01 January, 2010

tropical summer mood

the strand on sunday 27 december
north queensland's wet season began on christmas night and it's been quite unlike anything i've experienced. almost immediately, and certainly after a week of night rain, i felt that the weather was actually a character in this story we live. it has substance enough to be a character, more correctly i should say it provides an incredible sense of atmosphere or setting - it is full with passion and outbursts of frangipani blossoms.

frangipanis blooming at the strand

my attention has particularly been on rainfall as i have been pool-sitting for friends and have been careful to keep the level just so. the record-breaking torrential rain of Wednesday night/Thursday morning (206.8mm - Townsville's wettest December day) was described as a deluge, and yes, it filled that pool up well. required a few bomb dives to get it down a little for the next deluge.

it's been a while since i've lived in a place with weather. weather so pervading that it can be described in innumerable ways and can provide direction for people's lives. toowoomba had the fog that descended and made people huddle close. no such thing as central heating, we had a kerosene heater that we would huddle around, first to roast our backs and then our fronts.
dalby just had 'hot weather' - nothing atmospheric about it. maryborough's weather was so mild that we forgot all about seasons. winter was a few days of wearing an extra layer (it was really nothing after having experienced toowoomba's weather). both myall creek and mary river flooded while i was in those towns, and those were certainly events, but not annual.

now to townsville where the wet season is something anticipated, discussed, warned about, but must be experienced. the vibrancy and deluge of this tropical atmosphere immediately led me to question who has written about this season, this atmosphere, this northern summer mood?
i remembered thea astley and had heard of ian townsend. i have borrowed affection from our library and am seeking out astley's hunting the wild pineapple, it's raining in mango, girl with a monkey for their north queensland settings. i want to feel how they convey this incredible atmosphere. affection has a tag line: 'there is no cure'. that could be said for becoming a north queenslander, and certainly a townsvillian. there is no cure. i love it here.

can anyone recommend other stories with NQ, particularly Townsville as a setting, particularly with the atmosphere used to effect?

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