HOT

It was 35 degrees in Sydney today. Celsius. That’s 95 degrees Fahrenheit. In October. We have just gone into Spring. Usually we don’t experience temperatures like this until at least the first few weeks in December when summer starts.

On the news this morning the weatherman said there was a westerly wind blowing in from central Australia, from Uluru. It was a fierce wind, the type of wind that can make you faint or so het up you would dive into a public swimming pool fully clothed.

I saw a film once about a light house keeper. There was a storm at sea and the wind and rain were thrashing about the lighthouse, encircling it like a predator. As people are wont to do in such movies, the keeper put himself at risk and opened the door. The wind rushed in with the speed of a bullet, flickering into every corner of the room, spiralling and whirling until the man was knocked backwards.

That’s what it was like today when I opened the door to the garden. The heat thrust itself forward like a punch. If I had held up my hand I’m sure I could have caught a hot ball of wind. As little as half a second of its touch would have singed my palm.

There is an elderly man named Vic who lives in my street. He has a blue heeler dog named, Davo, who appears to be just as old as him. They walk up and down the street on spindly legs saying ‘G’Day’ to everyone they meet.

It was Vic who told me that in the 1940s my house was painted a fetching shade of blue and was called My Blue Heaven. People always paused to look, revelling in the cheery colour.

Vic knows a lot of interesting things about local history. He thinks the area has changed, but not for the better.

Too many people ripping out their gardens to put in imported terracotta tiles. Too many people poisoning trees to improve their views. Too many cars, SUVs grinding up the streets. Too much plastic clogging the waterways.

His environmental bent surprises me.

‘It’s hotter than it used to be,’ he says. ‘The sun burns more easily. That’s man made climate change, that is. The politicians spend too much time arguing about whose fault it is and not enough time doing anything. Soon the heat will turn the faint-hearted to cinders.’ I fear he is right.

The rain has come. The lightning. It illuminates the sky in bands.

I play the game I used to play as a kid where I sit by the window and wait for the lightning to shock the sky searching for a glimpse of the shape of heaven.

The shapes are strange, contorted, like a landscape by Dali or Munch. I imagine hands reaching out from the blackened clouds, pushed back by the lines of electricity.

The thunder rips through the branches of the jacaranda in the garden which is just beginning to bloom. Tiny lavender petals stain the ground like confetti. The wind beats against the windows like fists are banging on the glass. I become convinced there is someone outside and search with the jaunty red torch that I keep for emergencies but there is nothing but the silhouettes of storm clouds on the grass.

The cool rises, more slowly than the heat did as if weary, reluctant, fearful of traps being laid. I open all the windows to the night and let the cold seep in. There is a gasp as the house relaxes, taut all day against the unrelenting sunlight.

The cool touches everything, walking through the house in stockinged feet, soothing our brows and our limbs so we can settle to sleep.

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27 thoughts on “HOT

  1. Sending some cool breezes down your way Selma. I am NOT a fan of really hot weather and have been really enjoying the comfortable fall temps. here, that finally arrived. Sounds like a cooker down there. 😦

    Hugs and Happy Friday, G

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  2. They told us it’s unseasonably hot here in Spain. Most of us were wandering round in shorts and T shirts, which is unheard of in the mountains in October!

    I did notice, both at home and in Australia, a lot of people are putting down tiles or gravel; 50/50 on whether they’re trying to save on weeding/watering or want somewhere to put their extra cars.

    But, since I like gardening, and only have one car ….

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  3. I can send you some cold, it is 8 Celsius, which is unseasonably cold for here. I have this feeling that we won’t even see fall and jump straight into winter – Yuck! I don’t mind the heat as long as it isn’t that humid heat which is unbearable!

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  4. Wow! I hadn’t heard about your heatwave. We’ve had some extremely pleasant days here – around 24 to 26. And, of course, I’m sick (again), so I can’t really enjoy the perfect weather. 😦

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  5. I read this and forgot to comment. 35C and steamy is definitely stay inside weather… so I hope you’re keeping cool. As I try to keep warm.

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  6. GERALDINE – it’s cooler today, thank goodness. It’s been raining all night which is great news for the drought. I don’t mind the heat but the hot winds are a trial.

    TRAVELRAT – still warm in Spain, eh? The weather patterns are all topsy turvy, aren’t they? I did read somewhere that ripping out your garden and replacing it with tiles is not the way to go if you want to reduce your carbon footprint. I think it also may affect the water table. Keeping the flowers and the trees sounds like the way to go!

    TBALL – 8 degrees C? I would be in a state. That is way too cold for me. Yikes. Yet you live in such a beautiful country so a bit of cold weather would be bearable when you have all that lovely scenery to look at. I don’t like the humidity, either. Who wants to sweat all day? Or as my Mum says – ‘glisten.’

    DAOINE – oh, hon. Sorry to hear you’re not well. I hope you haven’t been overdoing it. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do.

    JONAS – how lovely to hear from you. I hope you’ve been well. Thank you for your kind words!

    NAT – I just drink a lot when the weather’s like this. Non-alcoholic, of course. 😉

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  7. You write so well, Selma – it’s a joy to read your posts.

    It’s especially a joy today to read of some warmth, though I know it’s too hot for you. Here in the Highlands of Scotland it is soooo cold – I can’t believe it’s only October, with another six months before it begins even to think about warming up again. Our local mountain, Ben Wyvis, had its first snow yesterday so I could do with some lovely Australian sunshine!

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  8. Oh I am so envious – I love heat! Really do.

    This morning when I got up to take my sons to swim training there was a thin layer of frost on the car windscreen – in early October!!! It’s insane. Why am I living here????

    I can’t wait to get to Perth!

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  9. This was excellent (as usual). How lovely to learn the history of your home! It was a lovely place on the outside that made people feel good, but with you and your family there, it’s lovely on the inside as well. You certainly have a way of making people feel good just by talking (or writing) to them.

    The fellow you met sounds a lot like my grandfather, a man before his time. Grandpa used to say the water problems where he lived were due to irresponsible farming, logging, and building, and that we’d all be suffering for it.

    He was saying that back in the 60’s (and according to my mother, even before then).

    Drought-resistant gardens (with plants, not tiles) are the best way to go. Too bad people don’t want to bother with them.

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  10. I loved every word. “The shapes are strange, contorted, like a landscape by Dali or Munch.” Perfect. You have a gift for describing a scene with the use of words every bit as skillful as the artists, Dali and Munch did it with canvass and paint.

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  11. Great post! Your description of the physicality of the wind was so engaging I got completely lost in the experience. I don’t know about the particular wind you are describing, but I could easily imagine the feeling given how well it is written. I quite loved the juxtaposition of the refreshing night air and your expert drawing of how soothing and nurturing that simple experience can be. Wonderful, as always.

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  12. Wow, it’s HOT there!
    Here in Atlanta, it’s usually still warm out, but temps are falling–I went walking with hubby Hansoo, and our dear “Louie”(our Golden Retreiver) and felt that crunch of reddish leaves under our feet, and the cooool breeze of oh, about 65 Farenheit(perfect!) in a nearby park. Where we saw….wait for it…..a CHIPMUNK running about! Unfortunately, I did NOT have my “Shine”(cell-phone with cool camera in it!) with me. Sigh.
    You were the FIRST PERSON I thought of, though.
    I’ll try to get a pic of one of these cuties that romp around near my house for you, and post it soon, as I once promised you I would.

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  13. Your descriptions sound like how the last few days have been here, in Botswana. We’ve had boiling weather and fierce winds- bushfire weather and we’ve had loads of those too. Lost a fairly famous lodge up north, Nata Lodge, the other week. Burnt to ashes.

    Selma, I can’t say enough about your wonderful descriptions in this post. Especially toward the end, I could feel the coolness of the night and the relief of your house. Nice, nice, nice. Thanks -you’ve inspired me to go and write something for my blog now.

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  14. I love the way you animate natural processes, Selma.

    ‘The cool touches everything, walking through the house in stockinged feet …’

    You have a real gift for this.

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  15. “The heat thrust itself forward like a punch. If I had held up my hand I’m sure I could have caught a hot ball of wind. As little as half a second of its touch would have singed my palm.”

    Now THAT is the definition of HOT

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  16. PUNATIK – I think you’re right. Mother Nature has said :’We’re getting straight into it this year and that’s that.’ I am ill-prepared for summer’s wrath.

    PUDDOCK – how lovely to hear from you. You won’t believe it, I was just about to stop by to see how you are. Snow already? The Highlands are of course, just about the most beautiful place in the world but oh, so cold. Sounds like it’s time for a wee dram!

    RELUCTANT – I remember the frost on the car windows when I lived in Scotland. It was freezing. Perth is going to be hot. It gets really warm over there. It is a great place to visit, however.

    KAREN – it’s interesting, isn’t it? Many people think the environmental movement is a recent thing embraced only by the young but I know many people like Vic who have always practiced a form of environmentalism. My family who were farmers in Ireland always spoke of ‘giving back to the Earth.’ I wonder what happened along the way to stop this attitude being widespread.

    MARY – you have completely made my day. Thank you so much!

    KAYT – well, as you are one of my favourite writers that is high praise, indeed. Cheers, my dear!

    LISA – I am touched that you thought of me when you saw the chipmunk. They are such dear little things. The next time I visit the US the first thing I’m going to say (probably to my sister or my cousin)is ‘Take me to the chipmunks!’ I mean, can you think of anything cuter?

    LISSA – I will be right there. I must admit I am intrigued!

    LAURI – well I am honoured I could help. That sounds like an horrendous bush fire. It won’t be long until we are beset by them too. So many of the bushfires in Australia are deliberately lit these days. It’s horrible. Why would anyone do that?

    ANTHONY – you are so kind to say that. What an apt way of putting it. I can see now that I do that. I do appreciate your feedback!

    MELEAH – once it was 44 degrees C here. The wind was so hot it felt like it would sear your lungs. I don’t know how people in Africa or the Middle East manage with that kind of heat on a regular basis. It must be exhausting.

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  17. Isn’t the weather crazy at the moment? One day recently it was 35 degrees here and the very next day it was 17. It’s been going back and forth like that on alternate days for several weeks. No wonder everyone around me is getting sick.

    Oh Selma, I dread our brutal summer, I really, really do.

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  18. GYPSY – you and me both. It is completely debilitating, isn’t it? I always fear that when it gets really warm, really early that the summer is going to be deadly. I hope I’m wrong, I really do!

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  19. Selma, PLEASE let me know when you visit the U.S., as it appears your sis lives in North Carolina..Hansoo’s(Hansoo is my hubby) brother lives in Charlotte, N.C. If it is alright with you, I would love to meet you for tea somewhere in N.C….and you may also come to our home(just north of Atlanta), to visit if you’d like. Just e-mail me to let me know when, set times, etc…
    Peace, woman.

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  20. LISA – I will definitely let you know. It would be so cool to meet you. I think we would have a lot to talk about. Hopefully, I’ll get to the US sooner rather than later!

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