At one o'clock in the morning I get a message from Rosy, "Look outside!" She is completely correct in her assumption that I am delighted to be woken from a deep sleep and sent outside to view a snowy wonderland in the moonlight. It is snowing! In Launceston! We almost never get snow, and never a whole snow blanket. And under a nearly full moon the snow lies ghostly and luminescent.
I am outside in my pyjamas, boots and a coat, with snow in my hair, all alone in the silence. To be fair, I did try to wake Red, but they were not anywhere near as excited as I was about the prospect of snow in the night time, so I had the night and the snow all to myself.
At lunch time today there was still snow all over the garden, with the hardy winter veg popping its heads up out into the cold sunlight. My plan today was to go up to Paul's to get more fire wood. That plan is shelved because Paul's mountain road is closed. I am running out of wood but had the bright idea to chop up the big old chopping block for extra warmth. I had already accidently chopped a big piece out of it last week, so it is clearly time. I also have various logs arranged around the place as outdoor furniture. They can go into the fire as well. It's like the Russian steppes around here, chopping up the
furniture to stay warm..
Rosy and her boyfriend drove over for coffee and warmth as their power was off and they live in an all electric house. Our power went off last night but serendipitously Red spent a couple of days during the week making more new candles from old so we had light. We had warmth from the fire and could cook our dinner and make our cups of tea on the the wood stove or on our gas cook top. It really, really doesn't hurt to think about adding some extra layers of resilience for when the grid stops working. I was forcibly reminded that we need another torch. One is not quite enough and Paul keeps nagging me about keeping one in the car. This one is rechargeable and I have had it over a year and never yet recharged it.
The kale and the peas and the cherry plum blossom seem to positively be thriving with their brief encounter with the snow. The temperatures are plunging this week as we experience an Antarctic blast from the south. Last week I ordered this year's seeds from The Seed Collection. I have trialled their seeds over the last year - the germination rates are excellent and they are very good value indeed, a small company from just over Bass Strait in Victoria. It always seems impossible that it is only weeks away from time to be planting seeds when we are in the depths of a freezing August, winter's last hurrah. And yet, look at this blossom. The plum tree knows what we can only hope for, that spring is just around the corner.
Whatever hemisphere you live in, August brings the last of a fierce season, whether it is biting cold or the heat of the sun. Time slips away from us so often as we race along to a pace of life that has separated itself from the seasons. August is a good time to stop a bit and look around, treasure a fiery winter dawn, the joy of a fire, the wonder of hardy early blossom. Or at the height of summer to stop and really taste that sun-warmed tomato and inhale the basil, just for a moment before subjecting them to the alchemy of the passata pot.
It is such a joy to be astonished all over again by what the Earth has up her sleeve.. surprise! (Well, clearly it is more of a joy for us mere mortals when it is surprise snow rather than a surprise tsunami or tornado..)