Listen to the weather
Sunday, February 3, 2019 at 07:27PM

Doesn’t seem that far back when we Melburnians used to whine when the thermometer hit 32°. ‘What a stinker!’ we’d exclaim, looking fretfully, in those long-ago days before weather apps, for a sign that the wind had turned and was coming from the south at last.

These days, 32° sounds positively balmy; we’re not shocked till it gets into the 40s. A few days ago, on a brutally hot (although still ‘only’ in the high 30s) day, our fine city was blessed, right on 5 o’clock, when your average punter was heading home from work and hadn’t thought to bring a brolly because we had almost forgotten what rain was, with a deluge. As I walked up Bourke St to my tram, I was tickled by the infectious and patent delight of everyone around me. No one was complaining about getting drenched. People were laughing and smiling and saying, ‘isn’t this amazing?’ to complete strangers. Folk were standing uncomplaining on exposed tram stops, staring up at the heavens in wonder.

It put me in mind of the start of the monsoon in India, where people of all ages dance in the street with sheer happiness and gratitude at the coming of life-giving rain after months of ferocious summer. Maybe it was growing up in the Subcontinent that has made me so fond of Melbourne weather. Living for years through four months of hideous heat followed by four months of flooding rains followed by four months of pleasant weather, year after year, made the four seasons in one day of my adopted home town an endless source of fascination. You can never get bored here, at least not weather wise.

Of course, the changing weather patterns the world around are cause for grave concern. We’re a soft lot in the city, merely inconvenienced by the heat or cold or rain; in the country the elements are a matter of life or death, as Tasmania burns on and drought ravages farms across our state. And there is the further degree of desperation experienced by our Pacific neighbours who stand to lose their very homeland, thanks to global warming and the rising of the seas.

I will continue to delight in our four seasons in one day. And try, rather than treating the weather as a nuisance, to be more responsive to what it is trying to tell us and our obtuse politicians about what humanity needs to do, urgently, to preserve life on this fragile planet.

This was published in The Melbourne Age on 3 February 2019

Article originally appeared on Clare's Blog (
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