Sunday, April 25, 2010

Autumn planting

Planted celery today, in a deep trench with compost and lime. Took some outside leaves off to help the little seedlings deal with the shock of transplanting. Gave them lots of water. In 8 months' time there will be crisp, light green stalks all ready to crunch in the mouth. It's good to know that some plants like cool nights and grow well over winter, even if slowly. Good too, to plant for several months ahead like this. In a fast culture, nice to plant slow food.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Descending into darkness

It happens quite rapidly, once daylight saving has ended and autumn equinox has passed. Suddenly the evenings are dark and the descent time has begun. Even the weather forecaster picks up the undercurrent: the NZ Herald reports this from weatherwatch analyst Phillip Duncan: 'He likened the descent into winter to a staircase with a series of drops and plateaus. "And we are starting to see that kind of downstairs movement."' Exactly what I describe in my new book Dancing with the Seasons. There I link the descent with stories and myths of journeys to the underworld.

Kiwi Halloween is approaching on April 30. I'm preparing for the Ponsonby Rd vigil, lighting candles and pumpkin lanterns for the dead. This is the threshold, this is when we step on the stairway downwards.

Monday, April 19, 2010

season of sad thoughts

The season is shifting, bringing melancholy thoughts with it as summer slips away, the golden days recede, and nature resumes its tale of loss. Time to turn within and prepare to hunker down. Think comfort, nurture. Gathered bags of pine cones with a friend last week, getting ready for wood fires, anticipating cosiness. Pulled a woollen scarf from the wardrobe before taking a beach walk in the wind. Bought the last beef steak tomatoes, cracked and marked with late season hardship. Bought feijoas, sweet and juicy. Each season has its old parts, that wither and demand release. Each season also has its new energy, and its own treasure. I need to remember this, when I find myself resisting, wanting to hold on to the old season that is stomping on my knuckles, demanding release.

autumn creatures

A pair of black oyster catchers on the beach; one pulls up a leg, pretending injury. I sit on thick grass overlooking the sea and a black cricket hops on to my hand, waving its fine antennae. A million ants have invaded the bach loft, bringing a million tiny white eggs. They've infiltrated stored papers, boxes of art materials, even cassette tapes. Rats and mice start attempting to invade at this time of year but a black cat now prowls the land, leaving the old rodent corpse on the driveway. It's the creatures that signal the need to draw in and hunker down.

Last glow

Beginning of April (but posted a bit later)
This sandwiched warmth, between slices of cool morning and evening. Dry soil, not yet ready for seedlings. Clearing garden debris, making compost piles. Basking in pockets of evening sun. Flaring sunsets. Pumpkins and kumaras appearing, sweet Gala apples and packham pears, with bunches of grapes. Starting to think soup instead of salad. Inserting a top sheet under the duvet.