Winter arrived today, such as it is here on the South of the island. We have been teased a little in recent weeks by days of low cloud, but the promise of rain never materialized, although the North was hit by a bad storm some weeks back. Even now the sun finds chinks to peek through.
When rain comes to the South it comes in heavy, sharp waves, hardly ever as a gentle mist, and when it comes after a long, dry stretch, which is what happens at some stage most winters, it washes away months and months of accumulated dust and muck. Roads and walkways become rivers for a time, and much of that muck is deposited wherever a temporary watercourse ends, on roads, and beaches and sidewalks. It’s a while now since we had rain that heavy for long enough to have that effect, whether climate change is the cause I don’t know, but although we’ve had heavy rain, like the hail storm last Xmas Eve, it hasn’t lasted very long. Even in times when it has been that bad, within days the sun has been drying everything out within days, which is maybe why our memories of floods and ensuing problems are so short here.
Sitting at the window I can see a pigeon perched on top of a cactus, preening itself in the weak sunshine. Meanwhile, the palm trees and yuccas, which dominate the rest of the communal garden, toss in a stiff breeze. The last, hard shower was about a half hour ago, and already the pathways are dry.
I composed that sentence in my head, and then I thought how exotic it might sound to someone shivering in a colder climate, with the long winter still ahead. Yet thoughts of snow or the vibrant, Autumn trees of the English Lake District or the delights of cities like Madrid or New York seem just as exotic to me.
We can become just as jaded with life anywhere in the world. For those who love to travel time to move on creeps up, or hits like a tornado out of the blue eventually, no matter what the delights of where you happen to be. It hits no less that you are lolling on a Pacific beach than if you are toiling away a Northern twilight in an overheated office. The thing that matters is the change, that stimulation of mind and body which places and customs and people less familiar bring.