • Thanks Dave- also anniversary of car accident 11years ago. Dangling fingers. You prayed over me while I was sitting next to upturned car. Got me through I tell ya

  6. lt’s wonderful to hear from you. Your enthusiasm for nature’s beauty and wonders effortlessly drew me in. We’ll leave soon for the mountain scenery I so love and miss. As Kohn Muir wrote, “The Mountains are calling and I must go!” Love and blessings to you. Enjoy your journey through the winter solstice. Love, Jeanie

    • Lovely to hear from you Jeanie thank you so much for stopping by. I sometimes thank my lucky stars for being alive, now, at this time, this place, in spite of all the hardships and tragedy in the world. Sometimes. Now, as I look out my study window and see the almost full moon rising high in the sky and its reflection in the sea, I can only wonder. Enjoy your mountains and rivers Jeanie, the birds and the bees, the butterflies, family – Love to you and happy Summer Solstice.

  7. Here WE are at our longest day, Susan. The days will start getting shorter. That’s OK, because I start preparing dinner and don’t realize it’s gotten so late, because it’s still light out, and I won’t be eating until 9 p.m. This is beautifully written — you don’t seem out of practice. Thanks for all the lovely pictures — always so nice to see what your part of the world looks like — a mini vacation. One wonders how corruption could exist in such a beautiful land. I do hope the government formed by your recent election makes governance clean and brings the beauty and peace that you hope for and have long deserved. Namaste. –Carol

    • Sorry if it seems I’ve taken a while to respond Carol! In the spam file 🙁 And the one below! It’s a lesson to always check. I saw just by chance. I heard that revolutionary parties invariably have a shelf life of 25-30 years. Don’t ask me to back this up with source. Just something I’ve been aware of for some time. Our first democratic election gave us Mr. Nelson Mandela. But sadly there were (and still are) some seriously crooked politicians. The govt and cabinet ministers are still to be made – even today. I’ll check on TV news just now. Have a wonderful weekend. Well done on getting Begins the Night Music out … I especially want my dear Cape Town friend to have access to this – her husband has dementia. Will attend to that just now .. 🙂 xx

  8. Hi Susan, what a wonderful time away you had. South Africa is a beautiful country. I’m glad you are feeling refreshed and positive. It doesn’t really help not to be although it can be very hard. Could you fb message me the name of the B&B in Constanta. I’ll be in CPT in the spring.

    • Hi Robbie, you know too as you and family do a fair amount of travelling! And how inspiring this can be. I’ll send you the Constantia details soon … have to get them off my husband. Are you feeling any more confident about SA? There’s much grumbling going on … Thank you for coming by and have a lovely weekend.

  9. Sis, I loved reading your piece on your travels. Happiness, appreciation, friends, beauty, interesting chats with husband who you felt had the same happy and relaxed vibrations. It all made me happy and I’m smiling

    • Thank you dear Sis for coming by! Glad you felt the vibe and you felt happy. As you know we can laugh our heads off sometimes when we get together. It’s contagious!

  10. Your post is a reminder that your part of the world is enduring winter as we are experiencing summer, here with super hot temps. Also, I’m happy to read that you had a positive outcome in the election. May the good flourish because as you say, “collective trauma is felt individually too.”

    Thanks also for showing the beauty of nature, Susan, including clouds! 😀

    • Happy Summer Solstice Marian. I’ve read about the extreme temps in the States, and elsewhere in the world. I remember a few years ago people died in high numbers in Europe due to extreme heat. It’s the humidity that gets to me when it and temps are high.
      Thanks for coming by – full moon on Saturday! 🙂

  11. I am so glad to hear the good news with your elections. A few countries have had similar experiences (France comes to mind) so I’m hopeful the world will get better. We (the US) have ours in November, but there’s so much corruption in voting, I’m not sure we can pull things out.

    Love your restful pictures.

    • Le Pen in France – right wing but popular because of her statement to get rid of immigrants. Trump saying the same thing. We have illegal foreigners here. On it goes. Thanks for coming by Jacqui … hope all well.

  12. Happy Solstice, Susan. Your landscapes are so varied and beautiful. Good luck with your government. Even a bit of hope is good. As you can imagine, we’re anxious in my part of the world. Summer solstice for us.

    • Happy Summer Solstice Merril. Your photos and the life and loveliness of them never fail to bring joy to this (my) jaded heart. The president here may yet face impeachment charges. In spite of this extraordinary ‘good’ turnaround we’ve just experienced, there’s still more to hit the fan. I hope hope hangs on something more substantial than a thread of gossamer –

  13. Hi,
    Time does move swiftly. It awakens within us the desire to enjoy the beauty of nature and to be thankful that we can behold the many changing colors that move as fast as the changing of time.
    I hope you are fine.
    Shalom shalom

    • Thanks Pat – yes the changes of the seasons and the swiftness of time do awaken a sense of gratitude. All is well Pat and I hope the same with you.
      Shalom, Susan

  14. How wonderful it was to wake up to your post this morning! I now feel refreshed by your outlook on life. I had forgotten the solstice! Last night I marveled at how long the daylight lasted. Now I know why. Silly me for not noticing the calendar!

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