Thursday, October 31, 2013

Does it matter?

 Does it matter that we celebrate seasonal festivals at the right point of the cycle? Here in New Zealand/Aotearoa all of nature is alive with growth.
 The cabbage trees are profuse in their creamy flowers.
 The whau is in flower. Everywhere, nature is greening.
And so today I celebrate Green Day, the time of peak green energy. To the Maori this season was Whiringanuku, a time for planting. To my Celtic ancestors it was Beltane, the threshold to summer.
Unfortunately the commercial world has in recent years imported the northern hemisphere festival of the dead at this time, and children are running around in black with spooky masks and demands for trick or treats.
This is not our tradition. Here it is spring time. My bach garden is growing apace. Foliage is arching over the streets of our city. It's a season of life and resurrection, hope and joy. That's what I'm celebrating today, and why I've defiantly pinned a sprig of green on to my jacket. To me, it does matter that we align with our own seasons.
Happy Beltane!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Cascades and Canopies

 Green tunnels are forming everywhere down the streets where I travel.
 The spring growth is exuberant
and the trees seem to be reaching up to the sky.
Cascades of daisies tumble along the footpaths.
 Spring knows no bounds.
 Wistaria falls in creamy cascades,
exuding sweet fragrance,
and despite a persistent wind, the sun is shining. More warmth creeps into every day. Ah, fickle spring, are you really here to stay?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The painted ladies want to dance

 Ok girls, now that we've got our spring finery on, and it's Saturday night, how about we go dancing?
 Ooh, but have you peeped your fancy face around the corner? Don't you know there's a storm raging out there?
 Mmm, see what you mean.
 It's been sloshing in over the beach all afternoon, wave after wave,
 enough to ruin a girl's hairdo, to say nothing of her frills and flounces.
Look at this little green branch, torn off the tree and left to swim as best it can.
No, we'll just have to wait until it passes (sigh).

Friday, October 11, 2013

Turning the soil

There's something so hopeful about starting a new spring garden. It means a renewal of faith, investment in a new cycle, and commitment to seeing it through.
I was out at the bach last weekend, and the earth was calling. It's been so long since I've done any gardening, and I couldn't wait to begin. Up the road I discovered bright young seedlings for sale: tomatoes, courgettes (zucchini), lettuce, and marigolds (good for companion planting)
 Planting is the gratifying part of making a new garden. But first, hard work is needed.
Onion weed has taken advantage of my absence and decided that the garden belongs to it.
There are a few nice surprises as well; what I call 'accidental plants':  celery that self-seeded from the year before, 
 and potatoes, which were hiding in the earth even though I never planted them.
At last the ground is clear, and the tomato plants are popped into the soil. Deep below their roots is a little cluster of sheep pellets waiting to feed the growing plant.
I'm aching all over and will feel it even more the next morning, but how satisfying it is to plant hope once more!

Monday, October 7, 2013

The incredible lightness of spring

 At last I'm heading out west. And on the way I enjoy the many signs of spring: blossoms frothing out of the trees at the organic growers' place,
 the spray of new foliage in their orchard,
 and coming up the driveway to the bach, these little blue flowers are jauntily dancing.
 Hello bach, I've missed you so much! Everything is green and lush here.
This glass decal used to belong to my mother, and I think of her whenever I look at it. The deep blue is the actual colour of the little flowers that line the driveway (the photo has bleached them out). My mother loved blue, and so do I.
 Native trees are flowering everywhere. This ngaio has little oil glands in the leaves, and Maori crushed them to use as an insect repellent.
 The hillsides are covered with kowhai, now finishing their flowering. A shining cuckoo sings from high in the treetops, and on the telephone wire a kingfisher sits, watching the waters of the stream.
Back home, I find this Chinese lantern tree flowering profusely in my friend's garden. The tree fell over in the recent storm, but she staked it up again and it looks pretty happy.

The weekend was gentle, warm, with little wind. Spring is showing its happy face at last, bringing lightness and wonder. Aah! (big sigh of contentment and relief)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Let's make . . .

 At last, a bright, warm spring day! What shall we do?
 Let's dig in the sand. Let's turn the darkness into a castle.
Let's make a flower castle!
 Yes, we filled our bag with all that we would need, on our way here.
The fairies will love this. We'll leave it for them to play in.
 And now that we're back home, let's make an orange candle. First we will squeeze the orange and drink the juice. Then we'll scrape it out and stud it with cloves. Smell them! Aren't they spicy?
Here it is, all ready to show mummy when she comes. And you will take it home with you to show daddy too. Bye Bye. So good to see you, my darling spring sprite!