Yesterday was a pearler. Jack and I set off on our walk mid-afternoon. It was twenty three degrees; I know because I checked it with my phone. (Unless things can be verified on my phone, they don’t exist.) It was not twenty three with bulbous cumulous clouds bouncing through the sky on a biting southerly. No. The sun shone constantly and a slight zephyr ruffled frilly autumn leaves; exactly and unexpectedly as the weather bureau predicted. Good get weather persons!
Jack likes winter. Dressed elegantly in his black and white fur coat, his preference for cold weather is understandable. He dashes, pirouettes, cartwheels and laughs as he delights in the chill. But when the mercury rises in summer Jack stalls – like a Melbourne to Pakenham train.
I’m not keen on winter. I wish I were a bear. I would happily hunker down – ensconced in my polar fleecy – on the first of June until Melbourne make the finals. (Okay okay… until some other bum teams make the finals.) That’s September and hey presto! It’s spring, Spring Carnival, cricket, bang – Christmas. Umm. Maybe not such a good idea, but you get my drift. I want to avoid hotlessness.
When ‘climate change’ was first mentioned, it was couched in the glowing, tinderbox term of ‘global warming.’ (Don’t tell anyone, but I secretly desired torrid summers, smouldering springs and autumns, and slightly hottish winters.) However they didn’t actually say what they meant. While I was searching for resort wear and a pleasant cottage by the sea, what I should have been seeking was a cave-like residence half way up a hill that would withstand blizzards, hailstones the size of soccer balls (slight exaggeration, actually the size of really big baseballs) and wildfire. Because that’s what ‘climate change’ does. It messes with the weather as well as your mind, your dwelling…and your wardrobe. You don’t know whether you are numbing or glowing.
Dorothea Mackeller’s famous poem My Country celebrates the vagaries of the Australian climate with references to droughts and flooding rains. Apparently in 1908, the year she wrote the poem and also the year our treasured weather bureau was established, it was a hot year with five days of forty degrees and over. But since 1910 Australia’s climate has warmed by .9 degrees. (Not enough I say, but to be greedy about it would have a tinsy winsy devastating effect.) So switch your massive Bunnings fan on ‘cos we ain’t seen nothin’ yet. The last thirteen years have been the hottest recorded. How did I miss that? I’m sure I spent one Christmas recently with the heater on all day and another, hitting home runs with those baseball sized hailstones. If Dorothea Mackeller was in awe of weather extremes then, she would take to her fountain pen now with glistening, sweat drenched grip and pen a more terrifying classic.
She may have been happy to know that there is more of that “jewel-sea” that she so appealingly describes, as it has crept a little higher in the last hundred years – the same amount that it increased over the previous six thousand years. Little place by the sea? Nuh-uh.
So in my selfish desire for warmer weather and endeavours to contribute to climate change by overindulging in electrical appliance use, I also understand it’s a dumb thing to want, and I apologise. (Ha! No-one can see my crossed fingers except Jack and he’s not happy.)