19.8.09


Though nights and mornings are still cold, days are fine and warm and if you sit for a while, as I did today out in Bronte, under the sun blazing from a cobalt sky, it's hot. A hitch-hiker I picked up a couple of weeks ago told me that he had heard a long-range weather forecaster, who works off the moon, predict that we would have some rain at the end of this month and then nothing until a downpour the week before Christmas. Well, perhaps. Because it is August, the wattle is flowering, those tiny yellow puff petals, if that's what they are, blow in the wind or lie scattered on pavements, roadsides, gutters ... and then there's the scent, indescribable unless you know it: wattle. It is one of my earliest scent-memories and thus, and paradoxically, when the wattles flower in Sydney in August, I am liable at any moment to be transported back to Burns Street, Ohakune, where I grew up and where the wattles flowered in profusion every spring and the tiny yellow fragments blew, gathered, lay scattered ... has always seemed oddly fortuitous, this sensory memory that collapses half a century into a moment, and if at the same time I hear a magpie quardle-oodle then I truly do not know where I am or properly who I might be. And as I come out of this daze-dream, I might remember again something I did not know for most of my life: that my father's father Charlie was Australian, Melbourne-born and raised there until his older sisters plucked him out of the family milieu, because of his father, James', alcoholism and took him over to live a pious life in Herne Bay, Auckland ... or so the tale goes. Who knows? But I like to think that an appreciation of the scent of wattle flowering is not just apparent to my senses but, through some sort of Linnaean inheritance of acquired characteristics, in my genes as well.


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2 comments:

Kayte Denham said...

Yes! I am reminded of the huge Wattle of my teen-years, and the bright yellow cloud that I was drawn to contemplate on quiet afternoons.

lmrb said...

Beautiful. Not a whiff of nostalgia, just a perfumed longing for home, past and present - the lot of migrants. Do we ever arrive, I wonder. Ardle wardle doodle say the much wiser birds. And a pair of Rainbow Lorikeets have landed outside my window - what do they know? Bellies empty I guess.