Friday, December 01, 2006

Summer extremes

Today - the 1st day of December - is the first day of summer here in Australia. That's based on calendar time, of course, and the official start of the season never really corresponds to the start of summer weather. In this region (about halfway up the east coast) the temperature and humidity usually start to rise in October, and in most years it would be disgustingly hot and muggy by now. But not this year. This year has been the coolest and most comfortable summer I can ever remember, and I presume this is due to the fact that most of the rest of Australia is experiencing one of the worst droughts of all time. Though we have plenty of water here, the air has been dry, and that makes all the difference.

Heat + dry air = a hot day.

Heat + humidity = hellfire and damnation.

The other day when I posted that photo of the grass under the clothesline (the one with the footprints), it didn't occur until later that looking at such greenness** might break your heart if you're in a drought-ravaged area, and if that happened, I'm very sorry. And I'm not sure that I should be writing a post about how great my summer is when it's all due to the extreme climatic misfortunes of others, either. But it is a great summer here. The coolest, the driest, the best. It's unfair, yes, it is.

** That lawn has never in its life seen water from a hose, or (apart from mowing) any other care or attention. It's wonder grass: kikuyu. Forget to mow it for five minutes and it'll be waving around your head.