Autumn Break or Autumn Broken....

What's happening down the red dirt road...

It feels like only a ninny would say that Summer was too long, it was though, long, hot and very dry. It hung on for longer than usual. The dizzying heat has a cabin fever like effect on the human psyche. Staring at brown hills, watching plants suffer and shrivel up, even looking up at the blue sky everyday makes you go a little bonkers. 

Maybe I am a ninny. A ninny whose been out watering every morning and evening with a hose since late November, in the coolest and nicest parts of the day. First off it's an enjoyable thing to do in the evenings with a glass of red, it's a novelty, a sign of the lovely hot Summer and beach days to come, the Summer holidays stretch ahead. By the end of March you are just desperately looking for any signs of moisture on leaves and in the grass, any sign there's a significant change of season on its way at all! 


I remember after a large period of drought in the early 2000's (I think it was 5-6 years in), right on the end of a dry Summer just like this, I decided to move to Ireland for awhile to work. When I arrived at my family's place, I just sat inside their porch for the first three days solid, my face pressed into the coolness of the glass, looking at the lush green pasture, enjoying the sight of the rain while drinking good strong tea. Rain and tea. It was bliss. They thought I was mad. They see rain for 9 months or sometimes more per year. It's another extreme on the other end of the spectrum. It can go both ways.

At the end of Summer here it gets to the point where you are just keeping things alive with your garden hose. You can see the green patches of flowers and shrubs sitting next to the listless brown strands of grass. The local farmers and gardeners around here lovingly referring to the "Autumn Break", the phenomenon of the rain arriving.
They romanticise it, although you can hardly blame them. When everything will be green again, they say, all the flowers will bloom again in a spring-like fashion and harvest greens will be bountiful. We fantasise with our gardening friends about turning our hoses off, dancing in the gentle rain with our shovels in hand, tending to our replenished gardens reverently.
Alas, when Autumn breaks, it does so with vengeance. The rain is torrential, not light and misty, nor romantic. The wind is gale force and howls night and day. Even established trees bend in half under the strength of the wind and nearly break my heart, but they just hang in there.  The chickens stop laying, then start again. They're wet and confused.

It's almost a case of "Autumn broken", it becomes a harrowing event on the nerves.  with the pleasure of the rain comes the horror of potentially losing everything you've barely kept alive with that damn hose while the Summer lingered on. 
On the flip-side, from the moment the rain hits those burnt blades of grass, you can observe the greening as it begins, it's almost instant. With the first sups of rain you can see the water dams filling up, and the garden beds are soaked to its bones.
We emerge a few days later to an eerily quiet dripping noise, feeling the gardens relief in it, and relishing in the sensory pleasure that it evokes. It's a renewal and re-invigoration after the hot and sticky mess of a few days earlier. Absurdly, Summers forgiven and all hardship nearly forgotten.

Yes our flippant beach days are over, but our dulled senses are rejuvenated and our green rolling hills are inviting us to enjoy them again. Back to the garden, back to life.  


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