Southerly Wind

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.

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20 thoughts on “Southerly Wind

  1. You haven’t half got things bass-ackwards down there! Around here, a southerly wind is GOOD news! 😀

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  2. BTW … do you have an Australian verion of the nursery rhyme: ‘The north wind doth blow/and we shall have snow …’?

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  3. Oh dear one one of my favorite favorite things is to go outside and play in the rain. In fact, have Britt tell you about one time I took her little brothers out in what later turned out to be a bad tornado/thunderstorm, but who knew then, right?

    I love how you do this.

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  4. I love this – it is so beautiful! I always forget the seasons do not belong to any of us – it is a gift to experience them in the ways that we do. The seasons belong to themselves, harbingers of change. And how wonderful to hear this autumn bit, just as we are moving out of the cold to find our bare feet on the warming earth up here.

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  5. 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.

    That makes me want to go OUTSIDE and LIVE……BREATHE…..RUN…..

    My god you paint such a picture with your words

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  6. You are truly a wonder with your beautiful words. What a gift you give to all that visit here. One day I will come along on your Autumn walk and jump in puddles with you. I love to walk in the rain.

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  7. TRAVELRAT – don’t get me wrong, on a hot summer’s day a southerly is very welcome but sometimes in winter – BRRRRRR. I don’t know if there is an equivalent Aussie version of that nursery rhyme but I’ll ask some of my friends. One of them is bound to know.

    NANNA – you and the kids played in a tornado? Hahaha. I shouldn’t laugh really, because it might have been dangerous. You are regular stormchasers. WOW!

    POET – I agree. They’re definitely a gift. I saw yesterday there were forest fires in California – hope you are OK. They weren’t deliberately lit were they? I ask, because some of the bushfires in Australia are deliberately lit. Can you imagine doing something like that for fun? I just don’t get it.

    MELEAH – it always cheers me up, getting outside and just watching the world. There’s so much going on out there!

    KAREN – it’s an attempt to cheer myself up after three weeks of rain. Oddly enough, it worked!

    MOM FALI – I will admit to a childish delight in jumping in puddles. There’s something so liberating about it.

    PAISLEY – From you, that is such a compliment. You have totally made my day!

    VEGGIES – I suspect we might be too. It’s brilliant!

    GYPSY – we will definitely do it one day. Don’t forget your gumboots!

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  8. Hi Selma in the City,
    You have left such nice comments on my blog, and here I am just now catching up with yours. Writing a short piece is such a challenge, because every single word carries weight. This is a lovely piece of writing. Keeping it in the present tense makes it seem more universal or something. Well done.

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  9. Selma,

    I have to guess you live in Southern Austialia. I couldn’t imagine living that close to Antarctica or the North Pole, which is my hemisphere’s Antarctica.

    My heart goes out to you. I moved to South Florida, U.S. 12 years ago to eliminate Winter from my diet on a regular basis. Every year I would suffer and stay depressed throughout the seven-month long Winter in New York and later the four-month version in Atlanta.

    I have found that sun and warm temperatures to be very healing. Emotional types like you and I require far more ultra violet rays than the average person. And it seems you have been clearly deprived wherever you have lived.

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  10. AUD – thanks so much for visiting. It is lovely to run in the rain. Makes you realise the best things in life are in fact, free.

    ANTHONY – you don’t want to see me run. It ain’t pretty. I think I scare small children. 😉

    CAROLINE – lovely to hear from you. Thank you so much for your kind words.

    GLENN – I live in Sydney on the east coast. I guess you could say we are fairly southern. And we have a fairly temperate climate but have experienced a lot of rain in recent months after years of heart-breaking drought. Because I am a walker I have been deprived of my daily walks lately and that has gotten me down a little but the sun is out today. I am heading off for a big walk after work. YAY!

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  11. Lovely post, so very atmospheric and yes nice to read about autumn just as we’re entering spring (hopefully, actually it still feels like winter!). I love your description of the storm petrel.

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  12. Selma:

    Sorry about the rain and your walks. I know how important my daily Yoga is to me, but fortunately I’m not affected by the weather.

    Can you go on a treadmill the days it rains. It’s real important you keep those endorphins pumping on a daily basis, especially for those of us prone to depression. Might I also suggest a good Hatha Yoga class. It’s real cheap and after a few classes, you can just carry on at home.

    Love,
    Glenn

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  13. CRAFTY GREEN – those storm petrels are such beautiful birds. Everything about them is so poetic – the look of them, the way they fly, their name. Quite inspiring creatures.

    GLENN – I do a bit of yoga and pilates when rain prevents me from getting out. it’s very helpful.

    LISA – how are you? Bit of prose, bit of poetry. Inspiring surroundings.

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