A season of hope in a year plagued with difficulties
Spring, a season of hope
The year 2020 has been a difficult one. It has tested every aspect of human resilience, with many experiencing multiple tragedies. We have survived thus far, but the degree of trauma that human beings and society can endure is fast reaching its limit. Despite the continued tangible manifestations of the difficulties of the year, the yearning for hope escalates as stress-fatigue sets in.
September comes just in time to provide us with the straw that we need to clutch on to. For this month of spring is pregnant with hope. It is the season in which nature conspires to awaken us from our slumber by discarding the dreariness of winter. Its gentle rains give birth to an inspirational mosaic, as a carpet of green covers the brown earth; leaves and buds clothe naked trees; and flowers weave a tapestry of colour that delights the eyes. A cacophony of sound fills the air as birds resume their early morning briefings; and crickets and frogs keep us awake as they delegate nocturnal tasks.
Khalil Gibran celebrates the beauty of Lebanon in spring, but he had not seen the beauty of Namaqualand. The exquisiteness of the scenery is aptly captured on the town’s promotional site that states, “What at first glance appears to be a wilderness of semi-desert - arid, dusty plains that stretch before one, dramatic mountains in the background, with little by way of colour or animation - is suddenly transformed, as if by a painter with a manic palette, into a pageant of flowers.”
The traditional myriad of tourists that travel miles to witness this marvel was captured by poets like Charl JC Cilliers, who wrote:
It’s mid-September in Namaqualand.
After the rains the stones take root
and blossom from the hills down to the streams.
Each morning, as the earth warms up, a mist
of colour spreads: God’s gasp of wonderment.
Tourists splash along the muddy country roads
through open farm gates that let God’s garden in.
From Kamieskroon to Skilpad, Garagams and Groenrivier,
Garies, Wallekraal, Soebatsfontein
the flowering fields have gone unharvested
till mid-September’s parching storms of dust.
We turn to Namaqualand as a metaphor of our despair; for our current state appears as hopeless as the desert; and because we deeply desire that, as spring annually brings life to this arid land, it will also invigorate us with a new sense of hope and energy to tackle our current woes.
The titillating sensuality of spring, which restores our trusted bond with nature, is simply irresistible. The extra hours of light and warmth carry large doses of serotonin and Vitamin D. Serotonin’s natural form of ecstasy evokes happiness despite conditions of gloom. Vitamin D’s healing power soothes not only the body, but also the mind. And so, against our will, we are forced to embrace the reality that spring is the figurative and literal bridge between the darkness of winter and the bright future that summer holds.
Spring presents an assurance that there are always opportunities for renewal; and an assertion that the capacity for renewal and even progress, resides within us. Vladimir Lenin says, “Victory will belong only to those who have faith in the people, those who are immersed in the life-giving spring of popular creativity.”
Regardless of our anger about what the government is doing or is not doing; or our apprehensions due to our ailing economy, we must pause and cherish the moment. We are entitled to mentally escape life’s frustrations; to enjoy the new delight that spring brings to our senses; and to prepare for Heritage Day with zeal. Nourishing the energy that constitutes life frees us of our anxieties and provides us with the much-needed empowerment required to optimally exploit the hope that this season brings.
* Reneva Fourie is a policy analyst specialising in governance, development and security and currently lives in Damascus, Syria.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of IOL.