Two Weeks of Spring

In one of my earlier posts I berated collective Joburg for amnesia about the fact that winters here are cold, so that every year you have to deal with a shortage of things to keep you warm. But now I understand why.

About three weeks ago I was still faithfully cranking up the gas heater every morning so that we didn’t have to eat breakfast covered in blankets, already making plans to buy another gas bottle soon so we wouldn’t run out again at an inopportune moment (though that is precisely what is destined to happen to me with such matters). I started my days in layers of clothing I would shed as the sun got stronger. And I crawled under my down covers practically at sunset because every other place in the house was freezing.

That all seems a distant memory now, at the end of August. I’m sitting here in short sleeves and flip-flops at six in the morning, waiting for yet another glorious sunrise over greening treetops promising a hot day of 28 degrees. Windows will have to be opened soon to let in the breeze, our pool will get used by screaming kids, and we’ll sit on the patio well into the evening. In short, summer has arrived. And it’ll be here until next May, nine long wonderful months of it, during which it is safe to say I will join the collective amnesia regarding winters in Joburg.

We’ve had exactly two weeks of spring. Or, more precisely, what other people might call spring as defined by the period wedged between winter and summer. The real spring here will happen in October and November when the rains start, washing away all the dust from five months of drought and revealing a sparkling and blooming landscape, when it actually cools down a bit, and when the Jacaranda trees will bloom again in all their glory. But by then we’ll already have had two hot months of summer. In short, the seasons in Johannesburg are like nowhere else in the world.

Will someone please remind me in March to stock up on gas bottles.

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