March is here. In Australia, March 1 is the beginning of autumn. Days are gradually shortening and soon we will turn back the clocks. Now it is dark when we rise in the morning – even darker for Mr O who leaves home at 6:15 am. The days get progressively cooler, although we may still get the odd hot day this month.
While native Australian trees tend to be evergreen, we have many, many plane trees planted around the city precincts. These provide valuable share in the hot summer months. Now they are losing their leaves to allow winter sunshine to warm us in the coming months.
The leaves make such a mess! Yesterday I snapped this shot beside my car. I was off-site to attend a meeting and by the time I came out, my car was almost axle deep in leaves.
There has been talk that we should replace the foreign trees with natives, the argument being they take a lot of care and water. We have been on severe water restrictions for some years. These have been relaxed a little this year, but we are still restricted in our use of the precious liquid. There is a great shot of the plane trees in Swanston Street, during summer, to be found at Melbourne Today.
The photo to the left is of plane trees in London, flaunting full foliage. Perhaps those who want them replaced are correct, perhaps we should be planting Australian natives. Yet the green of plane trees is so lovely in summer.
As I took a few moments to watch the dead leaves fluttering in the wind, I thought how fragile the gift of life really is. The tree lives on, yet the leaves die each year, disintegrating and returning nutrients to the soil. The cycle of life.
Of course, in our civilised way of life, the leaves are really falling on concrete and are swept up by the street cleaners to go I know not where. I hope the leaves find their way into compost.
As I walked to my car, the leaves crunched underfoot: dry, parched and broken.
Winter approaches, they reminded me.
I smiled. Winter brought my family home. They have been here 9 months. I climbed into the car and drove happily home. I had mouths to feed.