Notes from the Garden

Thursday- There are moments of grace to be had walking out through the garden during breaks in the rain that has fallen for over a week now. Baby daffodils are emerging against the soft pink of the Camellias and Azaleas that seem to take turns flowering. Almost every time I step into the garden I delight in some new discovery as we get to know this new garden full of mysteries. Today's was the Sakura by the front gate.
Even taking out the compost has become a labour of love, often followed by shouts of "come see, it's all pink", "look what's popped up" or "is it a weed" "I don't know, leave it, it's pretty" or "what do you think that is going to be" and "look what I found" or "smell this", "is that kaffir lime" and so on.
When my mother last visited she swooned to find her mother's namesake, Daphne, growing all through the garden and the last of its heady scent still permeates.

Friday- Today I found the Japanese Pearl flowering down a path and  brought some in to liven the house which is still in the midst of sick babies. It looks so delightful on the new eggshell blue table, in fact everything looks beautiful against that blue.
I look forward to the openness of the weekend mornings when the babies will sleep in and there will be just me and my thoughts in the quiet of the morning light and the soft falling rain.
I've been enjoying reading May Sarton's Journal of a Solitude, and it comforts me to know that she was so prolific that when I reach the end I can pick up another memoir. And yet I am never in any hurry to finish it, I've been reading it for a few years now, picking it up every now and again, reading a few entries, like catching up with an old friend, and then each of us going about our own lives until we meet again. It never even matters if I am reading passages read before.
Saturday- There's this urgent sense that the old needs to make way for the new as Spring is just around the corner and a week of rain wakes dormant seeds. I walk around with secateurs and hack at plants and pull away dead leaves. Today I was thrilled to find a Magnolia tree in the far corner next to the baby Magnolia that bloomed in winter, its buds almost ready to burst forth its magnificence. I planted out the  basil which hopefully will be pleased to stretch its legs beyond the restraints of the greenhouse tub it came in. It looks happy gently swaying in the breeze and momentary sunlight before the rain start again, almost grateful.

The garden looks wild and unkempt next to manicured and well kept gardens on either side of me. I like it wild, my attempts are just to nurture and nourish it and watch it, to let it flourish and be continually mystified by the constant new discoveries and growth. I hope I do more good than harm, of course I have no idea. And all the while I am reminded how much I love our little corner of the world here ♥ ♥ ♥

The one that got away...

Galia Alena Photography

Just a little fun- here is the fake polly of the polly that got away, shot out of the camera into the breeze and over the edge of the cliff. To retrieve would have meant risking life and limb to climb over the safety barracked and down the ravine to rescue the photo, oh the photo. I was very tempted, weighing up the risk/benefit ratio whilst scanning the passing crowds in search of a limber rock climber to come to my rescue. Guess I will never know how that shot turned out, what magic developed, but I like to imagine stories of what happened to it. Perhaps a big gust came a long and whisked it out to sea where it land on a passing yacht off on a global adventure. Perhaps a mammoth current took it all the way across the Tasman to New Zealand where it washed up on the shore at the feet of a lone walker looking for magic treasures. Perhaps a romantic gesture was made at twilight when a brave lover climbed down to retrieve it as a gift for his new love. Perhaps the rain washed it down and somebody doing a good deed by picking up my litter noticed its beauty and took it home and put it in a frame where it still hangs just across the road from me.
I guess I'll never know. What I do know is that taking polaroids is a risky business (in more ways than I care to list) and often is a two man job, one to shoot and one to catch.

What are you doing with this one glorious day

I am splashing paint about in my leafy studio,
listening to Dido, J L Hooker, Annie Lennox
and the spring rain.
I am dreaming of an endless January
and snow
I am planning to glutton on mangoes before Canada
for what is Christmas without mangoes?
I am compiling my holiday reading list
(which so far only consists of Isabelle Allende's "Aphrodite")
I will yoga while layers dry.

Life is Sweet.

I've decided to be Happy- the bearable lightness of being...

This week I thought it was about time I made my own vision board and I found it an enlightening experience. I was perusing the wide web searching for images to include on my vision board only to come to the realisation that I had pretty much every image that I need (except the ever so flexible nubile yoga body on the beach) in my personal collection of photos. That my vision board is what I shoot, and what I am able to shoot because it is what my life is filled with. As cliched as it is our lives are filled with blessings if we choose to see them.
Now we all know the old adage that we create our own lives, and I know this to be true, yet it was still a shock to realise that all of the things that I want in my life pretty much exist in one way or another and that I just have to find ways to allow more of them and to acknowledge them when they are here. In this way my photography is a letter of gratitude to the universe.
Well since this blissful realisation I have been walking on air with sunshine at my back and have chosen to be happy. Now don't get me wrong, I still have daily worries and stresses but seriously, Life Is Good.

Muted Palette

    Today on the beach it’s grey and rainy. I love the beach in winter when all people vanish and all the soft greys and blues mingle with the delicate sandy colours. A rainy winter day is the perfect day for the beach. Today is like that here only its warm. Now that the rain has stopped briefly and I’ve swam in the downpour, I sit on my chair with the beach to myself, me and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Behind me Jay and the children play in the pool, before me the ocean and the sky bleed into each other while the waves rise gently along the shore- a flurry of white that separates the land from the sea like a bridge that invites and then retreats.
    Dark dramatic clouds March towards me and I can see rain in several directions on the horizon. My art supplies, books and pens are all still packed in the basket ready for a quick escape. Drips hit my feet- an advanced warning as my pen flies to finish this line. I run…
    The rain drums down deafeningly loud while I enjoy the peace and quiet of losing the other guests to their suites, shops and restaurants. This is the beach I know, the deserted beach, the beach to ourselves, either in rain or in sunshine. This is the beach that I love, the beach that sets my soul free and my imagination wild, wild like the wild exhilarating weather, carried away on the waves and the tides.
    I am soaked, the rain is torrential, baby is wet, puddles form everywhere, the children’s squeals and shouts of delight or frustration are drowned out. There is peace in all this noise, the air is crisp, though it will be humid later. I enjoy the freshness of now as the storm stirs deep within.

The Last Christmas Pudding

The last Pudding
This here is the last of the Christmas Puddings and the death of a tradition. For the last few years we have kept the presence of my nana alive during Christmas by pulling out her recipe and making the pudding. This year when I checked that my mother had the fruit soaking I was met with a can't be bothered attitude. Not being here for Christmas last year I was looking forward to the traditions of my Christmas and was devastated. In the end she very reluctantly made it (by-passing several steps and ingredients in the process) and left it cooking in my kitchen for the required 7 hours while she went off to see the new Almodóvar film. Of course, after keeping an eye on it for several hours I got a bit distracted with a painting I was doing and let the water evaporate and smoked the pudding somewhat. I hung it outside and later joked with my daughter about how funny it would be if we had to tell grandma that the possums had got the pudding- and then I promptly forgot about it. In the morning I contemplated over the agile abilities of the possum's tail as I brought in the remaining pudding and preformed surgery on it and wrapped it all up again beautifully.
My son asked why we went to all this fuss to make a pudding that no one really ate (I only ate it as a child because there was money in it and as an adult because there is nostalgia in it) and I knew the writing was on the wall- some traditions just have to be let go of. As long as my children are feeling the magic of Christmas then the details don't really matter and they will find their own memories as I have mine. Last year we were far far away and the year brought many changes into my life. Next year who knows where we will be, but as long as we are all together we can choose our own traditions, even if we keep them only for that year...

Merry Christmas to all...

The Cherry Earrings

Cherry Bowl
    We don’t hang upside down as we normally do, our legs wrapped around the monkey bars, steel cold and hard behind our knees, hair hanging down freely, our dresses over our heads, our undies showing. We don’t care, we’re too young to care about being modest all the time, we’ll learn- the other children will teach us with their teasing.
    No we don’t hang upside down, our cherry earrings would fall off. We eat some, the juice bursting warm in our mouths, our teeth hitting the pit and backing off, we chew and maneuver with our tongues until the pit is free of all it’s cherry flesh. Then we spit it out as far as we can. We’d love to spit it at that revolting boy that always teases us and pulls our hair, hitting the back of his head. We don’t, we don’t want him to see us at all.
    It is hot, the heat presses down on us but we’re in the shade. This big tree that we sit in is cool and the breeze dances through it’s leaves. We’re not supposed to be in the tree, but its the coolest place and no one can see us. The bark presses against our legs, rough patterns pushing into our skin. The cicadas chant so loud we could almost not hear the bell ring if we choose.

Cherry Earrings
    We pick the best cherry pairs for earrings and hang them over our ears. We giggle and admire each other as we struggle to make them balance. Searching through the bag I find the biggest plumpest cherry I can. Full of hope, I pop it in my mouth and bite down. Sweet liquid, juicy, some escapes out of the corner of my mouth, dark juice, giggling with a full mouth.
    The cicadas thrum louder still and I realise it’s the bell calling us from our tree. I shoo away a fly and then reluctantly uncurl my legs and pack up the cherries. We wait, we let the others go first, we sneak down when no one sees our legs, stiff from being curled up under us, swing down to make our leave. A few cherries fall in the dirt at the base of the trunk where the roots are solid. I look at them regretfully, contemplating rescuing and rinsing them, and then just shrug and run off late already. An offering to our tree, I leave them happily.