Story telling from Australia
Spring arrived on Tuesday here in the southern hemisphere. I didn’t realise. I thought spring started on September 1st, likewise autumn in the northern hemisphere, but it turns out I was wrong. See?
I’ve been wrong about a lot of things lately.
Wrong to think this concrete and brick yard wasn’t a garden, wrong to think vegetables would never grow here, wrong to give up before I’d even tried.
Well, that’s not strictly true. I did try last year, planting a random selection of melons, tomatoes and beetroot when I’d only been living here for a few short weeks and had no idea how the sun tracked across the sky. I hadn’t noticed how it hid behind buildings only to re-appear later to illuminate what I thought was a pocket of shade, and I was far too impatient to notice where the shadows crept and lengthened, where the sunlight shone most brightly, where it lingered for the longest time.
Almost a year later I’ve accumulated a little wisdom, and more than a little patience; I’ve been forced to accept the limitations of this back yard, and work within them.
Funny that this should be the week I notice green shoots everywhere, and silly me for bemoaning the lack of growth on this very blog a couple of weeks ago. ‘It’s spring but you’d never know it here in Sydney,’ I moaned.
Oh me of little faith. It wasn’t spring. And I was wrong to give up hope.
Snow peas have confirmed they can flourish down the skinny side of the house, where sunlight penetrates between tall buildings for long enough to encourage the peas to clamber towards the light. Planting a tomato may be over optimistic but the neglected plant, bought cheaply along with a broken planter box, seems to be recovering.
I’d dismissed that side passageway as unworkable, a place for weeds and scrambling bell vine that I’d ignore for months then have to hack my way through. Now I’m down there most days, tending to the espaliered fig (we’d never get past if it was allowed to grow unchecked), watering seedlings and examining the cucumber that will hopefully follow the peas in search of light.
Newspaper reports in recent days sound alarmist, blowing the trumpets of war and detailing atrocities committed in the name of religion. We live in a world that suddenly seems dark and gloomy, dire warnings and bleak images transmitted daily into our living rooms.
It tells me to count my blessings, to help those in need and to focus on love, not hate.
I hope I’m not wrong in searching for the light.