Recently, I've been reading Dorothy Butler - the second part to her autobiography ("All This and a Bookshop Too" - of course, I did read the first part "There Was a Time" first), which includes the trials and triumphs of opening a bookstore.
The bit I want to quote, though, is an echo of what I noticed in early Spring in the eastern United States, and in Winter in Paris and the area we visited in Southern France, particularly around the Rhône:
I was struck by the beauty of the huge bare trees, towering over the houses which were all two or three storeys high. Later, people kept saying, 'Wait until the trees are all in leaf!' and I looked forward tot his; but the branches were delicate in a way no New Zealand trees are. They seemed to form a fretwork, through which the pale-grey sky had a sad beauty. I did look forward to seeing the trees in leaf, but I was glad I had seen them bare too.
She mentions so many books that had a part in my growing up, books set in England and the US (because there weren't a lot of NZ authors publishing), and which populated my belief in universal myths of children's literature - that arrowheads can be found in gardens, and that wandering around the countryside you can find roman roads.