It was the end of daylight saving today. The city gets darker an hour earlier from now on. At first there is a litany of resistance, almost of regret that the balmy sunny evenings are gone for a while. It is as if there is a collective exclamation of ‘That’s that, then.‘ There is an expectation that people will walk about with miserable looks on their faces as the colder weather sets in.
Yet there is much to love in Sydney when Autumn’s song breaks through. The maples shed their leaves. Grand orange and russet leaves as wide as the palm of my hand, creating a satisfying crunch underfoot that no one can resist. Artists gather them, trying to recreate their colours. Children link them at the stalks, autumnal daisy chains, wearing them on their heads like creatures of the woods.
The birds get in their winter feathers, all fluffy and plump, sitting like jolly uncles after a roast dinner, snuggled together, chests out. The camellias arrive overnight, bursting forth from the bud in glorious pinks and whites. The garden is like a carnival.
Seasonal fruits appear – avocadoes, limes, passionfruit, pears, mandarins, ruby red grapes. Autumn can still be as juicy as summer.
Recipe books are pulled from the back of the shelf. Stews and soups are savoured over, planned. Much loved woollen blankets are pulled out of storage and aired. Already there are dreams of cosy, lazy days reading in bed.
There are more people in the streets, walking, as the temperature drops. There is no exhausting heat to battle; no flies to swat. It is possible to walk one mile, two, three without feeling the effects of heat stroke.
The air is crisp in early morning. ‘Makes you know you’re alive,’ says one man in the park. At twilight shadows lengthen more quickly, the garden is vivid with imaginary cats made of velvet, crouching.
I like Autumn’s song. More mellow than summer she tackles the day with less vigour but just as much joy. There is beauty to be had even when the sights and sounds that make up our waking hours are not sun-ripened. There is beauty to be had in change.