Saturday, May 31, 2014


It is a perfect summer day here in Albany. The early morning fog has given way to blue skies. I am sitting in my tiny patch of garden, next to my greek-isle-reminiscent yellow table, reading. My head and back of my neck are being gently caressed by the leaves of my curly willow tree. I have my hand in the soil surrounding the tree, and am enjoying the perfect bit of shade it provides, and am reminded of how I love trees.
A friend gave me two small branches of a curly willow that her neighbor was cutting down. I put them in a bucket and when both branches sprouted hairy roots offered one to my neighbor ,and I placed one in a pot. That was four years ago. Each summer the leaves have returned to the bare branches and this summer it is just perfect. Large enough for me to sit under its branches, and to provide me with shade.
Last weekend I removed a fuchsia plant that has been here for longer than I have, and which has been diseased for that same amount of time.  I removed the old woody roots and stems and the leaves with the disease which causes them to curl and wrinkle, and turn from green to spotty yellow with definite strange  deformities at their base. I have now put in a lace-leaf Japanese maple, and am hoping that it will grow and flourish like my curly willow, and that I can continue to enjoy this wonderful outdoor spot.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


I was considering entitling this entry 'triad' 'trinity' 'triangle' - then I looked at the date of my last entry - just over 3 months ago - hence the title.
Let me try to explain - after I was in America for about 5 years I began to pay attention to three rather distinct identities residing within me. My South African self, my Israeli self, and my emerging American self.
For the most part they all manage to exist without too much conflict. Over these last few months , however, these identities have emerged strongly again. For one thing, I will be visiting South Africa later this year - I have an important high school reunion to attend, and of course will see relatives, friends, and as much of the country as time and funds permit. So my South aArican identity has  resurfaced strongly. A month ago I went to a Johnny Clegg concert which was a walk down memory lane. The very same night I returned to messages on my answering machine and in Facebook from friends in Israel to say they were thinking of me. That night of the concert was the eve of Memorial Day in Israel. That night my dreams were of South Africa and Israel - populated with a mix of friends and scenery from both countries It was only when I opened my eyes the next morning that I realized that I am in Albany, California.Then 2 weeks ago I received a call from an Israeli friend who lives in New York to tell me that an American friends of ours who now lives in Israel had arrived in America and apparently had a major stroke. The next week was filled with e-mails and calls from many people I knew in Israel who are now all over the States. I found it extremely difficult to divorce myself from all of this and go to work and all my activities here as if everything is just fine. In fact, here in America I am just fine - on the surface, while my psyche roils between countries, memories and places.
At the same time as all these events are occurring I am attending classes in life coaching. Of course these classes require much self reflection - who am I? where am I? what do I do? what have I done? This time, instead of seeing all of this as inner turmoil or conflict, I am choosing to view this as enriching. I do not necessarily need to have 'one' unifying aspect - rather, let the different parts exist side by side occasionally blending together, but mostly not, and to view this as okay.
And this view may change ........