Melbourne

Fall!

Fall!

Here in Australia, we call it Autumn, not Fall. And where I live, there are no extreme differences between any of the seasons. Autumn is recognisable by the array of leaves on the ground, and being able to sleep comfortably at night for the first time in months. And yes, Autumn does signal colder days to come, but nothing like the cold days of the Northern Hemisphere.

An Autumn day in Brisbane

In some parts of Australia, like Central Queensland (CQ), there are seemingly only two seasons: Hot and Cold. But in Melbourne, you can have all four seasons in one day (or, so the saying goes…).

Kids Don’t Feel The Cold!

Out in Central Queensland, it would be hot one day, and then cold the next. That’s how you would know it was winter. Autumn had been by-passed – there was no in-between. Just hot, and cold. I’m not talking – Northern Hemisphere big-heavy-coat-cold, just an extra-layer-of-jumper cold.

When I was teaching in Queensland, the only sign of winter, as demonstrated by most of the students, was the addition of a jumper (sweater) early in the morning. They still wore shorts! Some of them would pass an occasional remark about how cold it was, but didn’t connect wearing shorts, to feeling cold. Long pants seemingly got in the way of running fast at recess. And by lunchtime, the jumper would either be safely stowed in their bag or lost in the playground; usually the latter.

A beautiful Autumn day in Murwillumbah NSW

Cold One Day – Hot The Next

And the reverse occurred at the other end of the season. Cold one day, and hot the next. The only sign of Spring was the emergence of new buds on trees. But temperature-wise? – hot!

Spring has sprung, here in Murwillumbah

I can’t account for other parts of Australia because my experience is limited (mostly) to Queensland and the northern end of New South Wales. However – there are places in Southern parts of our beautiful Australian landscape that apparently have distinct seasons. Trees put on seasonal colours that are seemingly spectacular, and the early morning chill creeps in and warns of colder days to come. Nice places to visit – but I wouldn’t want to live there.

The Beautiful Fall Colours of Boston

Speaking of nice places to visit, one of the most memorable journeys I have taken, was Boston US, in November. I was mesmerised by the beauty of the Fall colours. A travel-buddy that I had met while on the cruise from Southampton UK, shared my enthusiasm. On a bus from the cruise ship, to and from Salem, we must have driven the Fall-hardened passengers crazy. We (two Aussies) darted from one side of the bus to the other, cameras poised, trying to capture every golden leaf along the way. It was spectacular!

This photo doesn’t do justice to the beauty of the Fall trees in Boston 
Or this one….

Do we have spectacular Autumns (Falls) here in Australia? Yes! But not where I live. Beautiful – yes – but not Boston-type spectacular. Would I swap where I live for a place that has distinct seasons? Probably not. I love the way our seasons just ease gently into each other here in Northern New South Wales.

Oh, and yes, I did turn my heater on last winter – about three times, I think. And only for about an hour each time.

And that’s the way I like it!

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Posted by Maureen in Blogging, Travel, 14 comments

On A Train To Ballarat

Long Overdue Reunion With Best Friend

Waiting for the train to Ballarat

Taking a train to Ballarat in regional Victoria gave me time for some quiet reflection on the events of the last few days. One day I was thinking about unpacking from my recent trip to New Zealand; the next day I was in Melbourne, on a train that was taking me about an hour and a half out of the city to see my best friend.

We met in our first year of high school, and have been best friends ever since. We’ve managed to keep in touch over the decades, despite our lives having taken different directions as we each pursued our dreams. And now, despite the vast geographical distance between us, we are still as close as we ever were.

I knew that over the next twenty four hours – all the time that we had to indulge our memories – the old and the new would flow; memories merging with the tales of new trails blazed. While walking to Southern Cross Station I spotted an old building, still beautifully preserved, but surrounded by new construction. It reminded me of the journey of our friendship.

The Old And The New

The memories of old are the central focus amid the construction of the new.

The new lives we have carved out are built on the strength of the foundation of the early days. Our teenage years were filled with the usual events – a weekend train trip to a distant destination; falling in and out of love; and both of us marrying at a young age – my marriage to a member of the Australian Air Force, and hers ‘to’ the Royal Australian Air Force. She decided that if I was going to be travelling around the country on postings, she was coming too; sadly, we were never on the same base. And neither marriage stood the test of time.

My dream to become a teacher eventuated, and in true kindred spirit, my best friend followed. At least this time we both landed jobs in the same school. For the best part of two years we were inseparable. We taught together, we planned together, we laughed together, and we consoled each other through the rough patches, and believe me, there were some rough patches.

Miraculously, both of us came out the other side, relatively unscathed but in search of bigger and better dreams. Dreams that were vastly different and led us to places that were further away from the little town we grew up in. My dreams took me around the world; hers took her to Victoria. She was always the more grounded one of us.

Best Friends Forever!

I can’t say that our different lives haven’t changed us, because they have; after all, it’s our life experiences that mould us into who we are. But the essence of our beings, the very core of who we are, is heavily impacted by the experiences of our formative years. They are the solid foundation from which the new becomes possible. The memories will be the old, surrounded by the new that our different lives have created.

That is how it is with us, and that is how it should be.

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Posted by Maureen in Blogging, 0 comments