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.


  1. What a lovely calming post.
    Here on the other side of the world we are preparing for winter. Days are shorter and cooler reminding us that the finished plants on the veg plot need pulling up, the pumpkins and squashes need liberating and storing and attention needs to be given to the winter veggies.
    Two rows of luxuriantly leafed parsnips are awaiting the first frost before we eat one. However we don't want the frosts yet for at least another five weeks.
    I guess I must look at your post Rhonda just as it is published as there are often no comments so here's hoping I'm the first tonight -- last glimpse at the computer before going to bed.

  2. I love that you appreciate just what you have, reminds me of the song line "what you dont have you dont need it now". I can t wait until we have a home to call ours but for now we appreciate having the fliexibility to move.

  3. Hi Rhonda, as usual I'm mesmerized with your blog and the things your doing. What's the name of your energy pill? :o) I have never been as busy working on my job as I am trying to maintain this "Almost and Acre" Farm
    There is always something to do here, planned and sometimes just needing to do it NOW! Keeps me out of trouble though! Ginny

  4. I love the bonding of (mostly) women around new babies.

    Neighbours that usually only nod, colleagues that barely have time to chat and rushing supermarket shoppers suddenly open up when a baby is around. Everyone wants to share in the hope and tender beauty of a new baby (sounds cheesy but it's true).

    Although I felt very possessive of my first child (like most new mums), it didn't take me long to realise that a new baby is something you HAVE to share - with the wider family, the neighbourhood, and even with the (possibly) lonely old person at the supermarket who doesn't have a babe in their life.

    I'm glad you got a "sniff" - as one family I know calls it - the passing and wondering and "sniffing" of a new babe. :-)


  5. Hello Rhonda,
    "the stillness of it all" Ijust love that. I really enjoy rising early and watching the sun rise over the hills behind the dairy which is across a beautiful valley. We are fortunate to have a verandah that goes right around our home so as the seasons change we change our position to catch the first glimse of the sun's golden rays. I never tire of that time of day. It's a lovely day down south today with a bit of whispy cloud to the south, but it will be another beauty. Have a good day.
    Blessings Gail

  6. Hi Rhonda, I've often thought that Spring is a good time to start the new year. I am not Jewish but have been temted to switch over so that my new year can start in Sept. It is true what you say, not to start afresh in Spring is against the flow of nature. I love this time of the year. Loads of energy and creativity. Enjoy your thinking times on your front verandah!!

  7. Hi Rhonda
    Beautiful post!
    I love hte peace and happiness you ooze when you write posts like this one.
    We have decided that the house we are in will become our "home", the place where we will stay to have the children grow up. But deep down while we are planting our food garden I deeply want to move to a quiet country area and do it all there instead. Our house is on a smallish 580 sq metre block, so although it provides enough garden for us to have a decent amount of food growing, I yearn for more. But I think what I really wish for is the quietness, the stillness which you have. We have buses and a never ending stream of cars and traffic noise and it is the one thing that I hate about living here.
    I know when the kids are grown though that I will hate to leave this house as it was their home where they spent the majority of their lives, if not their whole lives and our veggie/fruit garden will be established by then so we would have to start again....the dilemmas!!

  8. we are just starting autumn in the USA! i, too love this time of year and our spring. definitely my favorites.

  9. I'm very envious of your garden - I am trying my best to learn veggie growing right now, but truth be told I've zucchini there that have stayed 10 cm tall since June.

    The story about the babies was cute. Newborns do have a special smell about them don't they? It's usually right on the top of the head where the fontanelle is. Each seems to be quite individual too - my own smelt like honey and dark chocolate to me.

  10. Rhonda it is wonderful to hear how much you enjoy your home. I too, feel very much at home and lucky at my place :-)

  11. A lovely, peaceful post. Thank you Rhonda. It does my heart good to hear of spring arriving somewhere. Our part of the world doesn't have very much sunshine, and the winters can seem extraordinarily long. So good to come and visit you and Jenny Wren at this time of year!

    New babies....always evoking wonder and joy in us all, how beautiful.

    Love, Tina xxx

  12. What a relaxing post to read. Lots of baby animals around our area - our calves, the joeys and bandicoots, various types of native bird chicks. Even the cicadas are drumming in the trees.

  13. This post had me yearning for the calm and peace you are experiencing. It stirred within my heart and I am better for it. Thank you.

    I love the smell and comfort a tiny baby gives and too would like to be a Grandmother, not too soon though. For now I'll just settle with being a great Great Aunt and will let my offspring mature.

    I was drawn to the pond in a pot, I love it. My own one has been sitting neglected, I resealed it and hadn't gotten back to it.

  14. I enjoyed your whole post (and your whole blog of course!) but in particular the mention of hanging baskets inspired me. I'm a beginner gardener because just now in my late thirties am I getting up the confidence that I could actually keep things alive and maybe even feed my family from a vegie patch. Unfortunately I live in a challenging place, climate wise (extreme heat - 45c height of summer and extreme cold - -2c in the middle of the nights in winter and high evaporation and extremely low rainfall) so I have a little against me, but I'm sure I'll figure it out. I'm going to be planting some pretty flowers into hanging baskets to enjoy for the next couple of weeks before it gets too hot for them and they burn off. :o) Larissa in WA

  15. Hi Rhonda,

    my favourite "still" time is sit on my verandah at sunset when everything seems to go really still except for the bird song - love it!

    I've begun the new midlife series that I emailed you about too: http://momentsofwhimsy.wordpress.com/2010/10/08/encouragement-for-the-journey-pt-1-wk-411/

  16. You are lucky, and an essential piece of your luck is the wit to realize it and be filled with content and gratitude for it all. I am also very lucky, even with some present serious health problems. And yesterday, my fourth grandchild and second grandson was born, Stephen Paul - 8lbs., 5oz., 21 inches. He and his mother are doing wonderfully. I am truly so lucky!

  17. You've inspired me to get out my knitting needles and just sit somewhere for a while. It's something I don't do often!

  18. Thankyou for your comments on Spring, Rhonda, I couldn't agree more. I spent the day outside in my garden appreciating every noise and very ray of sunshine as a result. Although you always seem to be a ball of energy, it is nice to know you also have the ability to stop and feel the stillness. If it were not for moments like this, we would not know to appreciate the magic in our lives.

  19. I love Spring. It's when my daughter and I were both born. Everything lovely is popping up everywhere, so many flowers, full of colour. I love it.



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