Posts Tagged ‘landscape’


“The earth has music
for those who will listen.”

~ George Santayana

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Billabong, 3

Beauty is the promise of happiness


Winter’s biting cold and bitter westerly winds have created a bleak landscape. Nature is shrinking in upon itself as it rests before the arrival of spring. Instead of complaining about the weather, I’ll focus this month on the theme of ‘beauty.’ Enjoy these five installments.

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Snow bush

As our cold and windy winter settles in again, right on cue the Hawaiian Snow Bush bursts into its garment of white. In gardens everywhere this delicate shrub or small tree, the Brenia nivosa, provides us with the closest visual suggestion of snow that we could experience. Native to the Pacific Ocean Islands, its papery-thin leaves produce leaf tips of the purest white, giving the impression that the bush has been dusted with drifts of soft snow. As we follow the leaf tips down toward the trunk, its leaves beneath are a rich, dark green.

Snow bush detail 1

One may be tempted to think that the Snow Bush is covered with white blossoms, but hiding under the lower foliage nestle its tiny green flowers. Another variety of snow bush, the Rosea Picta, adds pink to the white and green foliage, leading one to a false impression of a flowering shrub. As winter progresses, the white or pinkish-white leaf tips slowly turn green. And as the Hawaiian Snow Bush loves water, if kept moist it rewards us with its beautiful disguise of winter’s snow.

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Corn_field ripening

Fields of ripening corn
stretch into the far horizon.
Time stands still
in this warm Indian Summer.


As light softens and fades
the sky fills with crimson and gold.
Another day ends
to find us homeward bound.

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Bush landscape

A two lane road stretches ahead, more than 526 kilometres long, with only 2 comfort stops and hot food to be found between Port Augusta and Coober Pedy—the opal mining centre of Australia. Empty fields of red, orange, and reddish brown soil are occasionally dotted with tufts of spinnifex grass and the ever present salt bush. Our timing was right on cue as we caught the salt bush in bloom, covered with myriads of tiny white flowers. Its sage green is now dusted with splashes of silver as the salt bush is bathed in sunlight. The colours here are intense. We are immersed in total silence.

Salt bush

Occasionally short, stubby acacia trees reach their maximum height of 3 metres. In this primal bushland when a tree loses its leaves, only the desiccated trunk and branches remain. These ghostly sentinels silently guard the vast, barren landscape until they collapse to litter the area. Underground water can also seep up to form a pond or small lake that evaporates quickly and becomes caked with salt crystals. Everything lies baking in the sun.

Dead trees and saltbush

Does this seem too monotonous to find enjoyable? When we leave the car for a leg stretch or a photograph, to tread upon the rocks and bones of this land, we are transported back to the beginning of time. Under a mesmerizingly beautiful and austere landscape that weaves its spell to draw us in, we understand we are intruders in this very ancient country on our earth.

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Back Veranda, part 2

The summer solstice has come and gone and as the days grow shorter our usual hot summer stretches ahead. What has become of the dreaded el Nino? We were led to believe that a big one was lurking just around the corner. Instead of experiencing a dry season we have been blest with bountiful, early summer rain.

Our surrounding bush land is thriving. Gone are all the pale green tips of new life growth. Instead, rich shades of viridescent green appear everywhere as the rain continues to fall and nourish the land.

What does appear different this year is the quality of the light. It seems to be clearer, brighter, and so intense that colours everywhere pop and sizzle. When I enter our home after time spent in the sunshine, my eyes take longer to adjust to the darker light inside. Is it only me that experiences this new phenomenon, or do others notice it too?

In the meantime nature is always filled with surprises, so expect the unexpected during this cool, wet summer. The view of our landscape signifies rest, regeneration and regrowth, and we can’t think of a better place to enjoy a coffee than from our back veranda.


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Volcanic rocks, 2 After days of cold and wind, late winter has taken its toll on the landscape. It looks tired and less vibrant. Now the rocks and stones seem more prominent. And as everything continues to change and evolve, so do the large rocks we see everywhere. Rocks are born in volcanic fire and slowly break down into boulders over long spans of time. Their uses are many: strengthening foundations, building walls, fences and pathways. Rocks, detail Mighty forces of nature: wind, fire, water, and erosion, crush boulders into smaller pebbles. These are abundant everywhere, around and within waterways, scattered through forest floors and open grassland. River stones Eventually time pulverises the pebbles wearing them down into sand. But before sand can decompose into soil, it fills vast areas of land while bordering streams, rivers and oceans. Sand dunes In the story of rocks we see nature in the raw, charting her course over eons of time, but developing so slowly that none of us will ever witness these changes in a single lifetime.

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