Today I set out to prove that a picture does not always tell a thousand words. That’s because every picture here will show a pleasingly sunny state of affairs whilst in this guff of words and nonsense I will harp on about the rain. The last month or so has been pretty wet, or, as I fondly remember overheard last year in New Zealand, a but wit. This may, or may not, account for a lack of activity writing about things and taking pretty pictures; this, and an uncharacteristic propensity for hard labour.
One week was pretty much written off with insipid dullness, peppered with blanket drizzle and occasional cloudy breaks. Another – spent working in Sydney – was invariably grey with a spot of rain and the odd fleeting sighting of white cloud. I suppose it is good working weather, and good whinging weather. Everyone says I should be use to it (whinging or the weather?), being from England, ho ho ho. But as I respond with varying degrees of snarkiness, I didn’t come to Australia for this! Mind you, there is something to be said for re-experiencing a very British style perseverance through the gloom to genuinely revel in the brighter interludes.
It all began sometime in March, when it was still fairly sultry with generous thunderstorms. Soaked and saturated, an early Saturday morning heralded the first fogs of the season, parting and re-forming as the sun battled to force its way through. It offered a beautiful accompaniment all the way down into Namadgi National Park and the Orroral Valley. From here, I astounded myself by walking 18 kilometres and being back in time for lunch; a circular walk up the valley and back down along a ridge. And I stayed dry throughout, with some liberal provision of sunshine to still redden my face.
Towards the end of March, a week came and went in which the sun barely materialised at all. It was a frustrating week, with only opportunity for short, raincoat-clad ambles around the withering suburban streets in between the fronts of drizzle that were passing through. It was a week in which to read, to binge watch DVDs, to escape to coffee shops and come home with the smell of beef stew in the oven. There are always some plus sides to be had.
For two or three hours at the end of that week, the clouds said goodbye for a while and blue sky reminded us of what a wonderful thing it is. I made off to the Botanic Gardens, a place in which it is hard to tire, especially when beaming in such wholesome sunshine. Ironically, the sprinklers decided the rainforest needed a little more rain to mist the place up. The desert garden was feeling a little out of place, but the plants were as happy as could be. And, sat in the sun for a while before it once more passed, so was I.
Canberra does not have a monopoly on rain and Sydney too was on good terms with cloud and precipitation. There was something nice about being there though, and milling about purposefully in the city like some suited up hotshot. One dry evening allowed a stroll down to Circular Quay, where even cloud cannot diminish the twinkling lights of the city, the bridge and the opera house upon the harbour. And though coffee choices that I made were a little below par, there was some good glamorous Westfield food court eating (for once, not being sarcastic here: Pitt St Mall provided a delicious roast pork dinner with, for once, ample crackling, plus there was a rather fine burger with the best chips ever and also a visit to the David Jones food hall for agreeable takeaway cake eating options).
It was a long old week and I was looking forward to returning home to Canberra, despite a weekend forecast for rain at times, clearing. Majestically, the clearing happened sooner rather than later and that was a week ago. Since then it has been how autumn should be. Imperious, a blue sky clarity sharpened by the fluffy white of small passing clouds. Pleasant temperatures, dipping in the evening just for the enjoyment of heartening dinners and snug sleeps. Green, so green, incredibly brought home by the flight back over this wide green land. And blushing at the seams as the colours of autumn magically weave their way into the streets and leave me staring up at trees being ransacked by birds. It takes the rains to make this happen, for we must pass through the darkness, to reach the light.