Nothing Gold Can Stay

In the Clare Valley all the vineyards have turned yellow. For so many months they were green and now with the inevitable rolling of the seasons they turn to gold and soon all the leaves will be gone. In a month or so we will see the first teams of pruners working their way along the rows of bare vines.


Driving back from Clare this morning I was struck more than usually by how pretty the vineyards are and I took some photos despite the overcast sky that muted the colours.

Pearson’s Winery, Penwortham

This weekend is Gourmet Weekend in the Clare Valley and already we have a lot of visitors. They will be greeted as they drive along the main road through the Valley (Horrock’s Highway) with a cheery display of colour beside the road. Adding to the display are the red and yellow leaves of the prunus trees in the towns, which are blowing across the road.

Churinga Vineyards, near Penwortham

It all seems more beautiful knowing that it will be gone in a couple of weeks. Off the main road are more vineyards like the famous Sevenhill Winery below, the first winery in the Clare Valley.

Sevenhill Winery, Sevenhill

In the photo below a winter crop has been planted between the rows of vines. As one plant goes into hibernation another bursts in to life.  You can see a road in the distance. Years ago I drove along that road many times to visit my friend Murray Edwards. Murray was an artist and his house and studio were on the top of the ridge among the trees. He had a wonderful view across the valley towards Mount Horrocks. On a cool day like today Murray would have the little wood heater burning in his studio and a kettle on top of it, ready for tea and biscuits. Visitors were always welcome and the conversation was always engaging. Lots of wit and humour. Murray loved colour, all its varieties in nature. Most of Murray’s landscapes were intensely colourful but, of course, he loved subtle colours too, like early morning pastels. He told me once that sometimes he saw natural colour displays that were so beautiful they brought tears to his eyes.

Mount Horrocks Road, near Watervale.

The local vineyards were a favourite theme in Murray’s art. I was lucky to meet Murray and he had a big impact on me in the few years I knew him. I miss him. Thinking about Murray as I wrote this post, I remembered that one of his favourite poets was Robert Frost, who I don’t know much about. I just looked up Frost and came across his poem Nothing Gold Can Stay, which fits well with the theme of this post. It goes like this,

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf,
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day
Nothing gold can stay.

Robert Frost

Crabtree Winery, Watervale.

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