And then there were more
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
I like to savour such moments. Before I set out to walk to the post shop, I enjoyed crunching into one of these 'NZ Beauty' apples, which are now filling the bins at the Health Food shop.
As I walked along the streets, I felt a mix of warm sun on my back and cool autumn wind at my front. The season is turning.
This weekend we turn our clocks back, and the evenings will be dark much earlier. But the cicadas were still singing as I turned up the hill, and at the post shop I found the nice man at the counter, who advised me to pay a little more so the parcel can be tracked. I'm submitting the work for an award for an unpublished ms. It will be several months before I hear anything, and meanwhile I give thanks for the harvest. Although the work has been hard at times, it has also been as sweet and juicy as the fruits of this season.
Friday, March 23, 2012
This autumn gift arrived today from the south island. Here it is, freshly unwrapped from its litttle box.
What is it?
I've never seen such a thing before.
Here's a clue: my fingers were sticky as I unpacked it, and when I licked them - yumm!
Here's another clue: a slice of this orange delight, just before spreading.
The gift was sent by an appreciative reader in the south island. She is living on the land and loves to share stories of what's happening on her lifestyle block. And now I will reveal all: this is a round of quince jelly. It's an annual ritual for her to make it, and she loves watching it 'turn from translucent pale yellow to this rich autumn amber.'
This gift is a special treat for reasons that my south island friend doesn't know. When I was first married I decided to make jam, using the abundant quinces that were falling off the tree in the garden. They were ugly fruit, and not particularly edible, but I was told that they made marvellous jam or jelly. Armed with a preserving pan borrowed from my mother, and her instructions about how to know when to stop boiling the mixture, I embarked on the adventure of jam making.
Alas! My neighbour, who knew everything, popped in. She kept discouraging me from stopping and potting the jam, saying it needed more boiling. And so I boiled it on and on. The next morning what did I find? Pots of toffee that were so hard they couldn't be approached. I threw the whole lot away and never tried jam-making again.
Now this beautiful circle of quince jelly has arrived through my letterbox. The wheel has come full circle. I can at last enjoy the autumn blessings of the quince.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
What a marvel, that nature could ripen all these fruits with so little sun. Yet the bountiful rain has no doubt helped them to grow juicy and fat.
Happy Equinox, wherever you are, in spring or in autumn. Around the world the light and dark are in balance. It's fruiting time here in the southern hemisphere, even though the green is just appearing in the north. Wherever you are, I send you an abundance of delectable tastes.
Monday, March 19, 2012
Yesterday was cloudy and the beach a little sombre, with the tide right out and the clouds darkening overhead.
Even a sombre day yields its gifts: the pleasure of long-term friendship, the uncoiling of our lives from school days, and the shared love of this wild west coast.
Friday, March 16, 2012
One o'clock, two o'clock, three o'clock, four.
Summer's gone, it's out the door
It didn't come here anyway
Still the children want to play.
What's the time, Mr Wolf?
Five o'clock, six o'clock, seven o'clock eight
Autumn's here, it can't be late
eight o'clock, nine o'clock ten o'clock eleven
The sun came out, today was heaven.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
We are here for the Play Centre annual camp, with many other families, lots of little children, and an atmosphere of co-operation. Everyone looks out for everyone's children, as they run from one cabin or tent to the other, enjoying the fun of visiting Other People's Places, which are always so much more fascinating than one's own. I do my Tai Chi on the deck, and discover a cluster of little faces at the window next door, all watching with great interest.
It's a beautiful mirror of the way we are, I think, as we sit at a shared meal and barbecue in the evening. The newspapers are so full of bad stories about the treatment of children. I've cancelled my newspapers for a couple of months, to allow some breathing space while I finish my book. Being with the Play Centre community reaffirms my faith in the good values of so many of our parents. They love their children, show great patience, and talk to them kindly.
Little Mira, when I commented how kind she was to give me a special shiny shell, carefully selected, solemnly declared: 'When I die and turn into different people, they will all be kind too.'
What a comforting thought, that kindness can go forth and multiply.
Mira said, 'the sea has covered the sandcastles and turned them into sand.'
And so we leave, our marks erased, but our hearts full with the knowledge that some old values are alive and well.
Thursday, March 8, 2012
This time, there was at last a fine patch amidst the rainy days and I'd thought we could go to the beach. But wearing a fairy dress?
And so the afternoon passed . . . Before going home, the fairy made sure we took a bucketful of seaweed back with us - 'for Daddy's garden.' After all, she is the garden fairy.