As I do my Tai Chi by the sea, I look back and see the bare-limbed face of winter. It's the flame tree, whose branches from this angle seem to be scratching the sky. All the leaves are gone now, and the shape of the tree is revealed.
When I look back to the west, I see the leafy face of winter, in the pohutukawa tree. It rises up against the sky and seems to be softly brushing the blue. Like nearly all of our native trees, the pohutukawa keeps its leaves throughout the winter.
Once this land was clothed in thick, lush evergreen vegetation. I've grown up valuing our native trees, learning their names, and planting them wherever I can. Despite this favouritism however, I must say that a little splash of exotic colour brings me great delight as I shiver my way back home.
Here we have it: one of the bromeliads that have been planted down our driveway. This one is so fresh and perky, I could almost be deceived into thinking that spring has leapt in early.
In the bleak days of mid-winter, I need surprises such as this.