When summer and autumn conspired

“It was certainly a very hot autumn day”, reported the Bureau of Meteorology.

Yesterday, the fifth day of autumn, I forgot that summer was over. And so did autumn. Usually a time of gentler temperatures and cooler air, autumn stepped aside and summer charged in. Sizzling unsuspecting skin left uncovered. Evaporating moisture with an atmosphere warmed by a northeast wind.

I hadn’t expected it to be so hot. A day earlier, the atmosphere felt light with little breeze, a high tide at 7.22am and small waves perfect for bodysurfing, breaking with water now clear of the rainy day run-off from the streets and creeks. I caught more waves than I could count. Not that I tried but I have a friend who did once. He rode as many waves as his age in one surfing session. He was 62. It was an intended meditation through the motion of surfing. I think I’d lose count. I might have to etch each wave into the wax on my board. I’m sure my mind would float off.

I wanted yesterday to carry the same hint of autumn’s impending softness but of course it didn’t. Everyday is different, some more markedly than others.

A northerly breeze blew early, chopping the water and heating the air. It’s unusual for the wind to rise so early when the tide is high early in the morning. An early morning wind will normally coincide with an early morning low tide. I don’t know why that’s so. It’s just what I’ve noticed over the years.

It’s rarely comfortable on the beach when the wind blows, at least not for sitting. Riding to the beach, we take refuge from the wind by parking the bikes behind Elephant Rock and then wade into the sweep of the somewhat protected water. It’s refreshing, cooling but turbulent despite the small waves.

By 9am we retreat to home and stay indoors to work. The wind is warm and offers little reprieve. It’s just hot air. By lunchtime, I turn the air-conditioning on.

Being so close to summer, you’d think we’d still be attuned to the heat, conditioned to it and less affected. Yet something seems to happen when the seasons click over. I expect change. As the sun slides itself along the morning horizon each day, I see change. My body clock turns over to what I’ve always known, always associated with that month, that season. I imagine it’s wired in there somehow, biologically programmed. Perhaps there’s science on this … I don’t know.

On this morning’s radio, the woman from the Bureau of Meteorology reported that yesterday was the hottest March temperature recorded on the Gold Coast since 1993. Records were broken for other places in Queensland too. Perhaps summer and autumn are conspiring to encourage me to adapt beyond what I know.

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