For the dVerse Haibun Monday prompt, “solstice”
On Sunday I walked down to my neighbour’s place to see if her overdue new calf had been born. I dawdled and delayed, scared to look in case it was still-born. But there it was, a few hours old, already fluffy and staggering around uncertainly. And I cried and cried when I saw it. Great sobs bringing up the darkness of the last months, washed out in a flood of tears (and, inevitably, quite a lot of snot). God knows what the cow thought of me, sobbing hysterically next to her. But she looked me in the eye and lowed loudly. I don’t think it was sympathy, she just wanted this mad human away from her calf.
Yesterday I planted two apricot trees, with a bag of manure each. The winter sun, even on the second-shortest of days, was warm in the garden and lifted sweet tendrils of scent from the horse and cow manure. Sweet scent of manure, sharp scent of calendulas, a comforting twist of woodsmoke from the chimney. Sitting on the ground, I day-dreamed of apricots – sun warmed, juicy and tangy-sweet, the colour of winter sunsets.
Today, my neighbour left a bunch of flowers on the gate for me. On this shortest day of the year, I have flowers on my kitchen table, the hope of summer apricots, and a fluffy calf I can visit later when the sun comes out. And if it doesn’t come out, perhaps there will be rain for my apricot trees.
let’s start the new year
with the solstice, so that each
new day is brighter
For the dVerse Monday haibun prompt “Summer“, let me tell you about my day….
A trip to the GP turns into an afternoon in the Goulburn ED. A triage nurse takes my history and some blood, then runs an ECG as we chat about how hard it’s been for nurses during covid, how good the change of government is for women, about #MeToo and wonder “you too?”. Then I wait again, until someone else comes to take me for a CT scan.
First some saline through the canula and a cool tingle rushes through my chest triggering another thump. Then I am waiting as the machine whirrs, and tells me: “take a breath and hold it… now breathe normally”. It is hard to breathe normally on command. Then the iodine solution is pumped in and there is a rush of heat to my face and between my legs and a strange taste in my mouth. Again, I take a breath and hold it on command as the machine whirrs.
Dressed again, though still speckled with ECG electrodes and with the canula in my arm, I wait again until a doctor calls me through. The tests have all come back clear. So the chest pain? …likely pleurisy, long covid. The thumping beat, like a rabbit kicking? “yes, I heard it – ectopic ventricular beats”, tentatively “are you still… regular? Given your age…”.
Autumn inside me,
no summer heat flush, just a
rabbit in my chest
For the Monday dVerse haibun prompt “birdsongs“:
The sky is white and the air autumn-cool. Inside the children are eating breakfast, packing bags, looking for lost things. Outside, I throw scraps and a saucepan-scoop of pellets to the pig, and a scoop of wheat to the hens.
The rosellas swoop in, to perch chittering and bickering in the bent brittlegum by the chicken coop, waiting for me to leave. Among the brilliant reds and blues of the adults are a few youngsters not yet in full-dress plumage, but still in their dull cami greens. They are flamboyantly beautiful brats, especially the adults. Unable to share, they chase each other away so none has much chance to feed.
Circling the house, I pour a little wheat into each feeder. At the front I disturb the chough family who have arrived early. They hop and whistle back into the tree line, in their dignified black coats with only a fan of white lining showing when they spread their wings. Always together, like a close-knit family of undertakers, the choughs alight together at the feeder, all eight forming a black flower – heads down, tails up, as they share a meal.
The sky falls, screaming –
the cockatoos have arrived.
The small birds scatter.
It was 30C and humid here today – and try as I might I couldn’t channel coldness for Frank’s dVerse Haibun Monday prompt, “winter“. Maybe if we had air-conditioning I could have done better.
She carries spring in her step, so what need could she have for its green in her hair? What need, when her hair is yellow-brown as a summer wheat field, and her skin stores the sun and the boundless, cloudless sky is in her eyes?
I offer pink, mauve, blue (roses and lilacs, summer blooms under clear skies).
But no, it has to be green. So, I take the small bottles from my own (winter defying, winter denying?) palette: apple green, electric lime, sweet mint. I twine the colours (tendrils, vines) through the summer of her hair. And in the end it is not so much like spring come to awaken winter fields (as I want to believe it is in my hair), as like rain-wakened ground after the drought ends. As she waits, I do my own.
The snow in my hair
will not melt away in spring.
But it holds apples.
If you’ve read my post Tanked, this picture of our new over-flow tank will be familiar. It’s 4m in diameter, weighs 400kg, and fell off the truck and tried to escape by rolling downhill into the dam when it was delivered. We stopped it, and rolled it back up to the house and tied it to a tree so it couldn’t get away.
It’s been a really wet year, and relying on tank water as we do it’s frustrating to see the tanks overflowing – all that water we can’t store just running down into the gullies! So having talked about it for months, and with the La Nina starting to fade away, we’ve finally bought another tank. Continue reading
I didn’t go to his funeral. Even if I could have, I would not have gone. Funerals are for the living, Continue reading
For the dVerse Monday Haibun prompt, “August“:
August is a time of uncertainty, of transition – of winter greys and browns being suddenly speckled with green and yellow as the daffodils in my garden and the wattles in the bush bloom.
One day I wake to find the birdbath frozen over, and huddle in my coat, woolly beanie pulled low as I rush to do my outdoor chores. The next day the sun warms my back so much I shed layers down to a t-shirt – fooling me into forgetting my woolly beanie the next day so my ears freeze.
One day the air carries the sweet dusty scent of the wattles, the next it is so icy all I can smell is the sharp metallic scent of cold, that reddens the nose and makes it run. And then, suddenly, a hint of spring drifts through again.
A tendril of warmth
curls through the air, carrying
scent of earth and growth.
A while I ago I posted a rant about rainbows. It was triggered by a comment that science ruins rainbows by taking away the magic. My argument in that post was that science adds to their beauty and magic because it allows you to “see” so much more in them.
A couple of days ago I was walking across a carpark and it had just started raining. And there was a stunning rainbow on the ground:
It’s hard to avoid seeing evidence of climate change, when the spring bulbs are starting to flower around the winter solstice. The jonquils started a few weeks ago, in very early winter, and the first iris opened just a few days ago.
We’re not yet into the coldest part of winter, yet the spring is already pushing its way in. I am trying to enjoy it, without fearing too much the summer that will come after.
In winter’s stronghold
spring’s advance party unfurls
its golden standard.