It’s late autumn here in Canberra: hard frosts, clear blue skies, warm still days, and freezing nights. I’ve been quite sick in 2012 and have not written much for my blog for what seems ages. So with renewed vigour, I return to my conversation with readers.
I missed summer this past year, not because I was ill but because it just didn’t arrive. The meteorologists tell us that we had a total of fourteen days of thirty degrees Celsius or more for the last six months. It’s the first such season in my memory.
In past years, summer arrived with a dragon-like breath in early October. Temperatures would soar well above forty degrees Celsius for a week or so and then would swing back into the thirties for a while and then follow an oscillation cycle until the official calendar date for summer. After that date, the heat stretched endlessly throughout the summer months and well into autumn. Indian summers were a common. I loved those summers and the weekends spent at the beach with extended family and friends. There seemed to be a lot more time in each day then as well as a sense of time for leisure. Of course, with the climate change to much milder weather this past year, there have been other benefits.
It has been fantastically wet the past two years and the surrounding landscape has become lush – lush that is in an Australian sense. The mobs of kangaroos in our area have never looked better: plush coats and well-fed bodies. The temperate climate of the past seven months has also meant that my husband was able to spend more time outdoors working on converting our seven and half acres of paddock to parkland. I’ve always enjoyed landscape paintings but never really appreciated gardeners created such landscapes for others to capture on canvas.
Having grown up in south-western urban Sydney, I never realised that country life had such sensory pleasures. Fragrance really stands out as does the many hued splendour of the surrounding landscape. I’m not being euphemistic when I say fragrance. I live in a rural-residential area that is short on cattle and therefore none of those distinctive smells.
As I’ve recovered from illness (yesterday being the first day I ventured outside for a while), the landscape scents functioned as a form of aromatherapy. I’d never given much thought to it before but fragrance really is uplifting. Although there has been a big downside in feeling sick, I appreciate wellness so much more now that it is returning. I’ve also re-examined my life goals and committed to putting aside the petty worries of life (have you noticed they are like an insidious vine?) and rededicated myself to embracing the simple joy of being alive.