When I was all set to emigrate mumble-mumble years ago I found it hard to get my head around the concept of the change of seasons here, and how they felt and manifested themselves. When I asked people what Winter was like they seemed to waffle an awful lot. I realize now that it was because the British, given a climate often lacking in sunshine, had certain expectations of the weather here. That expectation would be sunshine, that for which they came here, to be in constant supply. Most of the time they won’t be disappointed, though those times are narrowing, partly on account of climate change, and partly on account of the apparently universal craving for greenery and golf, which has dotted the desert landscape with flora of one variety or another, which, in turn, is feeding the clouds.
There are many years when Summer segues so gradually into Winter that there is no Fall, and there are years when the intensity of Summer is blown away in days of hard, torrential rain, to settle afterwards into the Winter pattern of clearer, balmy days.
This year we have Autumn. The rains came, but they weren’t torrential – yet (that can happen now any time up to roughly June of next year). They cleared the claggy heat of summer, but left a humidity in its place, which we didn’t used to experience in the South of the island. Since the rain last week the days have alternated between hours of sunshine followed by cloud and back to sushine again, or something like that.
The best time is still early morning. Then it’s always fresher, and today all the morning aromas mingled and scented the air with a tang of expectation and change. At least that’s the way I thought of it, but then, I’m an Autumn junkie. The scent comes from seaweed and all the flora of the dunes, from juniper and brine, damp air and damper sand, and from the slippery algae which covers the rocks – all the smells which the summer heat dries up or smothers.
The noise level in El Médano has dropped significantly. The queues in the ice cream parlour are much shorter. There is parking outside my building whatever time of day. The hum of activity in the complex is almost non-existent and the constant, childish screaming from the swimming pool has subsided – these last because the bulk of these apartments are weekend homes or vacation homes – and, strange as it may seem to those of us reared further North, I guess there just aren’t sufficient hours of sunshine in Winter to make the hour or so drive from Santa Cruz worth the trouble……not complaining about that!