The humidity is back. I used to like it – moving from the south where cold pervades most of the year, up to the sub-tropics where grown men sweat 24 hours a day, was welcome respite.
Now though, it irks. Particularly when it first arrives, usually in early November, that first day when the air takes on a weight and things wilt under it. Walking out the door in the morning is to morph into another climate, pushing your way through it all, straining a little. Then dusk approaches, gloaming, turning to night but the weight remains.
You lie in bed not moving and the sweat beads on yr brow.
That first taste of the humidity is to taste change, and yet yr never ready for it. Yr not done with the cooler weather, not yet prepared to take the leap into the summer months. And so it irks, if only for the fact there was no warning, no kind word a few weeks back gently urging you to prepare.
There’s not really a spring up here, merely a move between cool and hot that lasts weeks, sometimes only days. It’s the same with autumn; less a season than a short transition. It does get cold, to an extent, but it’s the heat which takes centre stage, sticky and wet in the shade, same in the direct sun but with the added burn. Skin is slick and things slip from yr hands. People’s hair hangs limp and they move slower than they otherwise might.
Despite my misgivings though, the change in season – the onset of the hot and wet summer months that lie ahead – heralds a time that fair sings with a lightness. Here, summer lies over year’s end, over the festive season, people are winding down and preparing to take time off. It’s hot and people are finishing up and cold and sweating bottles of beer appear earlier than usual and it’s always warm enough to duck to the beach before work for a swim, gather in groups at twilight with a bottle in yr hand and yr feet are barefoot in the grass.
Indeed, you’ve not worn shoes for three and a half days.
In the mornings, out running the winding tracks into town, feet one after the other in a seemingly endless shuffle, out through the trees and across the oval; nowhere to hide, the sun beats and the sweat paints an odd pattern on the front of my t-shirt. Back under tree cover along the winding river bank, tide up, water glass-green and crystal-clear slipping by on the right.
On the way back, humidity too high to bear, and so shirt and shoes off, scramble down the bank into the still water, under and cool again. Stand and look out at it, the noise off Tweed Street up and behind of little consequence as you look at untouched glass and sunlight reflecting back. The birds sing in the building heat. A lightness to it all.