I love Sydney in the spring time. The days are growing longer. The skies are turning bluer. The sandstone walls and buildings appear yellow as if viewed through cellophane.
The jasmine burst out along the fence this morning, pink and white and olive green. Soon the bees will come and a variety of birds, including wrens and honeyeaters, who frolic through it as if running along a maze. The flowers are as white as my Grandmother’s French lace tablecloths which she washed in milk to ensure their purity. I imagine the wedding of a Fairy Queen carrying the tiny white cups as her bouquet, drinking honeysuckle wine from them afterwards in a celebration of love.
The waterlilies open their bubblegum pink fingertips and wave at passersby. The ducks swim by, nonchalant, as if used to such glorious sights. If I were a princess forced to kiss lots of frogs before landing my prince, I would hang out here. I think the frogs would be of a higher calibre.
Jolly Jack comes back to Blackwattle Bay. His Captain is an ancient mariner who traverses the east coast of Australia in spring and summer climes. He is full of songs about buxom wenches and a cavalcade of tall tales including the one when a sea monster catapaulted out of the Tasman Sea and ate his parrot, Reginald. Or when he was in the Cape York Peninsula (way up north) and Indonesian pirates stole his sails and he had to row back to the mainland. I think the Captain of the Jolly Jack fancies himself as a pirate.
The willie wagtails prance and dance, ready for anything, tails swaying like fans held by flamenco dancers. They fly so close to the ground the grass swishes and splays out behind them. They tease dogs and torment cats with their swiftness. They are the Kings of the park. And they know it.
The pelicans swim right up to the shore. Gulping crabs and whiting. Water spills from their beaks as they munch. Their throats bulge with their catch. Grand and majestic, they remain aloof. I think they are saying:’Bet you wish you were me.’
Then I see her. The gift. Fluttering in the sunlight, completely unaware of her significance. She is a fancy lady, elegant in her Parisian chic wings. She settles and glides from plant to plant, reluctant to strike a pose. She is not prone to singing her own praises. So I sing them for her, smiling up at the sky. With all this joie de vivre, all this beauty, it might as well be spring.
Image of Willie Wagtail courtesy of Steve Walker.