WAKING UP IN THE 100 “AKER” WOOD

“WHAT day is it?”

“It's today,” squeaked Piglet.

“My favorite day,” said Pooh.

Yes, I’ve been delving into Pooh of late. Maybe because I’ve been feeling contemplative. Maybe because it’s the last week of Winter. Winnie the Pooh always makes me think of Spring.

In my child’s mind it was perpetually Spring in the Hundred-Acre Wood – the ground always warm enough to sit on with your back against a beech tree.

And even though Winnie the Pooh was set in dreary Britain and Christopher Robin often wore a scarf and a raincoat, those images of Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore and the crew always come to mind at Winter’s end when the world is waking up.

We all have our Hundred-Acre Wood. The patch we know so well that we notice its changes.

In Strathfieldsaye the magpies are swooping, the galahs are practicing their crazy aerobatics, the butcher birds warming up their voices.

The worms are surfacing, the ants wiping the sleep from their eyes. The fish in our pond are thawing and swimming towards the daylight again.

The Winter torpor is lifting and we’re feeling again – the warmth on our backs, the sun on our faces, the breeze on our skin – the optimism that comes with lengthening afternoons.

The worms are surfacing, the ants wiping the sleep from their eyes.

Spring means driving with the window down, the sweet sticky scent of gold dust wattles, almond blossom, freshly mown grass – a few short weeks when the air is a confection.

It’s soup making way for salad, and the dreaming of summer fruit…cherries for Christmas, apricots stewing, peach juice running down your chin, spitting watermelon pips at the ones we love.

Spring is an aching back from brushcutting, aching legs from cycling, the wonderful, tired ache of physical activity after months of sitting in front of the football.

And speaking of football, there’s the promise of finals; of patchwork ovals and five teams vying for eighth spot. It’s the joy of knowing your team’s already IN the finals and their spot is safe. It’s seeing coloured balloons on letterboxes and verandahs as the last Saturday in September draws closer.

In Spring the Zen dog stops limping as the sun warms his bones.

We clean out the fireplace, throw open the doors and windows, take our breakfast and newspapers outside on a Saturday morning, place a single flower in a jar on the kitchen table.

In Spring we realise we have no decent summer clothes in the wardrobe, no antihistamine in the medicine cabinet; that our legs are as pale as the goal posts on grand final day.

But none of that matters when you can sit in the dappled sun with avocado and lime juice on sourdough toast, the latest Murakami novel on your lap, and your first cuppa for the day.

And as luck would have it, it’s eleven o’clock. As Pooh would say, “Time for a little something…”

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