Watch out

When I awoke this morning way late than usual (it’s alright, it’s Saturday), a dense fog clung to my window, shading Lake Ginninderra and the sunlight from my view.

Beyond the lake, in the distance, mild green and brown mountains rose through the mystic fog. It was so beautiful I could’ve stared at it all day. With my blanket over my shoulders, feet wrapped in cosy socks, behind the comfort of my insulated window.

I would’ve loved to leave the house and run to those foggy mountains, but I was too lazy. 

In less than thirty minutes, the fog departed, clouds separated, and a mild sun streamed into my room. I sat up in an instant, shedding my blanket. The sun was out at last. I moved to sit in the sun and within five minutes told myself, “Woah, that’s too hot.”

It’s mid-winter and the sun was burning my skin. 

Welcome to the bush capital.

When people in Australia say everything here is out to get you, they don’t just mean the inhabitants of our animal kingdom. They also mean the wind, winter sun, and especially the summer sun.

I haven’t experienced the summer yet, but I hear it melts leather gloves. Even though I can’t fathom why anyone would wear gloves outdoors in summer, if you do, it’ll leave you a hot sticky mess.

But that’s summer almost everywhere. Think California and Florida—it’s too warm to stay indoors, so people cool off at the beach, drinking soda and water by the litres. Mountains catch fire every other day, and everyone’s accustomed to heat waves. It’s just a tad bit worse in Australia, no thanks to the gigantic pothole in the Ozone looking down on us.

But winter is all about the chills, right? Wrong. I, along with the rest of the world, imagined winter would be all about hot chocolate, snow storms, frosty sidewalks, foggy afternoons, and an overall aura of a magical mystic.

Turns out, in Australia, you can get sunburnt in winter. That’s how harsh the rays are. I come from a hot tropical country where it’s almost always 25 degrees or more, throughout the year. But I’ve never felt such searing hatred from the sun as I have in Canberra. And I haven’t even seen temperatures go beyond 20 degrees!

Let’s not forget the wind though. A couple of weeks ago, horrible winds blew away birds in flight. My jaw dropped as I watched through my window. When I stepped outside forcing myself not to be a coward, cold air cut through my face pushing me around like a sock puppet.

By afternoon today, the lake sat still, soaking in the heat hitting it square in the face. There was no wind of a breeze to rustle the pavement leaves. And you could hear parched throats wheezing as joggers passed you by.

That’s the land down under, mate. Watch out for… everything natural.

Trees by the lake Ginninderra

For battle

lined up unarmed
awaiting winter
summer trees

Photo: Trees by the lake Ginninderra, Canberra

Rise and Shine


Rise, shine like the sun,

With daisies, butter, and yolks.

Yellow cures blues.

The Art of Living


Summer’s rains, fall’s spice,

Far from the maddening crowd,

Every breath, worthwhile.

One of Those Days

Summer’s gone, and so’s its breezy aftermath. We’re now rushing into monsoons that could get so bad that the entire city flooded last year.

This year, it started with untimed rains and unpredicted washouts. When I put my clothes out to dry, I didn’t know it would rain. When I walked into the office, I didn’t know it would start pouring ten minutes later. When I stood on the balcony looking out at the darkening sky, I didn’t know I’d have to wade in through puddles to reach home later in the evening.

I didn’t know I had walk past polyethene bags ingrained in wet soil, worms creeping over stones, and dogs shaking their manes, drenching me in the process.

I didn’t expect to get my pants splashed with mud and my just-washed hair getting another involuntary wash.

I didn’t want to be the only person in our building to come home to soggy clothes after all day at work. Or the one that washed her shoes every day because they drowned in pools of rainwater.

I didn’t ask for the monsoon to make me miserable. I didn’t want my sunshine to cower behind clouds, unable to push them away.

But when I walked towards my office today, I saw the sun trying. Reigning clouds veiled her, yet she shone —- weak, but steady. And I smiled. It doesn’t matter how lousy the monsoon makes me feel. If the sun can get through it, so can I.