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Archive for the ‘Seasons’ Category

Summer hasn’t shown up this season. Yet, I add hopefully. Here in Wellington, it’s been totally AWOL. After the steamy heat of Japan and Korea, and then even worse in Vietnam in June, I said – foolishly, it seems – that I didn’t want summer to arrive too soon, or to be too hot. But this is just getting ridiculous. We’ve had non-stop wind since October. Usually the spring winds last a few weeks, or maybe a month, around October or November. But December was crazy, and although we get the occasional calm day, the wind has otherwise been the most consistent part of this “summer.”

I’ve worn sandals once. I haven’t even had to paint my toenails, or shave my legs (though don’t worry, I have), because I’m generally in shoes or sneakers and jeans. We’ve even had the heating on, including today, and I’ve managed to sit outside on the deck with a drink for – count it – ONE measly day! So it’s been wine and cocktails inside, in a desperate attempt to pretend that it is, in fact, summer. Sure, we’ve been able to get lovely summer produce from the supermarket and even the garden, so that’s kept me busy at least.

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Tomato and zucchini relish jars

Yet from almost every window in my house, I look outside and across the valley, and see dozens of bright red pohutukawa trees. As much as I love them, it’s as if they are mocking me!

Still, I can’t resist photographing them. Here are a few from my walk down my street the other day, on a rare calm and sunny (though not very warm) day.

 

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I missed Thursday’s Treelove post, but figure it won’t matter if I’m a few days late. Driving into the city last week, and walking around our suburb, I noticed that the pohutukawa trees are bursting into bloom. As a child, I read in books that they are known as New Zealand’s Christmas Trees, but I had never seen one except in books. You see, they only occur naturally in the northern half of the North Island, and I grew up in the southern half of the South Island.

These days, they are planted all over the place, and they prosper too. They are everywhere in Wellington, and I’ve often written about them. I’m sorry if I am repetitive, but their vibrant red blooms never fail to bring me joy, and I want to bring that joy to you. I use them for Christmas cards, and I even use them as my seasonal header on this blog!

So here’s just one of the trees. I snapped it on the east coast of the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula, and wrote about our search for pohutukawa in bloom here.

I’ll try and get some shots of a group of trees in flower before the end of the year, for another Tree post, because it is a sight worth seeing.

Pohutukawa in flower

One or two pohutukawa trees did oblige with flowers

Another Thursday Treelove post, if a little late.

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There are some days when the colours seem brighter, the air fresher, and the earth and sea and sky seem more alive. Today is one of those days. Yesterday we had mild temperatures, but the day was quiet, with mist hanging around at the top of the valley, dampening noise, spirits, and – in my case at least – activity.

But this morning, Monday greeted us with the brightest of greens, and the bluest of blue sky. Temperatures are warmer too, edging into almost-summer temperatures (high teens/low 20s C) here in Wellington, though elsewhere in the country they are getting full-fledged mid-summer temperatures this week. We drove out to visit my father-in-law on the road that edges the shore (tracking the fault-line), and the harbour looked glorious.

As often happens at this time of year, Wellingtonians desperate for summer to arrive over-estimated the temperature. The Husband was happy in shorts and a T-shirt, but I saw many women in summery, sleeveless tops, and one even in a boob-tube (tube top). I had to smile at this optimism, this wholehearted embracing of temperatures that tell us to get out of our winter coats and woollen tops!

We stopped for lunch at a cafe on the way home, where people were enjoying their lunch outside in the sun, though forever cautious about UV rays and the damage they can do, we sat inside.

And on the drive home, even a pohutukawa tree was caught up in the exuberance of the season, beginning to flower several weeks earlier than usual. It reminded me that it will soon be time to change my blog header, to the vibrant red pohutukawa flowers of the season.

That said, the early flowering of the pohutukawa tree made me sad too. Climate change is urging it to bloom early. The warm temperatures we are experiencing have come from across the Tasman Sea from Australia, where they are suffering major, early bushfires that are destroying lives and livelihoods. The colourful sunsets that have resulted here are a sombre reminder that the beauty we see is a tragedy for others.

 

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