Tag Archives: autumn

An Autumn Stroll in Sydney…

For those of you who don’t live in Sydney, I apologise in advance that there are no photos of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, or the Opera House on this walk. That’s because this walk isn’t about Sydney. Rather, it’s more about immersing yourself in the golden yellows of Autumn and appreciating nature in all her finery.

If you live in many parts of the world, you might take such Autumn colours for granted. However, I live close to the beach and there aren’t many English style gardens around here. With our sandy soil and low rainfall, they just don’t grow or are extremely high maintenance. Our Australian natives are evergreen and so we just don’t have those forests of Autumn colours you see elsewhere. This all means that I get quite dazzled by Autumn colours and that despite being forty something, I’m still prone to collecting Autumn leaves.

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So, now that I’ve started painting this story from my perspective, perhaps you’ll better understand my excitement when I emerged from the underground tunnels of St James train station, and saw Macquarie Street all lit up with glowing, golden leaves back lit by a bright, blue sky. It was glorious!

So, I wanted to invite you to join me for a bit of a stroll today, which starts out in Hyde Park and goes along Macquarie Street, through the Domain and finishes on the Art Gallery Steps.

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As I walked along Macquarie Street, the photographic focus became historic Sydney Hospital, which was opened in 1811 and is Australia’s oldest running hospital. While in other parts of the word such a building would be relatively “modern”, by Australian standards it’s “old”, but not quite ancient.

You can take a short cut through Sydney Hospital to get to the Art Gallery. The short cut has a lot of rustic charm and you really feel like you’re stepping back in time, and yet you’re not if that makes any sense.

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A rear view of Sydney Hospital with modern skyscrapers peering over her shoulders.

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I thought this sign was rather funny. Hospital Road runs in between Sydney Hospital and The Domain (park). I am a bit concerned about where a trip down Hospital Road might take you…a one way trip with no return.

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Playing sport in The Domain under the shadow of high rise.

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Lunch time joggers running through The Domain. Note the huge fig trees, which are very popular.

And finally we arrive at the Art Gallery of NSW.

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Hope you enjoyed the walk.

Best wishes,

Rowena

Haikus for Four Seasons

Winter

Sitting on the sand

wrapped in a woolen coat,

I am waiting for you!

 

Spring

No bikini body here,

I watch the whales migrate.

Diet starts tomorrow.

 

Summer

Longing for the beach,

bare feet burn on the hot sand.

Steam rises in the surf.

 

 

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Ocean Beach looking across to Lion Island and Palm Beach.

Autumn

You have gone too soon.

Yet, sweet Summer hasn’t died.

I cling to your rays.

 

Rowena

6th March, 2016

Tonight, I set myself quite a challenge..to write series of four inter-connected Haiku for each of the four seasons, set down at our local beach  5-10 minutes walk from home. While there are seasonal changes at the beach, these can be quite subtle aside from the peak Christmas period when we actually experience some crowds as well as annoying traffic. The blow-ins are considered “blow flies” by many of the locals.

It was quite challenging working out how to interpret what really are fairly subtle seasonal changes here and work something out that covers the four seasons. The weather is largely good for 9 months of the year although there are some patches of incredibly hot weather. Even Winters can be pretty mild with only a few weeks of intolerable cold. At the same time, we do get stretches of heavy rain.

Autumn Leaf Palm Beach Sydney

Autumn Leaf, Pittwater, Palm Beach, Sydney

So, when it comes to describing our four seasons, especially set at our beach, many of those conventional symbols or representations aren’t applicable. We don’t have snow and while there are some deciduous tree with those stunning Autumn leaves, Australian native plants are evergreen and their leaves don’t change colour. There are town and suburbs which do experience a “true” Autumn but not around here. You really have to go searching for Autumn leaves. They’re not to be found on every street corner.

As for Spring, we have been on water restrictions here for over ten years and even though they’ve eased, the intermittent rainfall has been quite cruel to our garden. There is no sudden explosion of life from these dry sandy soils in Spring and if I’m feeling particularly motivated, I’ll pop down the street and buy some colour. Cheap colour so it doesn’t really matter if I kill it. Our garden really is more of a cemetery. Indeed, in Summer, make that a “crematorium”.

We actually took the kids and the dog down to the beach tonight for a walk and the kids had a brief swim. We’re not real keen for them to swim at dusk as there are some sharks around. Not that we’ve had any attacks here but we don’t want to be the first either! Really must try to get down there more often. It’s been too hot but our Summer isn’t over yet and I’m really going to try to squeeze out every little last bit that we have left.

xx Rowena

 

Autumn Leaf, Pittwater, Palm Beach, Sydney.

You don’t expect to see autumn leaves on a sunny Sydney beach.

Then again, you don’t expect autumn either…just perennial blue skies!

However, while out walking the dogs today, I found a smattering of autumn leaves along the sand, looking rather out of place…at least to me! Yet, they were so beautiful.

I wonder where their journey will take them as they’re pick up by the ocean currents and taken to other worlds!

Even though I’ve already posted Life Lessons as my L for the A-Z Challenge, I though I might just sneak in L for leaf.

xx Rowena

PS: This post received a shout out over in Spain…how exciting! Check it out here: http://howtofeellikecatalan.com/autumn-is-here/

The Acorn

You walked through
the school gate with hesitation:
a blank page with your name scrawled
crookedly in the corner.

An acorn planted in fertile soil,
you germinated.
Bursting through that constricting shell
too small for you to grow,
you poked through the soft earth,
a tender shoot reaching for the sun.

As your shoots headed for the sun,
your roots tunneled deep
towards the very centre of the earth
soaking up the spring rains
and you flourished.
Anchored to the ground,
reaching for the sky,
you were firmly planted.

At least,
that was in my dreams.
Sadly, even a fruitful journey
is full of storms and contradictions
and even blue skies burn.

I watched your leaves
change colour with the seasons;
their illuminated palette glowing
like stained-glass windows
backlit by the glorious sun
and bare sticks persevering
through another winter’s chill.

I shielded your tender stems
against those howling, winter winds
and quenched your insatiable thirst
all summer long.

At first,
I always held on tight,
holding your hand,
paving the way
trying to teach you
everything I knew.

But then…
little by little,
I let go…
just enough
for you to grow.
For I knew one day
you would have to stand alone.

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II
I don’t know who played
cruel tricks with the clock
and even meddled
with the very hands of time
but you’re no longer a sapling.
You’ve become a tree,
even growing acorns of your own
and I don’t know where
all those years have gone
or how to get them back.

Oak Tree, Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

Oak Tree, Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

Anchored to the soil
through your enormous trunk,
your mighty branches now
stretch right across the sky
with strength, persistence and endurance,
through sunshine and rain,
providing homes to the multitudes.
Birds build their nests
singing great morning choruses
as ants march up and down
carrying bulging loads with great intent.
Children build cubby houses
climbing towards the sun
laughing and having fun
while you smile proud,
oozing with life and love.

I am so proud
of all you’ve become!

III

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Now, it is I who needs
your strength
as my leaves change colour
falling to the ground.
Slowly but surely,
the colours wear away
until only the veins remain
and you are helping me
across the road instead.

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I don’t want to go
but we each reach
the end of this road.
and as the cycle goes on,
the oaks need to leave room
for the acorns to grow.

IV

You entered the gate a boy…
a blank page
with your name
scrawled crookedly
in the corner
but now you’ve emerged…

a man.

On 17th December, 2009 I wrote the very first version of this poem. It was the day after our son finished his first year at school and he was still only 5 years old. I had been struck by how far he had come in that year. When he arrived, all he could do was scrawl his name in the corner of a big, blank sheet of paper but by the end of that year, he was writing tentative sentences and was reading quite well, even if sitting still and concentration weren’t his thing.

I have reworked the poem many times since then and have even extensively reworked it today.

Mother & Son played by actors Ruth Cracknell & Garry McDonald.

Mother & Son played by actors Ruth Cracknell & Garry McDonald.

The relationship between mother and son weaves its way throughout the poem, which reminds of of a favourite show: Mother & Son, staring Ruth Cracknell and Garry McDonald. I don’t kno whether you’d describe it as a comedy or a tragedy but Mum in the story has dementia and Garry McDonald plays her middle-aged divorced son who is still living with Mum but probably not by choice.

Mother & Son
: “The Funeral” clip: http://aso.gov.au/titles/tv/mother-and-son-funeral/clip1/

Time has certainly flown past. He is now 11 years old and is in Year 6…his last year at Primary School. Next year, he’ll be passing through a different gate when he goes off to High School. His journey hasn’t progressed as smoothly as the fairly idealistic path depicted in the poem and life hasn’t been smooth sailing but he is finding real maturity now and growing up inside as well as in terms of height. We are very proud of him!!

This poem remains a work in progress and I wonder if it will ever be finished.

However, I wanted to share it with you.

Moreover, today is 1st April and the beginning of the Blogging From A-Z Challenge which takes place in April each year. This is the first time I’ve participated and I’m a little bit daunted about tackling the technical side of it all but sometimes, you just have to hurl yourself straight off a cliff and keep running!!

Love & Best wishes,
Rowena

I am participating in the A-Z Challenge.

I am participating in the A-Z Challenge.