Spring - regeneration, stillness and babies

6 October 2010
There are certain times of the year and certain tasks we do here that almost define how we live. Spring is one of those times. The beginning of spring sets the tone for what will follow and even though it's not the beginning of the year, it feels like everything is new and we're set, ready to start. Where we live in the sub tropics, it's sometimes difficult to tell the seasons apart; we seem to have cool and warm and not much in between. But since we've been living our lives closer to the rhythms of the natural world and no longer by the ticking of a clock or the turn of a calendar's page, we're in accord with the seasons and acutely aware of what each of them brings us.

Every time Spring comes around I feel like I must throw open all doors, throw out old ideas and start afresh. To do otherwise, or worse still, to ignore it, would be against nature. This time of year, ladies and gentlemen, is for renewal, growth and planning for what will follow.

One of the things I did last weekend in my Spring frenzy was to re-pot several hanging baskets that used to hang on the front verandah. I got lazy with them and when most of my time was taken with other more food focused gardening tasks, I let them go and finally removed them when they started to look daggy and sad. Then I came to my senses and realised they gave me a lot of pleasure and the front verandah wasn't the same without the lushness they brought. I had to replace a few of the plants, so they're not at the lush stage yet, but they will be, and I won't neglect them again.

That tall spindly tree in the photo above is a soap tree which we'll be planting in the garden in Autumn to replace a camphor laurel. My good friend Beverly Hand and her family will help Hanno with the huge task of slowly removing the camphor laurel, which is a pest tree in the area, and replacing it with the soap tree. When some growth has been made, we'll under plant with tree ferns.

I could only have been open to that idea in Spring but now it seems like the perfect plan and I'm looking forward to seeing it in the ground and helping it grow to its full magnificence.

The photo above is of our driveway out to the one lane track that leads to our town. It's quiet here, we live in a cul-de-sac, so we usually only have the cars of people who live here driving down our street. But the further you drive or walk away from our home, the busier it becomes and the closer you are to our community.

I spent the past couple of days out in the community with colleagues I now call friends, working in our neighbourhood centre. Yesterday afternoon, Fiona came into my office and whispered: "There are babies on the verandah. Come and look." We went out and there, fast asleep in their pram, were two, tiny, two week old baby girls. They're the daughters of an indigenous couple who visit us sometimes and there they were, with their babies, and their grandfather, and aunties. Fiona asked the dad if we could hold the babies, and he carefully picked each one up and handed her, first to Fiona and then to me. Fiona is aching for a baby of her own, and I just wanted to smell the newness of a baby and to practice being a grandma. These tiny girls, born prematurely but as healthy as can be, slept as we held them and I couldn't help but think how well they symbolise this time of renewal and joy.

Today I'll be out the front again cleaning up the front verandah and making it a welcoming and comfortable place for Hanno and I. When I'm not sitting there with Hanno sipping tea in the mornings, I sometimes sit there knitting or just thinking about us and our life here. Our home is not fancy by any stretch of the imagination, but it suits us and we feel fortunate to have a home we own that we can work and be productive in. And sometimes, when I sit out there and hear the whip birds call and see the black cockatoos fly over, I am embraced by the stillness of it all and I feel like the luckiest girl to have found this place.