Tuesday, May 6, 2003

The quality of Autumn is never strained

Ah, season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. John Keats really knew his stuff when writing his “Ode to Canberra”, a city many since have seen as synonymous with Autumn.

Canberra is, as the Big K well-knew, the perfect Autumn city. Sure, Melbourne may rate, but this place has it sewn up. The cool, dry climate is well adapted to wine making and having a mother-load of decorative, deciduous European trees. Liquid Ambers back-lit against the sky turn the colour of, well, liquid amber. Trees that for all I know may or may not be maples drop their big, brown, flat three-fingered-hand leaves all over the place. You can’t walk anywhere without sounding like a primary school librarian having conniptions:

Shoosh, shoosh, shoosh, shoosh, shoosh.

I’d forgotten how still and dry the air can be here in the colder months. It adds to a certain silent, slow-paced feel to the early morning or evening – like you don’t want to move because you’ll disturb something. It creates a really intense temperature disjunction between light and shadow. Building shadows become deep, cold dark sea-bed depths, and the shock of ultra-rapid depressurisation into strong, cloudless sunlight can just leave you going, Ahhhhh. I’m surprised more people don’t just fall over in Garema Place purring like cats.

(Well, I guess people do fall over in Garema Place, but usually late at night and for reasons that have little to do with being abuzz for Autumn and more to do with having just taken a hit in a public lavatory.)

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