Tuesday, 8 January 2008

How do you tell it is winter?

I grew used to Canadian winters over many years in Calgary, Alberta. Long, dark nights, bone-chilling “exposed flesh will freeze in 60 seconds” cold, snow that turns to grey frozen slush with the passage of the famous Chinook wind, and brown, brown fields. The off-setting positive was wide-open azure skies and sunshine, though its warmth was imperceptible. Comox is milder. The snow doesn’t stay as long, but in its place, there are grey, grey skies, and rain immeasurable. Or so the webcam suggests. Your flesh won’t freeze, but you may grow webs between your toes.

Todos Santos can be at its best in the winter. The sun continues to shine from summery skies, and it’s still warm enough to wear bathing trunks or a bikini at the beach, but not so hot as to be uncomfortable. But there is still a perceptible and sudden set of changes in nature as the Solstice passes, as I noticed this week with the sudden fall of the leaves from our majestic, ancient Plumeria tree and other plants, and a contradictory rush of flowers on various other occupants of my garden.

Winter wonderland

The sun hesitates
Starting its northward passage
Days now imperceptibly lengthening
And the earth responds

The Plumeria sap stills suddenly, recedes
Turning its leathery green mantle
Into dried, fragile husks
That fall in a parody of New Year’s celebrations
Skittering hollowly on the dusty patio
Leaving bare upturned arms
Beseeching the return of summer

The Ocatillos on the nestling hillsides
Echo the call
Once enrobed in emerald scales
Now alchemized from green to gold overnight
Then shed to enter the New Year
Naked and unadorned

But within my garden
Others fear the coming heat
Seemingly aware of mortality
They trumpet fountains of flowers
In a vain attempt to deny the inevitable

And I sit here
Bathed in bright sunlight
Soothed by perfumed and still warm breezes
Watching these perennial changes
My imprinted mind struggling
To integrate inherent incongruities
In the arrival of a Todos Santos “Winter”.

1 comment:

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