That is what I remember of Brisbane when I was little. Moisture and humidity and succulent forest. For some reason (and I'm not going into speculation about global warming here), my adult years saw a great deal of heat with not enough rainfall, and Brisbane seemed to turn into a drier, more barren landscape, of which I remember getting caught barefoot in lawns full of bindi princkles, and brown, crunchy, drought-like terrain. A fight for survival in the garden, where no amount of watering can save the wilting plants. This shift in my memories of the sensations of living in Brisbane could be something about idealizing childhood, I guess, or the fact that we moved house when I started Uni, from a gully to a hilltop locale, which although was very scenic, was basically built on rock, and not good for developing luscious landscapes.
These childhood sensations come as flashbacks to me now. I wake up in the night and long for those cicada sounds; the humming bush; the fluid, enveloping humidity. My wishing for these sensations is getting stronger lately, I think partly because we haven't been in Oz for over two years, but mainly because of the extreme cold affecting this part of the world. We have spent the last 3 months in sub-zero wintery conditions, and the last few weeks with an outdoor temperature of minus 15, give or take. Whenever you go outside you are restricted by layers and layers, and you scuttle from one location to another without stopping to let your toes freeze. Indoors the central heating is working overtime and dries out the air, so that everyone is parched and static, with cracked lips and drying sinuses. So I find myself lying awake , scheming about somehow getting plane flights to the other side of the world, just so that I can feel that moist air, put on a light dress, and go through the screen door onto the brick patio barefoot, to watch the gathering electrical storm of an afternoon.
I also find myself pondering how important it is for my kids to feel and associate with these same climate-related sensations. And have realised that they will have a totally different suite of feelings they associate with their childhood, and which they could feel homesick for, if they end up living in some tropical climate as adults. Because they are children of Northern Europe. They will remember the brisk air as they come out of the house, snap-freezing nose hairs and the cold like needles on their cheeks; the puddles of ice and water they traipse into the corridor when they come home. Awe and excitement when they wake up in the morning and look outside and see fat snowflakes slowly sliding downward. The crunch of the snow beneath their boots, and the way that you can take a run up and slide along the pavement when it's iced over. The absolute silence and solitude of Kūgures when you trudge over the snow and into fields by yourself - everything soft and white and muffled for miles. Breaking off icicles for "snow shashliks", and making snow angels, and the cosiness of coming into the house with the fire in the grate. The feeling of gratitude and joy of seeing the springtime approaching, and the wonder of finding the first small green shoots and snowbells peeking out from under dry, crackly leaves... their sensations will be different, but surely just as powerful, and just as strongly feel like "home": and I realise that it's all good. Different place, different time.