Ah September, the most wonderful time of the year, when children head back to school all bright-eyed and full of summer stories, there is a slight chill in the air heralding the arrival of Fall, glorious colours abound, gardens are being put to bed, we dream of hot apple-crisp with vanilla ice-cream, cozy sweaters, and... STOP THE PRESSES!
Down under in Melbourne, we are coming out of winter, such as it is in Australia. Children have been in school for 8 months now and are anticipating Spring Break (ok we call it Spring half-term here). There is warmth in the air heralding the arrival of Summer, trees are budding, our gardens are waking up, Spring flowers are blooming furiously, and we are delightedly shedding our cozy sweaters.
But I digress, back to Spring. As a Canadian girl, I had never experienced the tropics except briefly on holiday. The tropics are exotic, not-quite-real places to where us pathetic northerners occasionally hop a chartered Air Canada flight in order to temporarily escape the miseries of howling winds and freezing temperatures. Real people don't actually live in the tropics do they?
They do now! Despite the fact that, barring the island of Tasmania, Melbourne is the southernmost and therefore, coldest region in Australia, this is still a place where lemons, limes, and oranges grow madly in winter, olive groves and vineyards abound, there are palm trees, birds of paradise, bromeliads, jasmine, camelias, cacti, yuka, and azaleas pushing wildly on every corner.
I covet the lemon trees groaning with fruit the size of small footballs in the backgardens of all my friends who laugh sympathetically when I confess to having to buy lemons at the grocery store. During my late evening walks with Murphy, I practically float into the air following the wafting fragrances of jasmine, frangiapane, citrus oil, boronia, and wild freesia. It's an incredibly heady experience!
Well hello there little Lorikeet, I see you under the Palm fronds!