Monday, 31 March 2008

Angel wings

We didn't go into the caves on this trip (too many steps for oldies with wonky knees). But if you've been to one cave you've seen it all -- angel wings, shawls, pillars of salt, lost cities and any number of fanciful objects.

Photo: Limestone formations, Jenolan Caves

Words to walk with:
From the Holy Bible, Psalm 91, New International Version
"If you make the Most High your dwelling—
even the LORD, who is my refuge-

then no harm will befall you,
no disaster will come near your tent.

For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;

they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone."

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Aging gracefully

Our current visitors are older folk so, despite it being a golden warm autumn day, there was no opportunity for a vigorous walk. We chose instead to drive to Jenolan Caves to take a leisurely alfresco lunch.

Photo: Jenolan Caves House

I took this photo of Caves House some years ago. Today, the aged beauty is undergoing another face lift.

Words to walk with:
From When You Are Old by W.B. Yeats
"When you are old and gray and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep"

Monday, 24 March 2008

Visitors

We're having lots of visitors at the moment -- all my friends and family seem to dream in unison of home baked treats washed down with copious cups of tea, quiet reading by a log fire, and pleasant afternoons strolling in mild autumn sun. Ah yes, the mountains are very alluring at this time of year before the big chill sets in.


Photo: Afternoon tea at my home

Words to walk with:
Visitor by Les Murray
"He knocks at the door
and listens to his heart approaching."

Saturday, 22 March 2008

On cue

Its raining again, thank goodness. After a run of unseasonably warm sunny days, the garden was beginning to gasp. Before the big drought we just let the automated sprinkler system pour water on the garden regardless of the weather. Such prolifigate water use has gone forever.

Despite the strange weather patterns everything is happening on cue in the garden. The first flush of Autumn colour is always from the Virginia Creeper which is turning scarlet right now.


Photo: Virginia Creeper, my garden (not a native plant)
Words to walk with:
Tomorrow we celebrate Easter Day, when Jesus rose from the dead, right on cue. From the Holy Bible Matthew 17:22-23
"When they came together in Galilee, he[Jesus] said to them, "The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life."

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Palm Sunday

Palm trees aren't exactly cold climate plants but there are very old palms in Honour Gardens in Lawson - a symbol of remembrance for the men who fought during World War 1. There are more recently placed palms along the highway at Blaxland. These caused a furour for being ill-placed trees more reminiscent of a Sydney beachside suburb than a town in the Blue Mountains. I even have a tall skinny, and probably old, specimen in my garden with a small top-knot of fronds popping out above the dense twine of mature trees.

Photo: Palm, Honour Gardens Lawson

Words to walk with:
The Donkey by G.K. Chesterton
"When forests walked and fishes flew
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood,
Then, surely, I was born.

With monstrous head and sickening bray
And ears like errant wings—
The devil's walking parody
Of all four-footed things:

The battered outlaw of the earth
Of ancient crooked will;
Scourge, beat, deride me—I am dumb—
I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour—
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout around my head
And palms about my feet.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

It's official

As I often wonder if it's just my poor memory when I say things like, "I've been here for 15 years and we've never lit a fire in February," I am pleased to report that the cold wet summer was not a figment of my imagination. The Blue Mountains Gazette, the source of all news Blue Mountains, had an article this week confirming that we had rain on 62 days compared to our usual 32 days. Yes, 2 out of every 3 days rained this summer! And the temperature was on average 2 degrees colder with a mere 2 days over 30 degrees centigrade.

My garden likes it.


Photo: Dainty fushia dancing out of the drought

Words to walk with:
By Emily Dickinson
"I cannot dance upon my Toes --
No Man instructed me --
But oftentimes, among my mind,
A Glee possesseth me"

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Topsy turvey

Photo: Autumn fungi, walking track Hazelbrook

The calendar ticked over to autumn yesterday. I knew it was coming, the ginger flowers and belladonna lilies have been wafting perfume right on cue and the last of the summer butterflies are still dancing in the garden. But it doesn't feel like autumn -- that warm soft season between the harsh brightness of summer and stark bite of winter. All this summer cool, grey, damp days poised on the edge of sunny heat that never quite arrived.

Without the summer, the normally thankful blessing of cooling mist only brings fear that the dull days will drag on month after month. What cantankerous people we are when things get out of kilter -- this time last year we were praying for rain after endless seasons of too dry weather. Back then the dam was just 35% full, now it is 60% and rising.

My fellow bloggers in the northern hemisphere are longing for a change from the dreary whiteness of winter at the same time as posting shot after delightful shot of snowy fields and icy rivers.

Another weird thing, since I stopped posting to this blog it gets more subscribers and more visitors than ever before. And since I am talking of things out of season today I thought I would quote this poem which I like a lot but have not used because we don't see much winter snow in the mountains and our forests are evergreen. Welcome the strangeness!

Words to walk with:
Spring Pools by Robert Frost
"These pools that, though in forests, still reflect
The total sky almost without defect,
And like the flowers beside them, chill and shiver,
Will like the flowers beside them soon be gone,
And yet not out by any brook or river,
But up by roots to bring dark foliage on.
The trees that have it in their pent-up buds
To darken nature and be summer woods---
Let them think twice before they use their powers
To blot out and drink up and sweep away
These flowery waters and these watery flowers
From snow that melted only yesterday."