The act of riding my bike to the pool in the heat of summer is something I haven’t done since childhood. It’s been at least fifteen years since I would bike to morning swim team practice with the Winchester Waves.
The feeling is the same though; the dry heat rising off the pavement and the broadening streams of sweat, the relief of the outdoor swimming pool, the smell of chlorine.
I have a car, but most things are within biking distance and thanks to the many bikeways I can travel without hazard to most of my destinations. Even so, the current heat index makes it a real internal battle.
The heat is also responsible for what is apparently a regular summer event: bushfires throughout the country. I’d never even heard of bushfires, and thought they were small blazes left by irresponsible campers. Turns out they’re huge, raging fires that reduce thousands of acres every year to smoldering dust. People, homes and forests are all annual casualties.
Nearby Bribie Island was recently covered with sweeping flames, and the smoke was so pungent you could smell it here in Brisbane, a good fifty miles away. The city was covered with a thick, smoke-induced haze for days.
These fires are treated as unavoidable catastrophes and there’s a grim annual fire-related death toll given in every media update. A few weeks ago it had reached 93.
This resilient country bears its share of harsh environmental disasters: the 2011 Queensland floods, accelerated climate change, etc. What else can you do in the face of such danger than throw a few kangaroo steaks on the barbie and drink (more than) a few Foster’s? Actually, it’s not Foster’s at all. More like Toohey’s New or XXXX.
We’ll be enjoying our first Australia day weekend with some new friends, cockroach races and quality lager. Happy January, everyone.