Tag Archives: snow

The Snow Nymph

The nor’wester blows.  Summer-like heat bruises the body; compresses the air within.     Barely emerged from winter chill, not yet accustomed to the freshness of spring on my shoulders, I flail under hot air and bluster.  Bring back the southerly, I wail; a gentle one, dipped in iced water, iced with snow, one that I can enjoy like an ice cream cone.

Some of you will remember that, a few months back,  my daughter was hospitalised. She has been out of hospital for a while now. She is working slowly towards a better state of well-being. In recent days she has been able to return to writing poetry and has felt strong enough to publish one poem on her new blog, where she goes by the lovely name of ousel. If you would like to read her poem, The Snow Nymph, you can find her  here    I confess that I don’t always understand my daughter’s poems because they are full of allusions and references which are beyond my small brain, but I always find them beautiful. 🙂

Afterword:

The michelia in my photo is very bedraggled as a result of our capricious weather. It seems to be flowering far too early, this year.  Last year it didn’t flower till late August/early September.

And a special note for Steve , at Portrait of Wildflowers, who teaches me new words, almost daily: the corolla of my  michelia is fugacious, as fugacious as this summer heat in early spring.

Tomorrow, our temperatures are expected to return to more normal ones for the beginning of August. The michelia is likely to be bitten by frost. 😦

© silkannthreades

Mortals who ring bells…….

From our daily newspaper, The Press, 1st January 2014, Thought for Today

Time has no divisions to mark its passage,  there is never a thunderstorm or blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year. Even when a new century begins it is only we mortals who ring bells and fire off pistols. ~  Thomas Mann (1875-1955)

Being mortal as I am, I spent this morning replacing my old calendars with the lovely new ones I have received. And because our former minister always said it is good to have occasions to look forward to from the beginning of each year, I have started to mark all the birthdays and special days that will come in 2014. (There’s a surprising large number of them 🙂 ) Knowing, and seeing, that there will be good times ahead helps us to handle the not so good times whenever they appear.

So it was ‘goodbye’ 2013

and ‘hello 2014’:

first of all from a calendar made by  The Rudolf Steiner School, in Sydney, where my brother teaches;

A wonderful day for chooks and me

A wonderful day for the chooks  et al

next from a calendar of  New Zealand,  beautifully photographed by friend, David Dobbs ( with apologies for my poor rendition of his superb portrayal of Moeraki Boulders ) ;

Beautiful New Zealand by David Dobbs

Beautiful New Zealand by David Dobbs

and, lastly, a ‘ hello 2014’ from  Sethsnap in Ohio, with his special blogger-chosen calendar, which will remind me of the seasons and holidays  of the US,  where most of my viewers live.

Elsewhere in 2014

Elsewhere in 2014

In other times....

In other times….

Do  you see my first calendar entries for 2014? Yes, there they are…P1030885One birthday and one reminder;  my  nephew’s birthday… and a ‘don’t forget’ to take your Vitamin D.

And thus the counting down of 2014 has begun, with the marvellous and the mundane… and without pistols  🙂

© silkannthreades

Christmas in past years

Many of us will have a photo, like this one, which I found whilst rummaging in my store cupboard this morning.

Sixties Santa and Sixties Me ?

Sixties Santa and Sixties Me ?

I think I am about 4 years old in this photo which would date this Santa meeting  to Christmas 1960. However  this date of 1960 doesn’t gel with the information I have on the photographer,   J Ambrose, who was apparently at  137 Armagh Street only in  1962 and 1964.  So, perhaps, I am older in the photo than I imagine I was.

Early Photographers in Christchurch

Early Photographers in Christchurch

I don’t remember meeting Santa, or having my photo taken with him, but I do remember that short-sleeved cardigan I am wearing. I loved it, with its lacy pattern, soft beige wool and shiny, faceted, glass-like buttons. My mother’s sister made it for me, and my only sadness over it was that it was hardly ever cold enough to wear it in my childhood homeland, Fiji.

The Santa photo, though, was not taken in Fiji. It was, I expect, taken during one of our ‘home-leave’ visits to Christchurch. And, I am thinking that Santa and I probably greeted each other at Santa’s corner in Hay’s Department Store  “Hay’s – the friendly store where everything is different!” http://lostchristchurch.org.nz/hays-building-oxford-terrace-c-1959    Hay’s no longer exists. It became Farmers in 1987. And the buildings which Hay’s, followed by Farmers, used to occupy no longer exist either, because they  had to be demolished after the earthquakes  (2010/2011).

Now, moving on from the Southern Hemisphere to the Northern one… as Santa must do, for, after all, we are amongst the first in the world to see Christmas Day.  [ Which begs the question, “Why doesn’t Santa live at  the South Pole?” It would be more convenient and fuel-efficient, considering the direction he has to travel.]

I digress….here are some photos of my first ever Northern Hemisphere winter.  This is the house in Valhalla, Westchester County, New York, where I spent Christmas in 1977. We didn’t, to my great disappointment, have a White Christmas, but, in early 1978, when this photo was taken, Mother Nature made up for the lack of snow on Christmas Day.

Valhalla 1978

Valhalla 1978

In February of that year,  I went from scarcely knowing what snow looked like to experiencing the  Blizzard of 1978.  I don’t believe I will ever forget the extraordinary day we walked in the middle of Second Avenue, Manhattan.  It was completely, and eerily, devoid of traffic. I didn’t own a pair of boots back then but I did have wooden clogs, with rubber heel and toe plates, and I found they were excellent  for negotiating the slippery pavements. ( Yay for Clogs! Does Santa have clogs? He should 🙂  Sinterklaas has a pair, I am sure.)

And here is the final photo from the cupboard rummage; me, in the aftermath of the Blizzard, in my friend’s garden at Valhalla. I cut a Santa like figure, don’t you think?

Is Santa lost?

Is it Santa?

© silkannthreades

Canada Dreaming

Where do you sail?

Where do you sail?

Although I grew up  on a very little island, my life was far from little or insular. I am not sure how the term insular came in to being because most island life, it seems to me, is  exposed to the comings and goings of the wider world.  It is in the very nature of an island to be outward looking; with eyes always turned to the horizon at sea and minds dreaming of what lies beyond.

Some  of my childhood dreams revolved around a huge country, namely Canada.  My dreaming was  influenced by a book we had, at home, about a modern (1960s!) Canadian family exploring their own country. The book had a stunning photo of what I thought must be the most beautiful lake in the world, Lake Louise. And I yearned to be like that travelling family, standing by that lake, breathing in the beauty of Canada.

My yearning and dreaming, and, most likely, some suggesting to my parents that we take our next holiday in Canada, came to nought. Nought, that is, unless I count my greatest (ever!) school project, entitled Canada. I completed this ‘master’work  during my last year at elementary school, when  I was about 11 years old.  I remember the hours I spent on it; the careful penmanship, the drawings, the maps, the frustration of the maple leaf  that refused to be drawn correctly; the beautifully straight, ruled lines I made across the pages. Ah, it was a labour of love; and  a labour of  heavily plagiarized content, as well. References, or sources, were not part of a school project in those far off days 🙂

Maybe the project lacked originality, but I adored it, and have kept it safe for more than forty years. Like me, it has travelled the world and rested in many homes. Unlike me, it has stayed in good physical shape and, apart from some discolouration and a few loose pages, it is much the same as on the day I finished it.

Here is a glimpse of the project. As you look at the slide show, imagine a young girl, in an old, wooden classroom, in a little sugar industry town, on a small island in the large Pacific Ocean, studiously and carefully  recreating  the story of Canada. And, for extra fun, imagine also that maybe, just maybe, that circa 1968, there was, in the middle of Canada, on a deeply snowy day, a young person dreaming and writing about small islands in the far Pacific, for I am sure there was one such child.

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Did you look carefully at the brochure   for the Canadian Pacific Railway trains? I put it  in my project because I thought those scenes  were the epitome of elegance and luxury.

Note: to  11 year  old self….how could you do this?????

Erratum required

Erratum required

© silkannthreades

Tales of snow and other things

Yesterday we had a little taste of winter. The weather was bleak. There was a wild, bitingly cold wind, hail, rain, sleet and snowflakes, and temperatures that barely rose above freezing point. Oh,  and a few moments of sun, as well.  I stayed indoors and tried not to mind the ice and cold whipping around the house.

This morning the storm was gone and the sun was shining again, but not with a lot of warmth. We ventured out to view the world. It hadn’t been cold enough for the snow to stay on the ground, at sea level, (where we are), but the hills of the city were covered with snow.

As we looked at the snow from a distance, we listened on the car radio to the story of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. Sixty years ago, today, they reached the summit of Mt Everest; the first people to succeed in climbing to the top of the highest point on earth. Two humble climbers; one remarkable moment.

It is a great story, that first successful ascent of Everest. One part of the story that I  particularly like  is this; there were two New Zealanders on the expedition, Edmund Hillary and George Lowe. When Hillary descended from the summit, he was greeted by George Lowe and this was their exchange :-

Lowe, waiting at the South Col with a thermos, called, “How did you get on?”

“Well, George, we knocked the bastard off!”

“Thought you probably must have,” replied Lowe. “Here, have a cup of soup.”

For more information on this day, sixty years ago, try the following links.

(http://www.stuff.co.nz/marlborough-express/news/8729855/Hillary-stands-atop-summit-of-NZ-fame) (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10872850)

And, here are some of the photos I took, today, of the first snowfall of the year. The scenery may not be up to Himalayan standards but it has its own charms and is a lot easier to access.

© silkannthreades