Trees by the lake Ginninderra in winter

Poser

A bee, tree, carefree
hip, like tip-dyed teenagers
lining sunset roads

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Goulburn awakens

darkness, clinging to glass,
dregs of last night
desperate to stay
despite the day

pink hues behind trees
peeking through
prying, the sunlight 
posing for eye flash

vacantly elegant ways,
vacationers’ night cap
validating sleepiness
Victorian showpieces

never ending bird chirps
normalising serenity
neutralising pain
neither here nor there

calmly, under shadows
cries of the wee morn
catching the light
cat strolling by


Context: I’m in Goulburn, New South Wales, on a retreat with a few friends. This is my observation of the sunrise today.

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.

Winter sunset in Canberra

After dark

Pale limbs extending

those moody winter sunsets

glide, as graceful ghosts

Canberra sunset

Shine

Rises every morn

spreading brightness in all lives

unbiased, the sun