Winter is well and truly here. Those cold, clear days - we've had some of those - and the windy wet ones too. Early July and we're past the winter solstice so it's full steam ahead towards summer.
I was walking at our beach the other afternoon and happened across this: someone had wrapped a small wreath of colourful flowers ( artificial but no matter) around the trunk of one of the pohutukawas we have along the beachfront.
A few years back someone took to a couple of these gorgeous native trees with a chainsaw and cut them down. The council planted a couple of new ones.
Over time, I noticed that one was struggling, withering and dying and on my walk I saw that it had been removed. There's just the empty space there now and it occurred to me that the wreath may have been placed as a remembrance of the tree that didn't make it, or perhaps it had been placed to comfort the well established pohutukawa beside it that had, I'm sure, done its best to nurture and encourage its fledgling neighbour, bearing sad witness to its slow but steady decline and eventual removal. Or maybe it had been placed there to brighten our days with a bit of colour. Whatever the reason - and there could have been many - I was moved by this simple gesture someone had taken.
When we do this in our writing, the effect can be just as powerful. Our story - the tree trunk, let's say - may need just a slight touch, a hint of colour, a bit of magic, so the reader will go, 'Ah! Yes!', perhaps be taken to a place of emotional memory or to a time of life long forgotten and now recalled by the writer's skill.
The smallest thing can be the most powerful and evocative.