Saturday, January 20, 2007

Lessons from the summer of 2006/07

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of drought and flooding rains,
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel sea,
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide brown land for me.
Dorothea MacKellar
That just about sums up this year's summer - and we're only just over halfway there.
What with the 40+ degree temperatures, power outages, 50 days of continuous bushfires and now flash floods (the international tennis players at the Australian Open must wonder what surreal hell they have fallen into given that the weather has been extreme by even Melbourne standards), the climate over the past week hasn't exactly been conducive to knitting. I think I might have done a couple of rounds of a ribbed beanie in front of the fan before my husband screamed that I was making him feel hot. I might get a bit more knitting done next week given the weather bureau is predicting cooler temperatures - providing of course we don't get rain leaking through the cracks that have appeared in the house from 3 years of extreme drought.
Welcome to Australia.
But I am not going to whinge about the rain or the monsoonal steam that is creeping in everywhere, no matter how irritating or how much mould it is forming. "We need the rain"; this is the Australian mantra. I just hope some of it is putting out the bushfires and/or falling into the dams. Too often we are mocked with just enough rain to be irritating but too little to do much good. We need good heavy rain in the right areas right now.
A lot of people say this is all part of the climate change from global warming; others claim it is just an extreme blip on our always erratic weather patterns. Australia has always been notorious for extreme weather; the above poem was written in 1906. But this year has definitely been a wake-up call to remind us that even if this is not the result of climate change we, as Australians, simply have to be wiser and more sensible about our use of water.

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