... so it must be Christmas!
It always lifts my spirits when I see the first bright red blossoms of our gorgeous native Pohutukawa trees, and we are blessed with a goodly number here in our little bay.
We have some on the beachfront and of course they cling to the clifftops too, tenacious in the face of wind, weather and salt sea spray.
A good friend of mine said that the Pohutukawas are all individuals. They bloom when they want, to the extent that they wish and I believe that's the case. Some will produce a profusion of colour one year, and a scant few blooms the next. Some are eager to show off now, others take their time. Walking by the trees you can here the industrious buzz of bees.
The photo above is a fine example of the colours I associate with summer here in the north: the red and green of the trees, the blues and whites of the water, the beige of the sand, Rangitoto brooding green and volcanic in the distance, the sky a pale blue that forewarns us of the hot days to come, smudges of white cloud here and there. Ah yes. It's a welcome sight indeed.
Summer with all its warmth, relaxation, and fun provides so much material for writing even if you're just lying back on your lounge chair, enjoying the view from wherever you are: have a go at writing your thoughts, what you see, hear, taste and smell.
Writing down memories of summer can bring comfort and a smile when we find ourselves trudging through winter again with its rain and cold.
Some of the most famous books ever written take place during summer (think The Great Gatsby): hot, sultry, steamy can provide the perfect setting for some intriguing storylines.
Of course Christmas and New Year can offer up some great family stories - and we all have them: the outrageous aunt who insists on smoking cigars at Christmas dinner, the cat who chases a mouse up onto the table as Dad carves the ham, and waking up on New Year's Day hungover and lying in the old claw-foot bathtub with no idea how you got there.
The events of recent years have certainly encouraged us to make the most of every moment, grab every piece of happiness that comes our way, and to work on changing those 'I should ...' statements to 'I will!'
(Meaning, 'I will write that book I've been wanting to write for years ...')