Snatched phrases: changing world

‘I felt I was a caterpillar changing colour,
precariously balanced,
moving from one species of leaf to another.’

From ‘Warlight’
by Michael Ondaatje

In the passage above, the narrator is an adolescent boy on the cusp of adulthood; the story is, among other things, a story of his passage into the adult world.

The lone grevillea bush in flower at the winter solstice

I love the image Michael Ondaatje uses in this passage — not the stereotypical image of a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis, which would have worked, but this more intricate, layered, thoughtful image of the caterpillar … still a caterpillar, undoubtedly, but a caterpillar that changes as it moves from one world to the next.

Anthills: they appear one day in the Scrub, and disappear the next

I don’t have any photos of caterpillars, but I took the pictures accompanying today’s post in the Aldinga Scrub during the week of the winter solstice …

Unknown mistletoe on banksia bush

… a time of year when we all, to some extent, mark the passing of time and of the seasons, and of the ever-changing natural world about us …

Grasstrees: not yet in flower, but standing sentinel nonetheless

4 thoughts on “Snatched phrases: changing world

  1. Grass trees – just the thought of such a plant is amazing to me. Seeing the inflorescence makes me think of the Devonian era. Australia has so many unique and fascinating plants.

    1. Thanks Eliza. Grass trees are amazing, aren’t they? In the centre of Adelaide, near Parliament House, they have planted a little grove of young grass trees, one of which has just thrown up a flowering spear (an inflorescence, as I guess I should call it?). I love the contrast between the stark, prehistoric form of the grass tree against the grey stone pillars of the nineteenth-century government building. I think you would like it, too! (I keep meaning to stop to take a photograph of it, but the light is difficult in that spot — there’s almost never much sun — and people are constantly thronging back and forth from the railway station to the centre of the city, so I find it hard to stop and pull my camera out to take a shot of it …

  2. Everyone notices the big changes during autumn: leaves changing color, trees baring, weather becoming cooler, rain arriving. But, I love how you chose to focus on the tiny details of this time of year, as significant in their own ways as Ondaatje’s caterpillar.

    1. Thank you, bespoke. I think sometimes the biggest things can be seen in the tiniest details, and sometimes it’s easier to see the world through its tiny, beautiful details. A long time ago I heard the phrase ‘beauty is in the smallest things’, and for me that phrase rings very true xo

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