Stories, seasons & friends archive

From my early blogging days @ Stories, seasons & friends

  • Woman teaching girl to knit
    Stories, seasons & friends archive

    Knitting without a pattern

    Perched on high stools and wrangling Vietnamese rolls with dipping bowls of inky soy sauce, scattering sesame seeds with every bite, my friend and I share life over lunch. It’s precarious, unpredictable and messy but satisfying somehow. As we talk about ageing parents and maturing children (how odd that time’s passing dictates such different adjectives) our words begin to unravel the way things have been and to knit them anew. Neither of us know what pattern to follow. But I never was any good at knitting, so this process seems strangely familiar. Change Poised between generations—one slowly fading, the other blooming with promise—my friend and I are at once children…

  • Stories, seasons & friends archive

    Blood red

    She arrived at my front door yesterday, unexpected, carrying a bucket. It was her last errand before leaving town for a family holiday—delivering a fragrant gift of thanks, roses from her carefully tended garden, Mister Lincoln, no less. It’s the scent that grabs you first and pulls you in to pay attention to deep red, velvety petals densely packed into large blooms. And those stems! Everything about this rose is strong and vital. Perfume After a hasty farewell, she’s gone. But thanks to Mister Lincoln I will ponder our friendship many times over as I walk past the flowers and smell their perfume. “They remind me of Nanna and Poppa’s place”,…

  • Image of snow gum in Victorian high country, Australia
    Stories, seasons & friends archive

    Of grief and the snow gum

    Winter. The aching cold creeps into my bones and stays. Like an unwelcome house guest, it distracts and drains me, apparently undeterred by my efforts to evict it. Outside, driving winds come in powerful waves, their icy blast arriving unhindered, direct from the snowy Australian Alps to me. Showery skirmishes of rain pass through indecisively, even apologetically. Oh, when will the spring come? Cold My instinct is an urgent retreat from the cold. Layered and heated, desperately conserving warmth and energy, I crave the cocoon of indoor comfort. Paradoxically, once I’m warm I become mean-spirited, fractious and selfish. “Who left that door open?” However, if I venture out into the…

  • Stories, seasons & friends archive

    Slowing down for the pageant

    Late autumn. A reason to slow down. Aromatic leathery eucalyptus leaves fall year round where I live, but they have company now—showy pay-attention company. Standing up amid an imposing array of angophoras, Sydney blue gums, blackbutts, turpentines and Queensland brush box in my neighbourhood are liquidambars, black tupelos, pin oaks, Japanese maples, swamp cypress and Chinese tallow trees. For a season, at least, the grey-green or olive-green natives are outdone by a spectrum of exotic colour. Autumn finery I could tell you that as deciduous trees shut down for winter the fading of green chlorophyll exposes the yellow and orange hues latent in some leaves. Bright sunlight and crisp nights…

  • A loaf of crusty sourdough bread partially sliced
    Stories, seasons & friends archive

    An ode to sourdough and hammocks, but mostly to friends

    As so often happens when I go to the local shopping centre, I got sidetracked. Last week I was hovering hopefully near the baker’s shelves—shelves of crusty sourdough, yeasty baps and fruity scones—wondering what to get, when instead I found a dear friend I hadn’t seen in a while. Shared Within minutes, I had discovered the reason I hadn’t seen her as she told me of the much loved mother-in-law, far away, and the much younger friend, nearby, who had died within a week of each other. Sorrow and grief shared, in the middle of the food hall. I haven’t always known the strong connections that give voice to conversations…