Spring arrives early this year, with two days of heat in mid September, mild breezes knocking blossom from the trees. Great drifts of plane tree pollen are banking up in the gutters. I think this season will be a sneezy one.
On a Sunday afternoon we strip off jerseys and throw pale feet into sandals, and turn our faces to the sun. I pile food into a basket and we go to the Botanical Gardens. So does everyone else in Melbourne. We spend a stupid amount of time hunting for a carpark, along with everyone else in Melbourne.
There must be thousands there but it doesn’t feel crowded, all these people walking the paths & lying on the grass. Reading newspapers, and kindles, and books. Eating, and drinking. Chasing after small runaway children. Guess who we are. After finishing barbecue chicken skewers and mini quiches and strawberries, we roll up the picnic blanket and let Jamie take the lead. He runs. He runs and runs. He runs in a very non-linear fashion. He tries to climb into the pond. He gets pink cheeked and sweaty.
We pass a few selfie sticks, and people taking photos in front of giant spiny succulents, and from across ponds glittering in the sunlight. We wander along a trail through dense bamboo thickets, and stop to try climbing a rock. A girl and a guy in a tree inspire Jamie, who giggles when we hoist him atop a long smooth branch. He runs in circles around the fragrant herb garden. On the way back to the car, we walk past swathes of sweet blooming daffodils that perfume the air.
It smells of spring, warm and delicious. It has been a perfect spring day, without any of that brutal wind peppering eyeballs with pollen that you usually get this time of year.
We drive home, a tired and hangry child in the backseat, and all of a sudden it doesn’t seem so long until Christmas…