Autumnal

The sun sets differently here. It dips below the horizon with a suddenness that I found rather alarming at first. It’s light and then it’s not, just like that. (Exactly this thing has just happened while I was typing. One minute I was watching the sunset out the window, the next I’m blogging in darkness.)
In the last month or so, I’ve realised how vastly different Melbourne’s climate is compared to the other places I’ve lived (Dubbo, Grafton, Newcastle). This is the furthest I’ve lived from the equator by several hundred kilometres. 
In most of the places I’ve lived, Autumn doesn’t really exist. Summer and Winter just fade into each other. There’s a brief gradient in between the two but nothing distinct enough to have its own name. Sometimes you have to wear a cardigan but usually only a short sleeved one. In the mornings it’s chilly. The few deciduous trees that are around sulkily turn yellow and then promptly drop all their leaves in embarrassment.
So I’ve always been fascinated by trees that change colour. They seem so exotic. When I was very little we lived in a big old house in Dubbo. There were two statues of lions which sat on either side of the front steps and on the front lawn there was a big, old deciduous tree. One of my most vivid memories of that house is a day when mum swept all the leaves in the front yard into a massive pile. I remember leaping in to that pile, excepting leaves to jump into the air like a splash of water. I would land softly in amongst the coloured foliage. Disappointingly the pile turned out to be itchy and full of ants.
Now I’m older and wiser and I know that autumnal trees are mostly good for looking at. They’re just like regular trees (ants and all) but from a distance they make the skyline a bit prettier. The coloured trees are compensation for the bitter cold that’s already creeping through the gaps around the window frames. My face hurts from the cold sometimes. I need more coats.
I know I’ve talked a lot about moving and Melbourne and how strange it is. I guess I’m surprised at how living here is simultaneously very, very strange and not strange at all. I’m not exactly homesick but everyday things remind me how far from home I am. The trees are just another example of that. They’re lovely and bizarre. Exciting and disconcerting. People keep asking me whether I enjoy living in Melbourne and I find it hard to answer. I guess? It’s different. At least I get to use the word autumnal.

Further reading

December – home

I spent the first minutes of 2018 on the beach. I’ve never actually spent New Year