In three weeks time my inevitable annual trip to the northern hemisphere will have commenced. That is, barring the outbreak of world war three or whatever else the supposedly evolutionary pinnacle that is humankind has cocked up. I am, of course, looking forward to it; not only for cheese and family and summery walks and clotted cream and friends and pork pies and a few spots of gorgeousness, but also to have some interesting blog content and potential calendar pictures gathered!
Fortunately just the odd foray in this massive place called Australia keeps things ticking over on here. But, more so, the changing seasons become a theme, a response to (relatively) being in situ and watching the world around me change. And the seasons are a-changeable, something which may, or may not, support the wild ramblings of those crazed climate warriors, aka pretty much everyone in the profession of science. Scientists, with their fact and reason and logic, what have they ever done for us anyway!
Winter in Canberra is a curious beast. Blissful sunny days can be as pleasant as any a spring day in southern England, and you can still rightfully take a somewhat bemused perspective on the common discourse of winter, taking place in snug coffee shops amongst people with double quilted scarves and rapidly disappearing Ushankas. Call that a knife, er, I mean call that cold? You know nothing Bruce. But then when that sun goes, down for the night, or behind steel grey clouds blown from the west, winter reminds us of its chill.
I may not know through typical absence, but winter here this year seems to be a little less sunny and with a touch more in the way of squally bitter winds coming off the mountains and hills. Indeed, the Brindabella Ranges have more than once now had a nice dusting of snow, all accessible in about 40 minutes or so, depending on the high likelihood of traffic.
I wish the snow came down further to coat the city streets and make new Senators even more querulous about their decision to become a Senator, compelled to sit in Canberra in midwinter. I mean, if we are going to have a winter to endure, at least make it a fairytale one with snowy streets and people frolicking with their sleds and drinking mulled wine and perhaps even indulging in warming things like cheese fondue around a log fire. At least that was the sentiment I was trying to convey when the ABC News reporter accosted me amongst the beautiful white world of Corin Forest and understandably left me on the cutting-room floor.
One of the many good things about snow is that it is one of only two words in the English language that is associated with being dumped. We have had several good dumps recently, up in the hills, and I returned once more over the weekend to see what had been dumped. Unlike the first foray there was no ABC News crew around but, more importantly, the sun was out in one of those sublimely blue sky days that only come in winter. The snow had melted somewhat – the dump was on Thursday I think, but then, who keeps track of their dumps? – though pockets remained to enliven the forest.
Frozen paths gradually thawed into that horrid mud slime as I made my way to the outlook at Square Rock. It can be a drag, that walk, but the snow made it clearly more distinctive than usual, offering up plenty of natural rest breaks to stop and take stock, to hear the birds, to spy the wattle, and to breathe in the eucalypt air. And then there is a reward at the top, where that blue sky meets the icing sugar dusted mountains, endless gum trees filling the void below. It is a fine stop for a couple of digestives and a Freddo Frog basking on a squarish rock.
And so, that is winter, perhaps the winter blog post. I think I made it fairly wintry, given the constraints of wintriness that exist in Australia. Next for me will be summer, though including likely rainstorms and snow lying around higher alpine climes, followed by spring and then summer again. I told you the climate was topsy-turvy, and I’m not even a scientist!