Autumn arrives in early morning, but spring at the close of a winter day – Elizabeth Bowen
While the soil is still damp from yesterday’s rain, the sun warms the porch with a radiance I had almost forgotten. Cries of the yellow-crested cockatoos fill the sky, overshadowing the soft chirping of the smaller birds. The scent of citrus, eucalyptus, freshly washed laundry and sea fill the air, a smell that I love and recognize from when I spent my first summer in Australia. Unacquainted as I was as a Dutch girl with absolute, raw heat, Australia’s summer felt relentless when I first set foot in Melbourne. I remember my first day trying to conquer the 40 degrees. In an attempt to walk from my dormitory to the cafeteria, which roughly takes 20 minutes one way, I arrived completely drenched in sweat, panting like a seal and a head so purple it could possibly match the colour of a blueberry. It was possible that in my stubbornness, I had neglected to wear something better suited for this type of weather, but at least I got a good sample of how insanely hot it can get in Melbourne.
Sydney is not the exception and a few years later, when I arrived at the Kingsford Smith airport on Christmas Eve, the heat welcomed me back like an old friend. I was surprised, with a touch of shame, how easily I got spoiled after a few months basking in its sun on the beaches of Northern Sydney. When finally winter came, a cloudy day with 18 degrees left me miserable and complaining like a sour old man, whereas it would’ve been a treasured day in Amsterdam, even in their Dutch summer. However, when the sun appeared this morning, hot, crisp and radiant, I could not help myself but to open all the windows and declare this day as its first fine spring day!
While the ants are gathering on the grey table on the porch, conspiring maliciously to squirm their way into the kitchen, and while a wild Ozzie is trying out its new chainsaw a few gardens away, I am sitting here, enjoying the lukewarm breeze and the smell of lemongrass and eucalyptus and the saltiness of the nearby sea.