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The colours of the season

“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his life and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether s/he is working or playing. To him s/he’s always doing both.” ~ James A Michener

In the words of another one of my heroes, Julie Andrews, also rings true for me,

“Some people regard discipline as a chore. For me, it’s a kind of order that sets me free to fly.”

These are the dictums that imbue my work and life with meaning, they fuel my enterprise and inspirations, they cast the atmosphere of my work environment, they determine directions at times and they steer the ship of my emotions, or perhaps, often become the design brief for the emotions I let choose reign.

This is the mainline of my life, the “daily grind” or the playground of my creative life. I resonate with the season of spring, but more forcibly with the season of summer. I live in Australia, in the state of Queensland and noticeably we are one of the places in our wonderful world which experiences little real “change of season” metamorphism. However, spring begins and there is a stirring of my being, deep, deep down, and by the time summer is on its way, that deep rousing has erupted into a lively awakening.

It is inciting me to action, it agitates, it arouses, it inspires and it disturbs my thinking. I find it to be deeply provoking, challenging and energising.

It is the time of year – October, November, December, January when I am edgy, something bestirs inside and I want to action things now, make plans for the next 90 days and year ahead. I feel motivated and dynamic more than at any other time of the year or season. I feel truly in my best me.

The light here takes on a particular brilliance and harshness in Queensland – it makes me look at familiar scenes, and landscapes anew. The smells of plant life bursting forth into flower are intoxicating. One of my favourite smells – which is related to things to do at this time of year is to dis-embark a plane in Cairns – the aeroplane door opens and an array of sensory delights explodes in your nostrils, eyes and ears – the smell of tropical forest, tropical humid heat and the sound of it – a cacophony, the melody of many birds – love it!

It stirs deeply harboured memories of many childhood trips.

Those months bring us to Christmas and that season stands alone for its expansive dimensions of family, celebration, completion of work, education, endings and then beginnings.

Transcendent over all of that for me are the colours and noises of the season. Not for me being kissed under holly but instead glimpsing the robust red of a tall Poinciana tree heavy with bold red flowers or perhaps this year the flowers are tantalisingly orange, comparatively a bit dusty and dry but a vibrant orange all the same.

Sometimes in close proximity you can see deeply, richly red Poinciana and within a 500 – 1000 metres range of that tree is one which is a carroty orange or smooth tangerine coloured specimen.The sight of a Poinciana trees in full riot of colour causes my heart and my spirit and my soul to well up. As the celebrations approach then comes another rich seasonal plant that is blooming.

In the words of another one of my heroes, Julie Andrews, also rings true for me, in bunches and look sensational on the tree. Floating these blooms in a bath or glass vase as a centrepiece is a very tropical luxe experience. You see it in many spas in tropical locales.

The season of Christmas for me is perfumed by the rich exotic frangipani, where every 2nd garden has numerous shrubs and trees in flower and the colours of the season for me are earthy, the rich rebellious red of the Poinciana displayed against the vivid rich apricot and yellow of the frangipani haloed by the sun’s shiny pristine glare.

These are both silhouetted against a blue sky the chromatic cast of which I believe you only see in Australia. It is not French blue; it is not Mediterranean blue; it is not cornflower blue; it is not azure or baby blue; is not blue-grey and blue-green (those are the local Coral Sea ocean colours) it is not a Capri blue; it is not indigo blue. The varieties of the Blue colour may differ in hue and chroma, both which can also be varied by saturation, intensity or colourfulness or then there is lightness which is characterised by value, tone or brightness.So the colour can vary in 2 of these 3 qualities, variation in value are also called tints and shades, a tint being the blue altered by missing with white, or a shade is created by introducing black into the mix. Our Queensland blue should be trademarked, for me its closest marker is a colour called Bleu Celeste but every day, morning and afternoon the hue, the chroma and lightness varies with our brilliant, strident, harsh light. This fuels the background and foregrounds the colours. There is nothing like it that I have seen before across the world. For me, the season of Christmas resonates with the smell of frangipani, is populated by the variation of maybe candy-apple red of a Poinciana with its fern green foliage and the amazing blue of the sky. This carries and lights me up form the inside with Christmas elation, thrill and glow. So, I don’t want to be kissed under the Mistletoe, I want to embrace life under the Poinciana tree in the back yard, down the street and at the local park. What are the chapter and verse of the signals that herald Christmas for you and does that coincide with your favourite season, and if not, what are the markers of the year’s favourite season for you. Please share below in the comments and this Christmas make distance seem smaller.

Poinciana – Delonix regalia is also one of the several trees known as Flame tree. Called Royal Poinciana and Flamboyant. Delonix regia is a species of flowering plant in the family Fabaceae, sub-family Caesalpinioideae. It is noted for its fern-like leaves and flamboyant display of flowers. It is endemic of the western forest of Madagascar and has been introduced into tropical and sub-tropical regions worldwide.

The Frangipani Tree has foliage in white and yellow, apricot and pink and through to a velvety rusty red. I tis the national flower of Nicaragua and it has migrated to most tropical and sub-tropical parts of the world and is extremely hardy. Plumeria (common name Frangipani) is a small genus of 7-8 species mainly deciduous shrubs and trees. Plumeria is related to the Oleander (Nerium Oleander) family and both possess poisionous, milky sap.

Nikki A Creber (Author)

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