Saturday, January 26, 2013

Blackbird Singing in the Dead of Night

Since I was a boy, I've been in awe of the song of blackbirds, especially in midwinter, at the crack of dawn.
Introduced into south-eastern Australia in the 1850s, though we are already blessed with a multitude of wonderful birds, the blackbird amuses and charms. This book for children, by David Ross ( with  lovely illustrations by Jennie Corbett ) published in 1968, is one of two by this author I've just lately found.
'Blackbird' is standing up for his right to exist in the domain of the resident thrush, hence 'Birdfight' as the title. Nature is a battle.
Thrushes are few, in Australia, and shy, but there are many other birds who will compete with this intelligent creature. I see them scurrying across the lawn, peering furtively from branches, their bright,spirited eyes alert to danger and opportunity.
Our blackbird, I'm relieved to report, finds his mate and lives to see his life throughout, tested by the world around him unscathed. Courage leads to continuity. The sparkle in his eye sees a dawn unending.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Waving the Flag

Corymbia ( formerly Eucalyptus ) ficifolia, the red-flowering gum from Western Australia, thrives in the grains of a sandy soil. Which is just as well, because I have little else but sand here at home, this parched and burning summer.  And there's not too much thriving...
I'm cranky as all hell. It's been a rotten summer. Yes, the drought's apparently over, but Melbourne's had 0.6mm of rain this January, compared to its usual 48mm. How can anything bloodily flower?
This has. There are a few here at home. Resplendant, glorious, full of the humming of bees, they are waving themselves above the rest of the dead or dying garden.
Such redness. I've given up hope lately, so tired I am of trying to keep the garden alive. You'll know that I cannot show you the worst of what I stare at, ineffectually. So challenging it is, to pretend to have a garden, when the assemblage of plants you've cultivated wither before you. Hurrah for these!
Hurrah too, for my beautiful magpie, who has this summer seen his playful offspring killed by foxes. He and his mate have been keeping away from their regular haunts, shocked, I feel, by what has happened. They'll recover soon, I hope, as I will, from this awful negation.

Friday, January 18, 2013

With only a Thinness

I'd not like to be looking at orange, the colour of fire, but Cotyledon orbiculata speaks suggestively,
now in these nights where lavender clouds drift across a broad baby-blue sky.
I have caught a cocoon in my flowering gum. Wedged on its branch, with a web of fibres holding it in place, I'm hoping there'll be some magnificent butterfly.
The flowering gum quoted is on the left, and will have champagne-pink flowers soon. The sky looks tenderly gentle, but beware, for tomorrow it will break the ground beneath it with its pounding insistence.
Until then, I bear the candle-flames of this succulent as if they were nursing me.
My woofer shares a similar opinion. She says, Faisal, we'd like to get out of here, wouldn't we?
Not everything has been scratched in this thing called life. I do not believe in scratches, any more than I believe in the dead deadening. We're keeping much alive.
We are bending. We all must bend. And in our bending, there is flowering.
Isn't it gorgeous, this black Aeonium? It's in the front garden, under she-oaks, toughing it out.
It's been a peculiarly kind day, with cool breezes. We are missing, yet, some rain. It will come. The blueness above lets me out of a problem: sooner or later the thinness will fatten, and all the silver and the orange will be overwhelmed by wetness, streaming, I hope, into the life of  a ground now derelict, burnt, beyond struggling. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

It's Catching Fire

 It's not a question now of how much hotter the Earth will get, but of how quickly...
...the trees turn into what they can, countering the heat.
My little doo-da, and all the life around us, is going to have to face a tumultuous world. Isn't it humankind that has brought this extremity on, what with its greed to possess and its greed to control? 
We all joke about the weather. But I stare out of glassy windows, the air dead, the air hot as a stove-top, nothing in my hands making a difference...
...Eucalypts like this are among the many survivors that have stood up to transgressions inflicted upon their world. Can they be twisted interminably?
I wonder what gardening will be like, what sort of gardening there'll be, in a world screwed up, and screwed up by human will.  
Will there be any chance to rest, soon? Will the wheels stop, as we'd like them to, and will significant numbers of human beings wake up enough to repair the damage?
The last thing I want to see is suffering, but most of humanity doesn't notice it. It is asleep. It couldn't be called a natural sleep, as you see here, but it could be called a negligence...
Thus, there is hope. There's a hope that whatever we've done, it'll be forgiven now.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Call of the Wild

 Each summer a pair of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos comes to visit. You know they've arrived when across your garden a deafening shriek almost makes your hair stand on end.
This year they've brought a young one. They're a comical, intelligent, nimble bird with a gleam in their eyes.
If I get some seeds for them, I'm hoping they'll stick around and keep me entertained.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Man on a Hot Tin Roof

I could let it be shown much worser. This is the view from out of my kitchen window, but you don't want to go out there, here where it's 41 degrees Celsius or 106 Fahrenheit today. Everything's burning.
This is what you'll see, when you take your sunglasses off, this burnt-out remnant of a garden with you, or me, jumping up and down on the spot like some sort of crazy dancer possessed, what with your or their toes and soles burning alive, as happened to me, taking these shots...
...not even a cactus likes being fried alive. I am having to leave them all out there, my plants. It makes me bleed, every time this happens, these days of extreme heat. Bleed? Have I any blood left? Last night I barely slept, the thermometor dipping no lower than 25 degrees Celsius ( 77 Fahrenheit ).
This is a safe picture, from out of my back door, but you can see beyond to the burnt grass/wannabe lawn.
This is how it is in the laundry, my 'tropical' plants cindering ( "Cindering"? Getting charcoalesqued. ).
It all looks so innocent, doesn't it, a blue sky, some waving trees. If we have to take alot more of this though, we won't be waving, we'll be shrieking. Tennessee Williams knew  about heat, as did Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman. But it aint no theatre out there. The ground's so hot it scorches whatever touches it, the air deadens, silently. Everything waits for change.
Even my kitchen is hot, and I'm cooking nothing mama.
I wander throughout the house, a ghost of my gardening self.
I daren't look any more outside till this evening, wimp that I am. THEN I'll be able to water some of my friends and bring them back to life.