Darwin in the Dry

DARWIN, JULY, 2013. Clear blue skies, balmy days, cool nights. Temperature in Darwin today 29deg top, 16 low. Cool for Darwin. Locals are shivering. Out come the doonas,  bed socks,flannelette sheets. It’s not  uncommon to see hoodies and fleecies being worn, when the temperature is in the low thirties. In the dry, the breeze off the Arafura Sea is cool and refreshing. Gone is the stillness, stickiness, and heaviness of the humid build-up. The rains of the Wet have dried up, leaving almost empty water-holes and a sky so blue and clear it’s like a child’s painting.   Another name for the Dry is the ironically named Mother-In-Law Season. Granny flats are suddenly occupied by families who’ve driven or flown the 4000 kms to be with their loved ones. Grey nomads in their vans and motorhomes invade the caravan parks, and NSW, Victoria, and Queensland number plates fill the streets. The letters page of the NT News abounds with snide suggestions such as ‘Southerners Go Home’ while the front page inevitably bears an image of the latest crocodile scare. We from Down South are greeted in a friendly fashion with ‘Must be the Dry; you’re here again.’ I hasten to defend myself, assuring Darwinites that I’ve been here in  the Wet, the Build-up, and the Knock-Em Down seasons, as well as the Dry. Admittedly it’s supremely satisfying to be revelling in warm sunny days while those at home are freezing. […]

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Au Revoir Darwin

Au Revoir Darwin 2013 Three more days. I want to embrace this place, to squeeze the last moments of joy from this my second home. Today we’ll visit the markets, for the jostle of colours, the smells of sizzling spicy food and the taste of my favourite mango lime juice, its stringent iciness going straight to my brain. Then to an Open Garden, once again to witness the wonders worked in an oasis of tropical plants and swaying palms. Later we will go to hear the Gyoto Monks from Tibet perform their amazing chants, deep guttural sounds that vibrate in the soul. Tomorrow at 4 o’clock, come and witness the ritual of the mandala, an intricate sand sculpture which has taken the monks ten days to create, being swept away into the sea. Darwin, my Lotus land, has been my second home for close to fifteen years. I will take back the deep warmth that soothes my body, the memory of the clear bright light, and the startling brightness of the stars at night. I leave it this time only on the assurance that I will be back, perhaps sooner than anyone thinks. I leave behind my children and grandchildren to continue their full lives, knowing we are closer after each visit. As well, I leave behind some dear friends, both new and old, not least of who are the members of our Writing Life group. Yesterday four of us met […]

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