”Every moment now made one sweat profusely, and once wet one’s clothes stayed wet for a long time.’’ Nevil Shute, In the Wet
There is a reason they call Australia ”Down Under”.
Down under the equator everything is different, even school.
You may think the start of the school year trivial. It isn’t. It’s a benchmark. It gets locked in your brain. Like summer holidays playing by the lake in June or July. Like a white Christmas. Like waiting for March so you can tap the maple trees for their spring sap.
Imagine you have lost all these. Or maybe you already have?
It hails in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane in the summer months of November or December. On the same `winter’ June or July day it can snow in Canberra, the country’s capital, and be 30 degrees celsius in Darwin, right at the top of Australia. Turn on the air conditioning for Hallowe’en and Remembrance Day and turn it off again for St Patrick’s Day.
I catch myself writing November in my journal when it’s July, simply because the heavy grays of the sky and the cool smell of rain-moistened earth remind me of an autumn day somewhere Up Over.
These aberrations are disturbing.
Winter is summer and summer is winter. Except, where I live in the subtropics, there isn’t really a winter or summer. So, aside from the mango and avocado trees along the footpath and the lime tree in our backyard, what is it like in this particular area?
Well in Brisbane, I walk around in a summertime haze of sweat. I have a ganglion on my finger that swells and contracts like the ankles of an octogenarian. Today the weather is cooler and dryer: it’s 31 degrees celsius with 45 percent relative humidity. At 100 percent relative humidity, the sweat doesn’t evaporate off my body anymore and it doesn’t necessarily have to be raining. Can’t we follow Peru and make billboards that turn humid air into drinking water?