Wednesday 27 February 2013

The view from my couch: Renewal with a side of hope.

Technically there are less than two days left of Summer here in Oz, but it doesn't feel it. We have gone from scorching temps in the 40+C's to overcast and stormy, leaving an environment part dry and dead and part oppressively humid. Just enough moisture in the air that the carpet of dead foliage in the yard has started to grow a thin layer of mould. To say it's been foul is an understatement. 

Regular readers know that where I live is normally a beautiful temperate rainforest with a bazillion shades of green. But not at the moment. It is brittle and dry. We live with the constant threat of bush fires and the omnipresent sound of fire-spotting helicopters overhead. It's been a long hot Summer for the whole state and country Victoria has born the brunt of bush fires over the past few months. It seems crazy that in the north of the country my in-laws are once again dealing with mammoth floods and storm cells.

There is a famous Australian poem by Dorothea Mackellar, My Country. I remember reciting throughout primary school and still know it by heart. Even after all these years this time of year and this time of weather always brings to mind the lines:

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of rugged mountain ranges.
Of droughts and flooding rains.

We are a land of extremes but I love it and I love that no matter what, or how bad it gets, there is always a moment where you know the renewal is beginning. When the worst of Summer is over and you get the first hint of life once more. 

Today as I went to make my morning coffee I looked out the window at my brittle yard. It's depressing given that I am so used to the rich green that is normally there. The air is thick and almost unbearably heavy with unresolved storms that I wish would hurry up and break and bring the blessed relief of rain. The weather and my yard are scarily in sync with my mood. 
 My resilient fushias are nothing but sticks and dead leaves.
The tree ferns which surround the house are more a collection of dead fronds, rather than the beautiful rich green fans which sold me on the house. 
Even my usually hardy lavender is struggling. 

And then I looked over at my dead Oyster Plants....

And there was a small moment of life. 

The first of my Naked Ladies have raised their head. 

A single clean green spike with a head of large, pure white lily heads bobbing in the wind.

Just one.

A bright beacon in my otherwise dead and struggling yard.
The first sign that the worst of Summer may be coming to an end. A sign that maybe, just maybe, I could  feel a little better in the near future, as the heat dissipates and morphs into the more temperate climes of Autumn. That maybe just when you think you can bare no more, there is hope, a promise of better days and endless possibilities. 

Michelle :)

I adore Sarah Blasko. If you don't know her she's a fabulous Australian singer and you should most definitely check her out. I love her cover of Maybe This Time from Cabaret, and it seems appropriate today. Still bummed I couldn't see her when she was live at Hamer Hall with Orchestra Victoria last week


  1. Ah yes, the belladonna lilies appear just when you think you can take no more of summer and give you a glimpse of hope that autumn is on its way. They started blooming here a couple of weeks ago, lovely hardy old girls that they are.
    They are often the first plants to shoot up and bloom after bushfires too, symbols of renewal among the cinders.

    1. They are a hardy plant. I love them. Usually we have pink and white ones dotting the yard by now, but still there is only the single head. It's been so warm and dry this Summer. I think next week every day is over 30C which is unusual for this time of year which means more of the yard will die off. We finally had some rain to cool it off a bit and it is nice to see the occasional spot of green here and there. Can't wait for the proper Autumn weather. Must admit I am happiest pottering around in my garden so can't wait until it's cool enough for me to get back out there properly.


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