Winter a world away

June 9, 2011

Winter in the northern hemisphere has king winter, heavy frost, or even snow, pine needles and of course all those festivals…advent, christmas, New year..

Winter back home in Australia is cold but colourful, The deciduous autumn trees are bare, but the gums are still green, and some are in blossom, the odd bottlebrush stands out in its red bristlly glory, and slowly the brilliant bursts of yellow wattle are starting to spread through the bush…

Snowflake garland

July 14, 2009

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We have had a lovely time in a cabin in the snowy mountains for our winter holidays, and tried our hand at many crafts in between the igloo making, tobogganing, snowman making, snow train and train track making, coloured ice ball making, skiing and snowballing,  …. and one of the favourite indoor crafts was snowflake cutting.   We have ended up with so many paper snowflakes, we selected the best ones and strung them up as garlands by threading ribbon through the holes. 

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our winter gnome was kept busy each night collecting up the stray paper scraps that eluded tired and busy fingers and left neat little paper trails to the fireplace to be discovered in the morning.  Our eldest declared that if you carefully collected the paper trail and threw it in the fire with one go, you could make a wish.  I think he wished for a weeks worth of snow, and he couldn’t have been happier with the result.

Thou Gabriel

June 22, 2009

Thou Gabriel!

Bring me the white stars of winter,

Of thy lillies and snows:

Till the blessing of life-giving water and moon-beam into me flows

-from Seasons and Archangels by Isabel Wyatt

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Midwinter is here, and it is still so mild.  The darkness is encroaching on both ends of our days, and yet we celebrated our midwinter festival wearing only shirts (no jumpers needed!)  I hope some snow comes to the mountains soon, or the early falls will be melted away by the mild weather and rain.  Snow is just such a magical and miraculous experience in Australia, as it is so often fleeting, and only occurs in very few places across our broad expanse of continent.  May some of the deep peace of our midwinter reach you wherever you are around the globe.

Spring is coming…

August 27, 2008

I met a little daffodil, out blooming in the cold

I’ll share with you a secret that this little flower told

‘Winter still is here, but it won’t be long to stay

I came ahead to tell you that Spring is on the way.’

        Daffodil

 

Once there was a little yellow Daffodil, and she lived down in a little dark house under the ground all winter long.  One day she was sitting there and she heard tippity tappity pitter patter tippity tappity pitter patter.  “Who is there?” she called.  “It’s the rain, come out and play”said the voice.  “No thankyou” said the little Daffodil “it is much too cold still.” and she settled back to rest in her cosy house.

 

 A little while later she heard hum hum hum  hum hum hum, “Who is there now?” called little daffodil.  “It is me, the sun,” called a warm friendly voice  “come out and play”.  “No thankyou” said the little Daffodil “it is much too cold still.”  And she stayed snug and warm in her house in the ground. 

 

Some more time passed and little daffodil heard more noises outside her home tippity tappity pitter patter tippity tappity pitter patter “Who is there?” called the Daffodil.  “It’s us, the rain and sun” came the reply “Please come out and join us in the garden.”  “Well I don’t know….” Said Daffodil “it might still be too cold”.

 

Daffodil stretched out first one green arm, and then the other feeling the air above the ground.  The sun and rain pulled her hands and up popped daffodil to sit in the warming sunshine in the garden bed.  She could see magpies sitting on the fence and lots of green glossy leaves returning after their winter sleep and even snails sliding out from their hiding spots.  She was pleased to be out early in the fresh garden to play with the rain and the sun. 

 

–   adapted from a traditional english folk story.

  

Cat and Mouse

August 12, 2008

We are having some very cold snaps at the moment as the last of winter really makes itself felt.  The favourite game on these frosty mornings appears to be cat and mouse.  The “cats” find themselves a patch of sunlight to curl up in and proceed to stretch and preen nonchalantly whilst the “mice” build the cosiest nest they can from sheepskins, cloths, blankets, cushions and chairs. When the nest is finished, the mice go foraging past the cats for apples, pinecones, or anything else deemed necessary.  The cats may ignore, swat at, pounce on or chase the mice, bringing any dropped mouse treasure back to the patch of sun to play with until the mice sneak back to retrieve it. 

It has been really lovely to watch this game develop between the kids, and see how they keep subtly tweaking the rules, set up etc. into it’s present (but still evolving) form.  It has also renewed interest in our little knitted cats and felt mice, made the children more keen to try different mousy foods they wouldn’t normally want to, make little mouse houses, sing lots of mouse and cat songs,  and make up mouse and cat “languages” like two squeaks for hello, a cheeky miaow for a question etc.  I love the inventiveness and inspiration that comes from kids having fun playing with their own ideas, with no more adult input than an occasional asked for help with a high blanket, tying a knot or cutting up cheese.  It doesn’t always work like this, but when it does, its pure magic and I feel so blessed in the moment.

Wattle

August 6, 2008

Golden balls of light burst forth

radiant against Winter’s pale skies.

Flicker Sundancer come dance with the pollen,

strike your warmth and call the bees

to feast on August’s fragrant bounty.

Messing about in SNOW!!!!  We have just had a wonderful week staying in a little Norwegian log cabin in the “Australian Alps” (Snowy Mountains), surrounded by snow.  I was a little worried how the kids would be if the weather was too cold and we had to spend alot of time indoors.  I needn’t have worried.   They adored being outside in any weather.  They built igloos, dug ice caves, sledded on plastic trays, tried their hand at cross country skiiing, snowballs, collecting the longest icicles, making snow train tracks, following the bunny, fox and wombat tracks as far as they could, catching the drips of slightly eucalyptus flavoured water on their tongues as the ice melted from the snowgum leaves, spotting bright red rosellas against the white snow, digging out paths, verandahs and doors to our little lodge, and trying to spot a Tomten or Nisse. They were so busy they even forgot to make a snow man!  Maybe next year….