On 1st September, news feeds across Australia came under a barrage of posts with the news that spring had sprung. Memes started to appear joking about the annual arrival of magpies swooping and the streets started to fill with cyclists wearing zip ties sticking out of their helmets as a deterrent to the birds. Astronomically speaking, Spring doesn’t really start until the Spring Equinox (somewhere between the 20th and 23rd of September each year). Australians are a laid back bunch and of course we didn’t want to have to figure out an exact date so for us the seasons are pretty simple. I suppose that due to the fact that Australia is such a large continent with various weather patterns could also mean it is simpler just to stick to the first of the month for seasonal changes.
For those who are not versed in the seasons south of the equator, or Down Under, as we tend to get called, they are as follows:
Spring = September, October and November. Three months were you start to feel comfortable shedding the winter layers as the winter winds die down and the days lengthen.
Summer = December, January and February. The hottest months of the year where in some parts you could comfortably cook breakfast on the road (if you cared to eat something cooked in that matter) and you will feel like you are simultaneously melting and burning. Summer is the time when you hope you have friends or family with a pool and dread the afternoon thunderstorms that roll in, trapping the humidity. Blackouts are also a lovely part of this season and you tend to hope that when the power goes out you live in an area with a nice breeze and hope that the mosquitoes are not out to take full delight in your sweaty flesh.
Autumn = March, April and May. An interesting time in Australia where the country is confused. The days start to grow cooler and just when you feel comfortable enough to throw on a light sweater, you will get a scorcher thrown into the mix to snap you right back into summer.
Winter = June, July and August. In some parts of the country, snow begins to fall. In Brisbane, Queensland where I live, the chill can certainly be felt and we tend to complain if the mercury drops into single digits. Being closer to the equator means that unlike those in the southern parts of the country, we are more acclimatised to sweating through summer than freezing through winter. In August, the westerly winds arrive to rip right through you just in time for the Royal Exhibition or Ekka as it is commonly known.
For me, I don’t tend to pay much attention to the months or days. Spring has officially arrived when the green foliage along streets and in parks begins to be interspersed with the lovely floral display of the Jacaranda. Purple (my favourite colour so I may be slightly biased) breaks up the monotony of the green and the air is filled with the fresh, heady scent. Although the purple blooms look pretty, they can play havoc with cyclists or anyone not taking care when walking over them. As the blooms drop to the ground, they are wet and slippery and I have known quite a few who have gone tits up due to them.
Newfarm Park is an excellent park to visit at this time. The entire space seems to be near bursting with these trees that look dull and rather lifeless the rest of the year. Picnic blankets get unfolded and kids run around, chased by parents wielding bottles of sunscreen. The days turn longer and people start the annoying count down to Christmas and Summer.
It always seems to me that as soon as one season commences, people start impatiently waiting for the next. In Summer, when the aircon has clapped out and the sweat is making a salty line down your back, you dream of the relief of Autumn. Well, you would dream if you were able to get to sleep without your sheets being soaked through with sweat. In Autumn and Winter, after you’ve enjoyed your quota of hot chocolate and marshmallows for the year and if you are living in a snowy area, visited the ski fields, you look towards Spring and Summer so that you can enjoy the longer days and sunshine.
For me, Spring is a time where I do indeed take part in the Spring Cleaning ritual, although I like to have a de-clutter a couple of times through the year and start to look with dread towards Christmas and the logistical nightmare that is included when you have a large family. It is the time that work is ramping up before the inevitable last-minute rush towards the finish line that is December where many businesses shut up shop over the holiday period and we all breathe a sigh of relief while trying not to think about the money that is being lost over the quiet weeks of work.
My favourite season of the year would have to be Autumn. No doubt because the days are still long enough to pack in a decent amount of activity, yet it is cool enough to comfortably fall asleep wrapped in a doona. After Autumn, Spring has my heart. Like so many, I see it as a season of rebirth (although I do look on it with dread at times when I realise I have to get my beach bod ready so that I am not mistaken for a beached whale and dragged out to sea by people with the very best of intentions). It is a time of year when almost anything seems possible and a great time to plan and daydream as you watch clouds float by.