Seasonal Almanac

Autumnal equinox: Beetles wall up their burrows (5 of 5)

March 31st, 2009

Autumnal equinox 10 of 15I have never been a fan of camellias. Living with the number of different camellia shrubs and bushes in our garden has slowly captured my focus. People are interested in camellias for many reasons. Japanese Zen monks prize particular species whose flowers fall whole. The fallen flower on the raked peebles becomes a subject of contemplation. The name of the Japanese camellia, Camellia sasanqua(Setsuka) 雪月花, literally translates to ‘snow moon flower’ – a phrase that dervies from the poem by Tang dynasty Chinese poet, Bai Juyi. The line of the poem reads ‘in the times of snow, moon, flower, I think of you’. In Japan, setsuka denotes the beauty of nature.

Camellia belongs to the Theaceae family and one is the most well-known species is the Camellia sinensis, aka the tea plant. The evergreen shrub has been bred for its leaves for the production of the most widely drunk beverage. As I browse through The Digger’s Club catalogue, I wonder whether we should plant our own tea plant: a source of caffine wrapped in beauty.

2 Responses to “Autumnal equinox: Beetles wall up their burrows (5 of 5)”

  1. 1 lizzie
    April 6th, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    I just wanted to write a thankyou for the seasonal almanac and tell you about how it fits into my days….

    Every monday i have an hour break between delivering my enormous 300 people lecture and tutoring. I am always totally exhausted and keyed up at the same time – I can’t do any work. My weekly ritual is to get a cup of tea and catch up on the seasonal goings on in Austinmer. It is such a lovely, gentle, calming read. Every episode is its own complete little vignette, but together they build to a lovely rich story with no beginning or end. Just like a good TV drama some storylines go over several episodes, some get dropped and picked up later, some last just one day. It has really made me think about how we mark time and build narratives out of our daily existence. How each day relates to the pentad, how each pentad relates to the season and how each season relates to the year. What I like above all is that it makes each day count. Like Lucas’ Petersham blog, I love the way each day contributes something new – even if it’s just a recognition of a very small detail. Thanks for doing it!

  2. 2 jolaw
    April 10th, 2009 at 10:21 am

    Thank you so much for your encouraging comment. It is really great to know that the Seasonal Almanac is providing a welcome relief from your hactic day.

    I don’t have as much time as I used to in keeping the almanac’s daily entries. In Japan, I not only had time to think about each day but I also had time to reflect on each entry. Since the teaching semester started, I have been struggling to keep up.

    For me having a daily routine is difficult as I am easily distracted by things that need doing and I like to do a few things at once. Having a schedule means discipline – something I am always aspired to do. You comment inspired me to perservere. The effort is worthwhile in getting the perspective I need to look at the little details of everyday life.