About two weeks ago Evelyn whispered, “I feel an impending sense of autumn.”
My sensitive girl was right; autumn has arrived in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Just earlier in March we went to the beach–Sumner, Corsair Bay, and New Brighton–and swam. We hiked and felt hot in the warmth of the sun. I sweated through shirts on trail runs so much that I had to carefully rehydrate for the next day after a workout.
On Tiffany’s last day with us in Christchurch, we went to Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, and I was peeved and apologetic about the sun’s intensity blazing our backs at mid-day. (She told me she wasn’t tired of it yet.)
Even as the trees started the slightest shift away from green and toward golds and reds, I could still hear a tiny, insistent remnant of cicadas in the forest at Hagley Park.
But the last three days have been significantly cooler.
The trees’ leaves, which had merely hinted at anything other than green just a week ago, are now bursting out in color. My laundry, hanging out on the clothes line, got dowsed with a chilly sprinkle and ended up draped around the living room to recover. The kids’ teachers have all said not to bother bringing swimming togs and towels anymore… pool season is officially over.
Most of all, more than the temperature shift, more than the altered weather pattern, I notice the day’s hours shrinking back down from their lofty expanse into more mundane measures.
For example, today we’ll have 12 hours and 20 minutes of daylight (cloudlight?), a full three hours less than we had in January. The sun didn’t even come up today until 7:27am… lazy thing.
It’s an adjustment, for sure.
Particularly because I’m starting to plan our North Island roadtrip, which will start at the end of April and run right up to our flights back to the states on 2 June. While reading guidebooks and scrounging around online I must admit that I’ve made assumptions about what we’ll do that are based on the climate of the last month and a half we’ve enjoyed in Christchurch… which will likely not be what we experience, at least in large part. I’d been planning for us to meet budget by tent camping instead of booking houses, cottages, and motels. That could be tough if late autumn (1 June is the official start of winter here) on the North Island resembles early autumn on the South Island.
Nevertheless, as I find myself sitting with a bit of a damp chill in my bones today, clutching a cup of tea (okay, okay, yes it’s my third of the morning…), I remind myself of the beautiful summer we just had here in New Zealand.
As well, I turn a few calendar pages and see June, July, and August in the Northern Hemisphere, glowing out their promise of sunlight and fireflies and pool water and s’mores and watermelon slices.