I arrived in Brisbane midway through Autumn. There were warm days still that climbed occasionally into the high 20’s. As winter arrived there was little discernible change. Over a period the highs declined to the low 20’s in the dead of winter. The days were sunny though, always, unending blue skies and little breeze, and this day after day without variation, as steady as a metronome.
As I woke up to this each day I realised how much I had become used to Melbourne’s notoriously changeable weather. I did not bat an eyelid when hot days were followed by cold; nor even at the more dramatic changes within one day – four seasons, as they commonly say. This was Melbourne, and part of the conversation.
Moving to Brisbane I saw how much I took it for granted. In Brisbane there was never any variation, just as the ads promise.
Now we have come to summer. After months of pristine weather things have changed since November began. While in Melbourne we would expect the weather to clear, and temperatures to increase, here it has become more unpredictable. There are fine days, but there are also many cloudy days, and cloudy days that lead in the last few weeks to tumultuous downpours. I hardly know if this is typical but I don’t mind it. It’s hard to complain at one perfect day after another, but I found myself bored with the sheer regularity of it.
Yesterday it rained, as it has most of the week. I looked out my window at work and saw with surprise the rain scudding down. Umbrellas went up, and people scurried for cover.
It was raining still when I left work, a little after 3. I felt bushed, short of sleep after a week of late nights and early mornings. I walked out into the falling rain, pausing for a moment to consider if I should seek cover and see it out. I was impatient though, and made my way towards the bus. I hurried, but refused to rush. The rain fell in big drops. By the time I reached the bus stop my hair was limp with water, and my clothes dark with rain. I climbed aboard the bus and I sat by the window on the right hand side. The windows had been left open on the other side, through which the rain when it had tumbled had entered. Someone had spread some newspaper on the wet seats, but they remained vacant until the bus filled up. The rain continued to fall, the sky grey. I stared out the window and listened to my iPod. The air conditioning made me shiver in my wet clothes and I imagined home: a hot bath and a mug of milo.
Instead when I got back I lay on my bed in my wet clothes and began to read. Within a couple of chapters I couldn’t go on. I closed my eyes, the lamp still on beside me. I thought I might nap for a few minutes but instead fell into an undisturbed sleep of near two hours. I don’t know what woke me but once my eyes were open it was guilt that got me up: it seems wrong, somehow, to sleep while it is still light outside. I had woken at the bottom of a sleep curve, and felt sluggish and tired like you do when in the grip of sleeping pills. I really needed the sleep.
The night passed by uneventfully. I had been invited to see a play; and also to a gallery opening. I went to neither, eventually going to bed early.
The birds woke me up again this morning at 6am. They were like this Friday too. Like on the days before there was one bird that made most of the sound, an ugly, choked squawk. I compared it the other day to a politician sounding off; this morning the more apt analogy was that of the union delegate haranguing his members. There was that quality to it, both hectoring and somehow working class – if you can imagine it in the call of a bird. Perhaps it was the cockney accent.
Though I was tired this morning I was not as angry as before. My anger had been replaced by fascination. This was no random occurrence, and even in my sleep fuddled mind I wondered what the cause of this was. Was it the time of the year? Was it in the change of weather? Were there babies in the nest that by its cries it sought to protect? I wondered, and fell asleep again.
Today it is fine, blue-skied, summery. Just like Melbourne.