All we are saying is give spring a chance
Even when you're feeling warm The temperature could drop away Like four seasons in one day
Forget the weather, it’s all over the place. And try to believe that climate change won’t, sooner or later, take away your sense that you live in a place that still has four distinct seasons.
The climate gods have plenty in reserve to further bugger up spring, summer, autumn and winter. But I’m sure our long, narrow, mountainous islands – surrounded by vast expanses of sea, with the humongous land mass of Oz hotting things up the other side of the Tasman, and nothing much between us and Antarctica – will continue to get four seasons in one day on far too many days.
Feeling like that about the whole seasonal thing, I register but rebel when our weather man, Dan Corbett, gives a broad television smile and says we’ve reached “the first day of meteorological spring”. I discount all official pronouncements ringing in the changes of the seasons! Spring starts at our place when the first fruit tree is covered in blossom.
(I swear that, as I took the photos, there was a very large bumble bee on one of these flowers! I’ll blame the smartphone camera. I really did try – several shots!)
Looking at the tree through the lounge window I can see that it’s in full bloom – bud clusters bursting open over the last week or so of August. Not quite on our block of land, but snuggled up to the north of a clump of old man pines in our farming neighbours’ paddock just the other side of our drive. A very old cherry plum; the tree’s continued existence, despite many decades of changing farming practices, nothing short of miraculous.
It’s fitting that it exists outside my orbit: I have no say in its fate and so, like spring and the other seasons, it’s in the lap of the gods. I can’t lord over it, like I can with several similar heirloom-aged plums in our gully that almost but never quite make it to pole position at spring’s start line. Why, just the other week I claimed firewood from a couple of them by taking the chainsaw to some dead and dying limbs. (And, might I say, what wonderfully hot, slow burning fuel it is.)
Up close to ‘my start of spring’ tree, I heard the buzz of large bumble bees (but no sightings or sound of the higher pitched honey bee), before I saw them flitting from flower to flower. A sound of spring triggering a memory of a scent of spring – the heady, syrup-rich swirl from plum blossom that would waft up on a still, warm evening from a couple of self-seeded trees near our driveway.
That in turn reminding me that at winter’s end the wintersweet bush, that we look out on from the back porch and walk past on the way to the compost bin, has lost its swoon-worthy honeyed perfume, but is still clinging on to many small, faded flowers that, from mid-winter on, had lit up the area with a yellow radiance.
On reflection, I see now that I need to work on paying attention to spring’s markers in a different light, because I’ve started to associate spring blossom coming to an end with the end of spring itself. I’d enjoy it more by going easy on the lament side of things, and by downplaying how fleeting it is. Just be grateful, mate – in our neck of the woods we still have a stretch of months that’s genuinely spring-like.
P.S. May your version of spring go with you.
Title inspired by John Lennon’s ‘Give peace a chance’. Sub-title is verse 2 of ‘Four Seasons in One Day’ by Crowded House. (Song co-written by brothers Neil and Tim Finn.)
That’s all on modern-day homesteading at Little Owl Gully till next Monday. Thanks for your company. Bye for now.