The Australian climate and flora doesn’t lend itself to autumn in the same way Scotland and much of the northern hemisphere does. Most Australian trees are evergreens, although the original settlers, no doubt hungering for the familiar, imported deciduous trees to plant. Thanks to them, the odd tree ablaze in autumn’s colours can be seen scattered throughout the southern states of Australia.
When we moved to Florida, I delighted in living in a sub-tropical climate where the differences between the seasons is even less obvious than it is in Melbourne. However, I often thought it would be fun to experience the four distinct seasons I’d read and heard so much about.
This was one of the reasons I was excited about our move to Glasgow, where I expected a ‘proper’ spring, summer, autumn and winter. Although Glasgow’s climate is more moderate than many of the northern hemisphere’s cities, I now can say I have lived where the seasons are similar to those often portrayed in many books and movies.
Spring is amazing; the poetry about clouds of golden daffodils and songs delighting in the lusty month of May all ring true. I love it and completely understand why poets and songwriters use this season as a muse.
I quickly forgive the cold of winter when the first fat snowflakes fall from the sky. To wake and find the world painted white overnight is always a thrill.
Summer… Well, Glasgow fails summer. The less said the better.
Until this year, autumn has been a little disappointing. The leaves weren’t colourful enough, the sky not blue enough and the days kept getting shorter and colder. However, this autumn, Glasgow has put on a spectacular show for us. Did I not notice the leaves in my first years in Glasgow, or were they less impressive? The answer is a mystery, but thinking about it made me aware that I won’t be here next autumn. This is my last October in Glasgow! That blows my mind, so a few days ago; I grabbed my camera and set out to capture some of the beauty. Click on the photos to get full size.
As I deliberately scuffed through the dried leaves covering the ground, shuffling them around and hearing the crunch underfoot, I had a flashback to an Easter when I was eight years old. My best friend at the time lived in a house with a big Liquid Amber in their front garden, and in autumn its fallen leaves blanketed the ground surrounding it. One Easter, I joined my friend for an egg hunt at her home. The Easter bunny had hidden his eggs in the garden and we delighted in searching the dried yellow to brown leaves to discover many colourful foil-wrapped chocolate eggs. A great memory.
Easter in autumn? Yeah, I know – crazy hey?
Living in Scotland has given me a greater understanding of the beginnings of those celebrations that began before the world knew it had another half – a place where the seasons would not fit the events.
Upside-down, wrong-way-around Australia. Easter in autumn, Christmas in summer, Halloween in spring.
It makes sense to celebrate Easter in spring. It’s a celebration of the rebirth of Jesus. In this climate, spring is all about the rebirth of the plants that have been dormant in the winter, and it’s a safe time for the animals to have their babies. Yet, in Australia, we celebrate Easter in autumn. Not that I cared; my focus at Easter was about chocolate eggs.
Christmas in Australia usually involves a hearty traditional English roast, followed by plum pudding and a nap. As children, we’d spend the rest of the day outside, riding our new bikes, or playing cricket with Christmas cricket sets. Maybe a trip to the beach and a swim might be on the agenda; a chance to test out the bucket and spade set, or ride a new boogie board. I didn’t mind the inappropriate hot meal designed for a colder climate. I still cook it wherever I am in the world, and I love hot Christmas days.
My children enjoyed dressing up and trick-or-treating for Halloween. The
celebration is so old that it’s difficult to define how, when or why it began,
but it has always gone hand-in-hand with All Hallows Eve. In ancient Scottish
lore, this time was the marker for the end of the summer; a time to put the
animals in the barn and finish the harvest in preparation for the chilly
winter. Totally inappropriate in Australia. Read more about Halloween by clicking here.
This autumn has been glorious, but it doesn’t last long. Very soon, I will open the curtains one morning and the trees will be bare. My best autumn will be behind me. Next year, I’ll be warmer, but without the wonderful display. I’ll be in My Country.
I took lots of photos, if you wish to see more, click here.
Do you remember the second verse to My Country by Dorothea McKellar?
I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!
It’s spring in Australia now, and in a couple of days, the kids will be out trick-or-treating.