Sometimes when a southerly wind hits, blowing all the way from Antarctica, there is an air of melancholy captured within it; the melancholy that comes with imagining winter.
The camellias bend, dropping pink and white petals on the grass like little flower girls filling the world with colour at a wedding. They are cold, the way ice-cream feels when it lands on your fingers.
I decide to go for a walk before the rain hits, racing the clouds to the park. Maple leaves, tawny orange and brown, the colour of the hair of a medieval maiden, jump at my feet. I crunch one with my old running shoes and remember the sense of elation felt as a child when running through fallen autumn leaves. More fun than splashing in summer seas.
The bay is choppy. The toadfish dart, unsettled by the churning sea bed, looking for an unmoving hiding place.
A little dog jumps – straight up, like he has springs on his feet. Trying to catch pockets of freezing wind.
Little girls squeal as their skirts lift, then decide to twirl like ballerinas. A boy on a skateboard uses the wind to propel him along the promenade.
I see a storm petrel, flying in ever-widening circles as if he is pulling the wind in to keep it for himself. His long, black wings soar to every part of the sky, rugged and beautiful.
Then the rain comes, pelting the leaves of the fig trees, clicking like fingernails on a table top. And I run, dodging gusts and jumping puddles, laughing with the joy of it. And suddenly, the melancholy in the wind is gone.