Friday, 14 December 2007

Climate shock

It is the last day of school before the summer break. The sky is intensely blue and the clouds frilled spotless white. The sounds of cicadas, birds and in the evenings, the frogs are deafening. Driving down our road is like being in a rustling green and cream tunnel of shadows. The grass is head high and all you can see as you drive is the road, the walls of green and the sky.

The local council spent days over the last week scraping, regrading and resurfacing our road -- dumping loads of dirt, wetting it all down and rolling it into submission. Twice during the process, their careful work washed out in the rainstorms. Wednesday evening we drove to presentation night with twin streams rushing down either side of us and spreading into pools on the flats. I wore my work boots in case we bogged down somewhere. Water was across the road coming home.

Our driveway requires careful navigation in first gear and a steady nerve to ascend. There is water in dams that I never knew existed. Secret bends and pools of water have appeared in Black Snake Creek.

Our tanks are full of water for the first time in years. 59,000 litres of water mean that we can wash our cars or even the windows if we are so inclined. The grass and trees are growing as we watch. Mushrooms are coming up on our lawn. And the air, the air is damp and smells of growing things. Breathing it and moving through it is enervating.

My partner brought to my attention King O’Malley’s 1903 speech pleading for consideration of Bombala as the location for Australia’s new capital. O'Malley argued passionately that the “history of the world shows that cold climates have produced the greatest geniuses…wherever a hot climate prevails, the country is revolutionary. Take the sons of some of the greatest men in the world, and put them into a hot climate like Tumut or Albury, and in three generations their lineal descendants will degenerate…I want to have a climate where men can hope. We cannot have hope in hot countries.”

Sleepwalking through the humidity I understand his argument, but oh the luxury of water and the joy of a living land.


BabyBleus said...

So evocative! Our own climate is grey and cold, not refreshingly frost-bitten and snowy like the Midwestern states (recovering from a terrible, but beautiful ice storm), not so cold as to require down jackets and heavy boots, nor yet warm enough to shed the premier fleece and quilted vests. And damp -- not the living, breathing, growing damp you describe, just clammy, mold-inducing damp. I'd like to try one of your summers.

Are there claims that the rains are global-warming-caused, or is this just normal variation?

Blithe said...

Our weather has been affected by the El Nino pattern over the last few years. According to meteorologists, a La Nina pattern is now well-established and should bring higher than usual rainfall to southern Queensland over the next 3 months. Global warming has meant warmer than average temperatures which means that less water is making it into the waterways when it does rain. The recent rain is fabulous for our water supply, not so great for our driveway/hillside access and who knows what it will mean for the house moving?