There are four very distinct seasons in the South Island of New Zealand. I like the distinct seasons and how you can layer what you wear to regulate your temperature. And I like watching all the tress and plants cycle through their natural states. Now that I’ve been here for a year, I’ve seen the willow tree, cherry blossom and golden elm in the front yard bloom, shed their leaves and slumber through a long winter.

At the moment, both the willow and cherry blossom are basically sticks. All leaves and blossoms have long disappeared, to be replaced by spindly branches. They look forlorn, especially when the sky is grey or it’s raining. So whilst it’s a bit sad to see them as nothing more than dry branches and twigs, I know that in a few months soft pinks and vibrant greens will start to appear, signalling the beginning of Spring.

The cherry blossom in its winter slumber.

The cherry blossom in Spring.

The sleeping willow tree.

The golden elm sleeps alongside its two companion trees.

The willow and golden elm just a few short weeks ago - April 30, 2011.