A good summer

My wife didn’t “get” Christmas until she came to live in England with me, way back in 1986. It wasn’t the cold or the wet that she hated about the British winter: it was the dark. So when we hit the solstice she suddenly understood the urge to dress up, celebrate, get drunk, go a bit crazy and stare at the horizon, waiting for the sun reappear.

I’m a bit the same with Australian summers, but in reverse. The December just gone was beautifully cool, probably not great if you own the lease on a pluto pup franchise at the beach but perfect for creek mooching. I always feel that if I can get through December then I can face anything that January and February can throw at me. Heat? Humidity? Bring it on!

In spite of the cool end to the year, Nature got on with doing what it does best. Light + warmth + water = fecundity. I’m now seeing less of the showy flowers and more of what happens next. Seed pods are beginning to bulge.

They’re still green but soon they’ll brown off, start bursting or shedding or doing whatever it is they have to do to get out there and start the process again.

The more short-lived the species the quicker the cycle. There are still opportunistic plants, insects and animals punching out one more crop or one more brood, always pushing boundaries.

As always, the price of this bounty is a massive death toll. Lots of carcasses down the creek every day, dead stuff getting washed into the water to break down and keep the circle rolling along.

I’m happy, though. I’ve made it to mid January and I’ve still got blankets on the bed. This has been a good summer.

2 Responses to A good summer

  1. Sherry Smith says:

    What is the second picture? This plant is growing in the garden in Jerusalem and we are trying to identify it!

    • Mark MacLean says:

      Hi Sherry

      My brother-in-law, who Knows About These Things, tells me that it’s castor oil plant, Ricinus communis, which I believe contains the poison ricin (poison of choice by umbrella-wielding Bulgarian assassins!).

      The other ones cotton bush, Gomphocarpus.


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