Silver into gold

by | Jul 16, 2013 | Uncategorized | 13 comments

In the depth of winter, colour recedes from the bach garden. But a new note is struck. Snowdrops hang their little bells so sweetly. I feel as fresh as a maiden when I look at them.

 Rangiora nonchalantly flips over a leaf, to show the silver underside. One year I wrote clues in ballpoint pen on the silver side, then rolled them into little scrolls for my granddaughter’s treasure hunt. She’s 19 now and has been too old for such trifles over past years, but there’s a little one who will enjoy finding letters on rangiora leaves when she’s old enough to read.

 A nikau palm reaches up to a silver sky,

and a flax bush throws out its silver-sided leaf.

In winter, even the colours become simple.

But there is one contrasting note. This golden kowhai tree, which flowers well ahead of its spring due date, was planted on the whenua/placenta of my first granddaughter, who died at 6 weeks old. On July 21 it will be the anniversary of the sad day when she left this world, twenty years ago.

Life is precious; the next generation is precious, and the gold and silver of nature reminds me to be grateful.


  1. Hilary Melton-Butcher

    Hi Juliet – what a lovely memorial to your first granddaughter, but how tragic … life is precious as you say – nature will protect the memory of number one …

    … the present will provide happy times of new life ..

    With thoughts and cheers – both deserving thoughts .. Hilary

  2. juliet

    * Hilary, I feel very blessed to have little Mira in my life. Thank you for your thoughts.

  3. Vicki Lane

    A beautiful post — words and pictures. Bittersweet…

  4. Anne Ruffell

    How lovely to see that curling yellow bud of the kowhai with its special meaning. A time of reflection to remember past times and to look to the future and all the joy that Mira has in store for you.

  5. Penny O'Neill

    Tender. Touching, Juliet, with sad memories and hopeful futures all rolled into one. Won’t it be fun to have Mira someday find those treasure notes?

    It will be in the 90’s here today, with 95%+ humidity. Very uncomfortable with heat warnings.

  6. juliet

    * Anne, you know so well how sad that time was and what blessings I have with Mira.

    * Penny, it will be such fun to make those little scrolls for Mira one day. Keep cool in that intense heat. Here we are doing our best to keep warm!

    Thank you, Anne and Penny for your sympathetic comments.

  7. Lynley

    I have reflected on your post Juliet as the snowdrops offer poignancy to me at this time of the year. My Mum always loved seeing the first snowdrops as they spoke to her of spring’s return. Generally they appear at the time of her birthday in early July.

    I love that your Kowhai is flowering at the appropriate time to remember your first granddaughter. The twirl shaped flowers remind me of Mira’s light, dancing movements you so often capture with your photos.

  8. juliet

    * Lynley, how lovely that snowdrops appear around the time of your mother’s birthday. July 3 is my mother’s birthday, and violets were her flower. These anniversary flowerings bring many memories. Thank you; I love what you say about the ‘twirl shaped flowers’.

  9. Hotly Spiced

    I love your images. I’m so sorry to hear of your granddaughter’s very untimely death. What a horrific time for you all and I’m sure that even with the passing of time, it doesn’t get any easier. How lovely to have a plant in her memory xx

  10. juliet

    * Thank you Charlie. I’m at peace with it now, but I feel sadness and joy mixed when I see the little kowhai tree flowering.

  11. Marja

    Og you already have snowdrops Lovely We have small daffodils in the garden. Can’t wait till spring

  12. juliet

    Marja, I always love to see the first spring flowers. Your daffodils are early; must be lovely to see.


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