Thursday, July 19, 2007

Take the weather with you

I love to talk about the weather. Before the girls came along Al and I would convene in front of the news each night to discuss the weather report: it didn't seem as hot as that; it was definitely colder than that this morning; negative two tomorrow, that's cold ... Like Paul Simon says, "All the news I need to know is on the weather report".

This week weather talk has been a variation on the theme of 'cold':
Monday, it was 0 degrees when I arrived at work.
Tuesday, gales and downpours soaked me to the skin as I walked with my umbrella.
Wednesday morning I walked to work in the dark, smog and mist all around - bleak and beautiful.
Thursday morning my ungloved fingers stopped working before I had listened to the first song on my ipod.
Friday, well I'm not out of the house yet but Lucy just went out to the garden and then came straight back in again, a certain sign it is COLD, COLD, COLD.

I don't mind the winters down here - coming from Queensland I find the mists and the smoke and the frosts romantic. And hanging above my desk at work is this picture, shooting a bolt of heat into each day:

This was my garden in the first home of my own. It's still my favourite. It was built in a drained in-ground pool, surrounded by mango trees, with a vacant block at the back. At times the area felt almost deserted, despite being filled with high density housing. It was lush: a forest of basil hip high, lemon grass, chillis, eggplants and zuchinnis, a lime tree and other bits and pieces popped in among the marigolds. Even with bold and ravenous possums there was food to spare - I'd gather massive bouquets of herbs and spices for my friends. It was a time and place of plenty.

I remember the morning I took this photo. The bottle is the remnant of the night before, when a friend and I sat at the table talking for hours, drinking and tossing grapes into each other's mouth (now I think: choking hazard!). Such a luxury, all that time, though I took it utterly for granted then.

Some things don't change, no matter what the weather or the era. Looking closely, I see that even then, I had planted four zuchinni plants for my single person household. I also notice that plants are scattered everywhere: there was just one big bed and much of it was self-seeded. I moved away from that approach into the more rigid rotational system I've been working with over the last years, but now I'm coming back to that looseness and faith once again.


Tamsin said...

Kris, this was one of my all time favourites too. I remember experiencing serious garden envy every time I visited, and saw your wonderful, verdant patch full of colour and life - and brush turkeys I seem to recall! I'm sure the purists would turn up their noses, but a filled in pool is really an inspired site for a garden - deep deep soil and, one would hope, perfect drainage! I'm glad you have a photo of it in all it's glory, to remember it by.

Tamsin said...

I just had to add that one of my enduring memories of life in Brissie was you arriving at our place one evening for dinner, having just walked all the way from St Lucia in the heavy, damp heat, with the most enormous bouquet of basil in one hand, so huge you could hardly be seen behind it, and a bottle of wine in the other. They were good days.

Geoff said...

Hi Kris,

Thanks for your comments at the blog.

Thought I'd come and pay a visit, have a browse around. Great blog you've got, a lot of inspiring & provoking thoughts and great pictures, your garden looks fantastic. I especially liked "Inelegant Sufficiency".


VictoriaE said...

The weather is so influencial on our lives, no wonder we love to talk about it - it is fascinating - all the implications.. Such nice thought that you and your man would discuss the weather and the weather report each night. I think that's romantic.

traceyleigh said...

It is influential on our lives isn't it? Right now in the depth of this bitter cold I dream about being back in the tropical heat of Weipa and find myself wondering did we make the decision to leave that lifestyle to hasitly? I love love winter, especially here in Tassie..winter is just so rich here and invigorating. But I do miss having only two seasons: wet and dry and all that came with living in those conditions. And as much as I love the gardens around here and all that they contain, I am partial to a great Queensland garden :)

Kris said...

Those were good days. Basil and jasmine - those scents send me straight back to our salad days in Brisbane. Though now of course with the water restrictions, those 'great Queensland gardens' are few and far between; mine couldn't survive in current conditions.

Victoriae, it was kind of romantic, special couch bonding couple time. Now our conversations centre around how tired we are, which has its own intimacy.

And thanks for stopping by, Geoof. Inelegant sufficiency is my favourite piece as well.