On Not Comparing Winter to a Summer’s Day

This year’s winter has brought so many charms, compensation enough for the cold. As the early morning light breaks over the horizon, the distant hills and clouds blend and cling to their darkness still. The lingering fog hovers over the Diamond Creek, vacillating, waiting, before moving along the valley. The sharp crystal light captures the work of the night weavers, strings of pearls webbed between gnarly branches, holding the night rain, ethereal but strong. I imagine wearing this exquisite rivière for one second, more alluring than gemstones, a spider girl’s best friend.

The winter flowers have more charm than their spring cousins, their appearance always surprising and more welcome. The first delicate jonquils of June exhilarate with perfume, while the long flowering fronds of the Hardenbergia Violacea glow deep magenta in the early light. Blossom spurs fatten on the pear trees, the coned tips of the Echium engorge: the more abundant seasonal rain will make these creatures shout in purple and blue when the time comes. Pale green lichen hugs the Melia Azedarach, an exotic knitted sleeve that will dry out in summer’s harsh winds. Brave dying oak leaves, copper and russet, cling to the trees, Pre- Raphaelite colours brightening the driveway.

I’m learning to understand winter and may even like her now. But then it’s only late June. While the light slowly returns, the cold winds will come and shock that early promise back into dormancy. It’s not yet time to rejoice.




17 thoughts on “On Not Comparing Winter to a Summer’s Day”

  1. Thank you for such an evocative walk on a cloudy workaday Saturday here in the Highlands. I note the same as you . . . when the days surreptitiously begin to lengthen much to my delight the wretched westerlies and south westerlies visit more and more often and strongly . . . I don’t mind the cold as much as the Mexican wave tarantella of my rooftiles many of which insist each year they no longer want to live in my attic 🙂 ! And then the arrival of fears when temperatures rise . . . perchance not this year . . . My garden, so wrecked by the side effects of the fires earlier this year, is actually also sporting a dozen or so unexpected jonquils to remind one of the joy nature has in store if one but takes the time to look . . . best . . .

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  2. My heart is full of joy looking out my front window at the Cootamundra Wattle all in bloom at its best. Next week the euphoria of sniffing our Daphne about to bloom, then in 2 month’s time the heavenly scent of our Jasmine bush. The cool months have their glory ushering in the delights of springtime.

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      1. Boronia and Freesia equal the Daphne scent – all three intoxicating. We had Freesias growing at home in Qld and Boronia in Greensborough but it’s extremely hard to grow and keep going. It likes shade and dappled sun but not clay. Seems to prefer sandy loam.

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        1. Imagining these heady perfumes, a reminder of old fashioned plants that were favoured more by our grandmothers. Boronia and Daphne both love the shade. I’ve seen Freesias growing wild in nearby road verges.


  3. Those shots of your driveway are fabulous Francesca 🙂 …the first is my favourite. Divine .. I too love the flowers that share their colour and aromas at this time of year. We have beautiful camellias that always catch my eye .. and jonquils that we be opening any day! That web adorned with droplets is delightful ..

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  4. This year, weatherwise as if to compensate, has been quite lovely for the most, lending itself to your befittingly lovely prose and photography. Autumn is always my favourite season but if we get rain the winter that follows is often kinder then the preceding summer and we can breathe a sigh of relief and appreciate its offerings. The first jonquils came out in our front garden yesterday, barely making their June date; the fragrance taking me back to somewhere in my childhood.


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