Today as I listen to the rain beating out a dirge on my roof I feel no desire to go outside. There is a gloomy grey and dismal tone to the day; flowers and shrubs bend their heads forlornly. It reminds me that there once was a time when our connection to nature overshadowed all our actions. The ancient Greeks had a ritual for this time, a dromenon, in which they enacted the dance of death and rebirth. They understood that the end of winter meant not only the passing of hard times, but also the loss of many of their people. Spring came, but at a cost. Therefore they ritualised their loss so as to propitiate the spirits of their dead ancestors in order that they would protect the tribe from the spirit world. Attached to this was the celebration of the return of Spring, the possibility of new life and plenty. We live distantly from these concerns now and have become complacent about the power of Mother Nature to impact our lives so intimately. Even so, in my past work as a florist I made many wreaths for elderly townsfolk over the winter months. The winter is a time of harvest too. Looking out the rain beaded window I feel that sense of loss; the weeping heads of the flowers, the wailing of wind in the eucalypts evokes a powerful, palpable grief. It’s nothing maudlin, however, only a reminder of the need need to give thanks for what was. Out of death and decay comes new life. And so it is, that Spring reminds us that after the loss comes the celebration. As I walked around the garden a few days ago I noticed the new figs swelling on almost naked branches. Spring’s promise to us, her little joke, the fruit that is really a flower tricking us into belief in the harvest to come.