It’s spring! I know they always say this but it really does feel like it was only last week that I was standing at this bus stop turning my back to the biting wind and pulling my hands inside the wrists of my huge downie, beanie on, headphones in, watching a curlicue of steam twist through the lid of my mug of tea. Today I’m here in shorts (shorts! I almost never wear shorts) a t-shirt and a cap, listening to the friendly banter of two women on the bench and some birds twittering in the trees overhead. What a lovely morning to be in Hobart.
And it is still Hobart, Australia’s southernmost capital, always destined for climactic greatness. Today’s forecast was a classic. Highs of 30 degrees with winds up to 60kph, very high pollen and overnight snow above 800m. Hobart is sheltered by the stolid mass of Mt Wellington, which rises to about 1200m just beyond the city. This means it’s quite possible that I will wake tomorrow after a hot slow day of beach weather, melting ice creams and a total fire ban to new snow on the mountain.
This spring has brought with it all the usual things. Colourful blossoms bursting free of their buds’ protective restraints, and with them a sense of renewal and change at once welcome and uncomfortable.
I’ve noticed I tend to feel this way in spring, enlivened by the warmth and the sun on my skin but at the same time unsettled. It’s not just the wind that whips the gums into a frenzy at this time of year. It’s the ducklings, downy yellow and paddling their tiny legs furiously across the lake in the shade of a Japanese maple. It’s the vibrant purple blossoms of native succulents by the sea and the muttonbirds soaring back to their southern homes, all of them wholeheartedly embracing the change that spring invites. All around me everything is responding, transforming, adapting, urging me to do the same.
Sometimes I find it unnerving, cocooned as I am in the comfort of winter, its doona days and mugs of tea. But the seasons change whether you’re ready or not, and I am loving being in a place where they change with such vociferousness, with such a joyful cacophony that it wakes me up before sunrise to get outside and embrace, however unwillingly, the change.