We’ve just farewelled summer here in the southern hemisphere. While in the northern parts of Australia our seasons are more blurred than in the south, this week has brought relief from the heat and humidity, with heavy downpours and a cooling southerly breeze. We moved to Southern Queensland from Victoria just over two years ago. Victoria sees very distinct differences in seasons, autumn especially. The trees paint themselves rich golds and auburn, before their stark naked trunks stand lonely through the long winter months. Here in Queensland, autumn is mostly hidden from view and quiet. You really have to look hard to see it. Winter is so much kinder than in the south, and far more mild. The sun still shines most days but rarely are we cut to the core from a bitterly harsh wind; my memories of never ending Melbourne winters almost tangible, I can feel myself shrink inward just thinking about them.
Here, we are blessed with beaches and creeks on our doorstep, and pools for when the sand clean up feels like too much work. I never know whether to call the place we live a town or a city. It is a strange shape, compared to other places – stretched long and thin, houses and streets hugging the coastline so as to make the most of our beautiful beaches and sea air. Our summer is longer than I have been used to, for many years. But our winter is so much shorter. This was a big part of the move. The constant need to hide from the elements during autumn and winter with little people in tow, was exhausting. The grey ceiling blanketing the city so tightly for months on end became depressing. Eventually, it affects your mood, until I just couldn’t do another winter.
Now, come March, I am happy to see the seasons begin to shift, however subtle. We still have a few weeks of humidity ahead, but the sting of summer is behind us. The mornings are cooler, the evening sun falling a little sooner. The air conditioners are having a breather. The light begins to change and I watch it, eagerly, sneak into the house through new cracks at each end of the day, in places it hasn’t visited in a year. Every season, regardless of its abrasiveness or subtlety, delivers a new beginning. It’s there if you need it. If you can’t see that opportunity each morning when the sun rises – there is permission given by her – Mother Nature.