It’s not that easy being green;
Having to spend each day the color of the leaves.
When I think it could be nicer being red, or yellow or gold…
or something much more colorful like that.
This song could have been written for young mangoes, as they slowly grow on mango trees, nestled in the mango flowers (!), blending in with the leaves and other ordin’ry things.
As we go into late summer, mangoes ripen, and take on the colours of red, or yellow or gold. They become such a luscious fruit, the essence of summer, humidity, sun, and heat like a warm blanket.
But each year, part of me looks back nostalgically on the green mangoes, appearing in the markets so briefly, like that moment between spring and summer. Green mangoes that are fresh and cool, rather than heady-tropical. As Kermit might have said:
But green’s the color of Spring.
And green can be cool and friendly-like.
And green’s the color of green mangoes.
And green can be crunchy and sweet-sour-like.*
* with apologies for the textual travesty
This year’s green mango season, I made the green mango salad from Naomi Duguid’s book, Burma: Rivers of Flavor.
Before summer officially ends in the Antipodes, I’m sneaking in some photos of a beach side garden.
It was the end of Christmas at the holiday beach house. All week, we were waking up to the morning sun coming through our window. On our last morning, I went into the garden and took photos of the flowers before the day began in earnest.
It was a strange, beautiful half hour. The other house occupants were still asleep. So I padded around in oversized flip flops, feeling the dew on my feet, the sun getting warmer and brighter. A (rare) sense of being absolutely alone.
Despite the early hour, the sun was almost too bright to look at. It cast a golden morning glow. Reflected on the water, it turned dark blue into streaks of yellow. Trees and other plants became silhouettes. Starkly black against the sky and ocean.
Autumn is creeping up on us. The morning air is becoming nippy so my thoughts turn to long sleeves, even if it gives way to a swelteringly hot day. Some evenings look so cool, others continue to look like an extension of summer.
Last night was just like summer again.
The day began as a warm day that held just enough promise of clouds. Old-time Sydneysiders shook their heads and muttered about thunderstorms. By midday, and all through the afternoon, the air was like a wet-and-warm blanket that weighed on our suits and dresses. It made us long for the beach, or failing that, the air conditioned dryness back in the office cube farm. Early evening saw the promised thunderstorm, so brief that it seemed to make the air hotter, and more humid.
Then, somehow, during the evening, the air cooled and seemed just a little less humid. A sea breeze blew.
Sydney is seen as the glamorous but try-hard counterpart to its more aloof Melbourne cousin. During rush hour, it can seem as though the whole city is trying to get somewhere else as quickly as we can, and never mind the colour of the sky. But, at night, in summer, the city seems to breath a sigh of relief and relaxes – with a cool drink, by the harbour. (A Sydneysider is, at heart, a poster child of a country girt by sea.)
Week 1 of Autumn, the days are officially getting shorter, and it is becoming harder to take decent photos after work. At least the crazy windy, rainy weather we’ve been having lately will start to make sense!
Absence, they say, makes the heart grow fonder. I’m already becoming nostalgic about the few long, hot, humid days we had in late February. In this vein, here are some photos that will speak to me of summer … until next summer rolls around.
Sydney Festival, a month-long highlight of every January. This year, we had a giant rubber duck sail (float?) into Darling Harbour. We had fun with this oversized bath tub floatie on a glorious January day.
And a few snaps of our iconic Harbour and the Harbour Bridge. On one of those overcast, temperamental-crazy summer days…
Here’s to the autumn harvest, Easter, winter stews and Christmas in July. (and yes, that’s a tiny pineapple in the photo below)