The ocean roar of wind crashes through the canopy of the eucalypts surrounding the garden with as much power and fury as a west coast beach in a storm. Down below all is calm and bathed in warm sunlight, the merest waving of leaves a pale reflection of what occurs above. Spring continues her unfolding – one step forward, two steps back, emerging then finding things not entirely to her liking she retreats again. It’s as though Persephone isn’t fully prepared to give up her dark lover.
For me too, I’m happy to lay in bed on cold and rainy days, reading a book and contemplating; only to find the next day I’m sun-seduced into a full days garden activity – planting, seed sowing, dreaming up my next project. The creatures also respond to the call of the sun; the garden is full of birds again today, bees are out gathering pollen with serious intent. Fortunately the blossoms seem to have timed their arrival to avoid the stormy period so an abundant harvest is still possible. Although, until Spring has fully unfolded and all her petals have dropped there are no guarantees – she is youthful fickleness – a lesson in both the discomfort and pleasure of transformation. As I embrace the lesson I feel a child-like curiosity and anticipation arise and a quiet acceptance that it is all out of my hands.
Everywhere around me this morning my eye catches the vibrating reflections of sunlight on water, on spider-web filament, the veil-like wings of bee. It is beautifully warm with a crisp gentle breeze blowing quiet notes in the background. I can barely hear the water as it goes over the falls; only the vibrant movement of the sun’s reflected journey through the rocks tells of its aliveness. There is such stillness today; a feeling of lightness and clarity in the garden. Like the wide held arms of a welcoming Mother she gathers me in.
I sit, the sun warming my face and arms, feeling back in time to all those who sat before me experiencing that same golden kiss. I glory in a visitation from the gentle Mother, her quiet presence a harbinger to new and exciting possibilities. At first I think she has held her breath; but no, there is a gentle, even pulsing. Time slows down, the garden breathes in and out in time with Her breath as she prepares for rest. I know that soon, she will withdraw to her bower; days will shorten further and icy cold will be evidence of her unavailability. She leaves us reminders of her love in the glorious reds and oranges of dying leaves, winter flowering Kniphofias and Agaves; the flames of the hearth in lieu of the rays of the sun. She cares for us even in the darkest days as she incubates the new world, soon to be reborn.
A joyful flush of new flowers to inspire and uplift.
My exhaustion is reflected in the exhaustion and desiccation of my garden. No rain means no reviving. Our spirits are dried out and desperate for renewal. I’ve been watching the horizon intently for signs of Autumn’s approach. I’ve even Autumn-cleaned my house. All in readiness for the long-awaited arrival whose accompanying entourage will embellish the garden with shades of red, gold and orange. Plump raindrops will freshen grass, late seasons fruit will swell and sweeten. Harvest will be upon us and we will revel in its abundance; only let it be soon….
Well, it’s not much, dear friends, but we have had rain! Long enough and slow enough to sink in and do some good. Everywhere the garden is reviving; new shoots show themselves, the last flushes of flowers bloom. The weather is still warm, a gentle heat the harbinger of Autumn – a warmth that encourages me out into the garden again. Unlike the Northern Hemisphere where gardens are left to ‘over-winter’ because the ground is too cold and hard, here my garden must ‘over-summer’. Dry earth is hard too and cultivation leads to desiccation. As well, the gardener is fanning herself in the shade of the grape-covered pergola so no chance of work from her! This is my time out, my siesta of contemplation and creativity – plans for reinvigouration unfold. Then, as the harshness of the sun declines out I go, like the Monarch breaking free from the chrysalis, into a new relationship with my garden. As I wandered around today reacquainting myself with old friends I noticed two bees drinking from the bird bath. In greeting them they expressed deep gratitude for the rain; a hardworking bee needs constant availability of shallow water and this had been hard to sustain. There is a feeling of newness and possibility alive in the garden; a freshness which speaks of unlimited possibilities. This is my favourite time of the year and I can feel a childlike excitement building as though after too long a confinement. No more stultifying humidity, no more total immersion in sunscreen, so much more freedom. In unison, my soul and the garden sigh with relief!