How I know we are on the brink of summer’s end is by the force of its presence. Day or night, you cannot free yourself from its languid hands. It is the second week of March but last night I could not sleep for sweating. The famous, cancerous, Australian sun is putting on a performance, an explosion that has culminated today in a fire burning somewhere in Sydney’s West.The smoke is thick. Autumn is on its way.
It is this last glory of summer that reminds us that a changing of the guard is due. The flowers from Valentines day that grow too quickly and absurdly bright on my balcony will slow soon before they still. It is in this mood and in the midst of change that I write. Not of new beginnings, I’ve had my fair share of those, but of a cautious move into a different season.
Last summer was my first back in Australia after a year and a half in South America. When I arrived that tail end of November I was relieved, exhausted and unemployed. A month later I was elated, scared and starting my first full time job in Community Development. In the spirit of new years resolutions I decided I would take up yoga and the learning of the language of my country of origin; the yoga was to balance out the anxiety from becoming an adult so suddenly and the filipino tagalog classes were a push to get in touch with my roots. In my mind I pictured myself balancing on my head and speaking fluently to my filipino cousins in the town of my birth. Oh New years, nothing will be as persistently influential on my ambition as the end of a three hundred and sixty five day cycle.
I carried this January energy with me fervently until April when I turned twenty five. It was a non-event that nonetheless coincided with my beginning to make peace with adult life. Life took on a routine that had started to feel less like a straight jacket and more like a blanket. It was strange, this growing up business.
Two weeks later I successfully imported my American boyfriend to Australia, continuing the trend of dramatically crossing oceans to be together that began almost three years ago when we met in Bolivia. Autumn gave him a thundering welcome with the Sydney storms that flooded the asphalt with fat rivers of rain and filled rubbish bins with umbrella carcasses, wires bent in all directions. It was miserable weather and loved-up times. A classic combination of shorter days and long-awaited companionship meant I stopped waking up early on Saturday mornings to drive to tagalog classes and had forgotten the deep breathing of my morning salute to the suns. The seasons were cooling and life followed suit. The winter I can’t remember much of, except that I began to watch too many shows and ate incessantly without ever once being hungry.
The plans for spring were born in the middle of winter; the American and I seizing three hundred dollar round trip tickets to the Philippines. A few weeks later we booked tickets to Chicago where I would meet his family for the first time for Christmas and New Years, making my maiden voyage to the North end of the American continent. It seems impossible writing this now that these paragraphs could contain a years worth of living; they don’t on one hand, they do on the other.
A year goes by in a series of blinks. First the summer sun makes your eyes sweat, you open them in time to see the leaves change, they droop back to sleep through winter and wake up in spring. There is a certain magic to the way we change with the seasons, an attempt to be in step with the movements around us, to resist stagnating in any singular position but feeling the need to move toward that which makes us feel alive.