From my office window I notice the dark oak branches sprouting delicate fresh leaves and the poplars’ twigs forming fat buds. The sun rises earlier and suddenly it feels lighter. The dark days of mid-winter and lockdown are behind us.
Can you still remember what it felt like? How hopeless and dreary the future seemed in those days. In the dim days of mid-winter, we were heading for the pandemic peak and many feared the worst.
Here we are, a few weeks later and South Africa come through the pandemic with fewer deaths than expected and hospital beds to spare. Global share markets are pushing towards new heights. The Rand has recovered by 12% from its lows. For the first time in years, South African manufacturers are expecting expansion. Amongst the hardships and loss, many small businesses have achieved the nearly impossible feat of not only surviving, but thriving through innovation, guts and grind. As individuals, we have endured (some even with wine to spare ).
Of course, the pandemic can pick up again and it is likely that global markets are too optimistic of the immediate future. However, the most recent experience teaches us again that predicting or forecasting the immediate future, especially the future of financial markets, is not only hard but perhaps even pointless. Human nature hampers us. We are not good at seeing through the hardship of our current experience to a more hopeful future. It also taught us that sentiment can turn on a tickey. Indeed, life can turn on a ticky.
My dad remarked that it is only humans who don’t anticipate the new season. Nature knows that Spring will come.
Spring is in the air indeed. It may surprise us that the oak buds are out before the season turns. It should always remind us of our humanity, especially our failure to anticipate and see the future.
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//28 August 2020