The season we yearn for, along every seaside centimetre of this vast island’s perimeter, in this sand and saltwater obsessed nation of coast-clingers. Our time of glorious wonder, complete with severe clear skies and the solace of a seabreeze on a sweltering day.
It’s on its way.
Anyone born within cooee of the coast can tell you the signs. It’s not just the rising temperature, the lengthening days, the lingering golden light of evening.
It’s the flags going up at the start of the Surf Lifesaving Season, and the banners advertising registration days for Nippers. It’s in the sharp briny scent of the sea, the smell of sunscreen and surfboard wax.
It’s in the first incessant, maddening calls of the koel. The thwock of cricket balls in the nets at the local park, as footballs are ditched in favour of willowtree bats and dreams of one day wearing the baggy green. The crash of the screen door after the kids have been reminded for the zillionth time not to let the mozzies in. The satisfying crunch of a Stelvin cap unscrewing from the top of a crisp Sav Blanc on a Saturday afternoon.
It’s the slide into Daylight Saving Time on the October long weekend, when altering the clock also requires adjusting your headspace, signalling the start of the great unwinding of the end of the year. The deep exhalation as we shuck off out shoes and slip into thongs — we’re talking footwear, here, people — secure in the knowledge that once the race that stops the nation is run on the first Tuesday in November it’s just a few short weeks until the rounds of office parties and Christmas drinks begin.
It’s in the grin that tugs at the corners of your mouth on the first really hot day, knowing that soon enough there will be six weeks of school holidays, of tracking towel-slung to and from the beach, of backyard barbecues and endless lawn mowing, of a whole season of sand being trailed through the house and ever-present in the shower recess, and nights so warm that the sheets are kicked off every bed in the house as cicadas shrill and the Southern Cross wheels overhead in the deep Antipodean darkness.
I felt that grin today.
Ah, Summer. It’s really on its way.