Due to the confusion of the seasons in the past few years, I have decided that seasons are irrelevant. We can have hot and humid days followed by a twenty degree drop in temperature and then grey skies for days. I remember my mother's expression: "It's just s phase we're going through" and I think that explains it. We are simply going through uncertain weather phases. We have taken those good seasons for granted, December warm, January and February hot, sunny days in school holidays for the families, shady forest areas for the campers, light breezes across our lakes for the sailors, calm waters for the fishermen. In other words we have a self created ideal life and we think that's the way it has to be.
Of course none of that applied this summer. What we didn't have in the past two months was rain! And we badly needed rain. Of course on the coast where we are surrounded by water it wasn't as noticeable as it was in the dry red centre of our continent but it was still dry. Pictures of dying crops, the dying cattle and sheep and eventually burning bush dominated our news. We smelt the smoke when the westerlies blew it toward the coast. Many peoples holiday plans were frustrated by road closures and our peace of mind shattered by news of fires approaching the homes of many of our country friends. A worrying time for sure.
I still love summer. This summer however has been really harsh. Between the desert dust blowing down to the coast and the bush fire smoke our air has been seriously polluted and the hot dry weather has taken the fun out of gardening. But I have still enjoyed the fun I had with the six grandchildren as I got to see them all together twice, the visit by Alice and Trevor for twelve days, and the meet ups with my usual groups some of which Trevor and Alice joined us for. It has been fun despite the weather conditions. Surprisingly I credit my optimism to the years I spent as a caregiver. I learned to appreciate the good days and survive the bad days. And have some empathy with those people going through the worse days.
I am so glad I belong to a Lions Club as the money we have raised has gone into funds for bush fire recovery and drought recovery. When I am sweating next to the Lions BBQ, handing out sausage sandwiches and feeling the sweat run down my back I am not thinking of this as a good deed but when we add the money up and then distribute it to those good causes I am proud to be a Lion. Because part of being an Aussie is giving a helping hand to those in need and we have thousands of people in need of our help right now. And that need will not stop when the rains come or when the bush fires that are still burning are put out, that need will go on a long way into the future. And popular as the causes are at present another crisis will arise and these people will be forgotten.
The phases of my own life are changing too. At this time of the year with summer holidays over and the children back at school,the old routine starts again. Three times a week at church, Sunday for services, Tuesday afternoon for Coffee, Craft and Chat, Friday mornings for Coffe Morning and Playtime with the little ones and their mothers. I still do some pastoral care visits and last week read one of the lessons at a funeral, sadly the 102 year old lady I used to drive to church died after a short illness. I still have one lady I pick up so my chauffeuring days are not over. I look around the congregation sometimes and wonder who will still be there in five years time but there is no point in dwelling on that. We are all ageing now, myself included.
So can I change some of my circumstances? I do intend to. I have plans to be away more this year, visiting, exploring whatever can be reached from the rail line. I get a half fare pensioner pass and that is much cheaper than taking my car somewhere further up the coast and I can enjoy the air conditioning. I have just been away for five days visiting an old friend and I enjoyed the break. Unfortunately home seems much emptier on my return and the loneliness is almost unbearable for the first week back but that is a price I will always have to pay. The bonus is staying with a friend with shared memories so there are pleasant evenings of chat and good company to enjoy. I intend there will be more of that in 2020.