Winter in Australia

This is for Harvey
A farm I lived on as a 7 y.o. Murwillumbah NSW

Mt Warning

Burleigh Heads in winter

Back in the seventies there was a song that would haunt me with the sadness of its lyric, especially when I was caught up in the confines of my own mind. My prison. Doug Ashdown wrote and sang that song and he still is an Australian folk singer. He caught the world’s attention expressing his gift with the song ‘Winter in America’. I don’t think ‘Winter in Australia’ would have worked the same. Last winter I experienced a sense of loss and displacement in a foreign landscape. Spending a lot of my time in an apartment, minus degrees outside and everything was definitely ‘emptying into white’ (Cat Stevens). It reminded me of the lyrics of that song and the picture Doug painted.
So I took the time to think about  where I was and what was really happening. Slowly at first, but I persisted more than resisted and in time the beauty outside came shining through. In my heart nothing was different. I only needed to recognise that fact. Winter in Switzerland is cold, still with that comes a wondrous landscape and opportunities that had been absent from my life until that time.  

Now winter in Australia is another thing. Presently we are staying in our neighbour’s home in Witta, Queensland. The butcher birds sing us awake every morning as the sun baths our bedroom with filtered light from whispering gum trees. The mornings are crisp but by eight a.m. the mercury pushes through fifteen degrees and any clue that winter is the season is instantly vapourized, Our morning walks around the hills near our home are punctuated by sleeping cows and views of fog-filled pockets in the valleys below. 
Yesterday Jo and I had an early breakfast at Burleigh Heads, one of our favourite beaches on the east coast. In the middle of the manic Gold Coast it manages to retain it’s tranquility  and natural identity. A sense of connection to this place was immediate when our naked toes dug into the sand and the sun drew us into the water as we wandered our way along the oceant to North Burleigh and back. Winter in Australia is warm. And so are the people. But there is something to be said about living in foreign lands where you cannot speak and understand the language. Coming home, I have found there are just some conversations you don’t need to hear.

Witta overlooking Obi Obi valley

Bottle tree at South Bank

Burleigh Heads at breakfast


Popular Posts