As reckoned, after the Easter weekend, temperatures began to drop noticeably over night. The end of daylight savings, albeit in early April, brought about a sure but shifting psychological change in our individual perceptions of the timing of dawn and dusk, moon light and day time, coolness and warmth outdoors. The angle of the natural light seemed to be different, noticeable as sudden light or darkness appeared through blinds, vehicle wind screens and the horizon. New South Wales does not experience the extremes of the midnight sun or the longest day. Seasonal change here is gradual, unannounced and gentle. I feel there is slower growth of flora, as if the plants have wound down its hectic pace of summer and showed a hibernation of their own, sowing the seeds of a re-spurt in bloom in only a few more months.
The ocean water temperatures have also taken a turn southwards. The recent rains are just a continuation of much wetter weather in the past two years. The natural inclination to retreat to a more quiet routine expresses itself most at this time, even if modern society dictates a constancy of activity. When most people reach home, it tends to be to the recesses of inner rooms, cyberspace or the warmth of the kitchen stove. Meals seem to be taken care of earlier and school kids find it more challenging to get ready for the day. Leaves do drop, depending on where you actually reside - and they do turn brown and dry, acknowledging the circle of life, the turn of the Earth and the moon looking even more radiant against the dark valleys of autumn.
Each of us longs for sustainable foods, like rich gravies, brewed soups and those that nourish us with the sanctity of baking. The insects and creatures that we share house with - cockroaches, lizards and spiders in this Australian landscape - seem to have taken sabbatical and are content to be out of sight. Skies can look leaden and grey, but when clear above, accentuate the cold and we feel the wind chill that does not echo the measured figures in thermometers. As we get less outdoors, is it an opportune time to review arrangements, make plans and conserve for the future? Yet as we feel physically fresher, we allow our brains to consider potential and possibilities and our inner selves to have the leisure and time to imagine and wonder. We smile when we reflect on the flurry of activity in spring time, when humans gather again more, when Nature celebrates with revitalisation and when time seems to loosen up once more.
There is less to choose from the produce of the Earth. Bare branches promise renewal and hope. Maybe in this season we appreciate better the lack of want and the bounty that we still have. There is an inner grace in being grateful for what we already have when it is not the time of plenty. And so we conserve - and not just in preserves. Human mobility these days also implies that we can easily cross the Equator and have the pleasure of basking in warmer locales - but if we do this, we are also giving up the unique benefits and challenges of a colder time. We can dress up outwardly in autumn, but our skins also get drier and require more care. Our biological cycles are truly affected by prolonged hours of the lack of light but our imaginations can also move into new dimensions. Do we drink better coffee and tea when the cold surrounds us - and the richness of such beverages are better savoured than in more humid times. Continuing our fitness activities has a different feel but is still as vital. Colours are appreciated more. More of the year's achievements , at whatever level, is accomplished in cooler times of the year when compared with summer.