Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Grey sky and birds fly

During Winter I often crave the blue sky of Summer or late Autumn. Lack of blue is like a vitamin deficiency. The day seems a little dull without the definition that high colour gives it. But Winter light is beautiful too. Deciduous trees are leafless and sculptural and let the thin sunlight through their branches. Eucalpyts and other evergreens look silver in the chalky light. And the grey, lilac and violet skies reflect off water with a drama that’s hard to remember in the Summer.

Walking through the local quarry although the air is still cold the birds are busy. They have the idea of Spring before them and work towards it. Everything seems to know where it’s going driven along by the low angle of the sun.

The land here was all under orchards until the seventies. Before that a quarry and further back - bush. Now it is park land with vestigial memory of it's earlier incarnations. Old unpruned trees drop fruit - once there were thirty different types of pear picked - prized for their sweetness and long keeping. The mudstone shelves and breaks along linear faults. Modern labour costs prohibit blasting and hauling. The quarry is once more a cliff and clean cut valley. The creek once harnessed for irrigation remembers its old water courses and ducks follow it too.I walk beside it, mesmerised by its dark surfaces.  

This morning the grass was still wet where I walked and the spiders’ webs  dewy. Hyacinths have pushed through the earth – their centres tight and bunched not really yet flowers. Under the cliffs swallows are hawking insects and in a month will begin to build  a breeding factory from mud. Soon we will be planting potatoes and picking the first broad beans. We will begin to want that squeaky green taste of uncooked peas, new lettuces, the hot crunch of radish. For now it is burnt sugar biscuits and barley tea, early evenings and cool afternoons. As the mist lifts I set out with the dogs and the smell of recent rain lingers. 

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