Slice of Life Story Challenge March 22 -Same Season, Different Places

   Same Season, Different Places


A recent discussion with a group of friends about the summer just passed lead to reminiscences regarding the summers of our youth. We shared memories of those long gone days. It raised different perspectives about the ways we spent those lazy hazy days.

Eighty per cent of Australians live within two hours of the coast. Almost all our major cities are situated on the coast.  I have lived close to the sea for almost thirty years. I currently live close to the sea near Fisherman’s Beach in Mornington.




Australia's population of some 24 million people generally like to flock to the beaches in summer. However, my own childhood was spent some 50 kilometres from the ocean in the ranges outside Melbourne. My growing up memories of summer, delightful as they are, have little to do with seaside delights.

Summer In The Hills
In the summer
Of my hillside hometown
I scampered up ladders to pick cherries
I crouched on my haunches gathering strawberries
I ate nectarines straight from the tree
And fished for yabbies and native blackfish in the creek
Under the shade of an oak tree I read Prisoner of Zenda
While the chirping of crickets stole silence from the dusk
And dragonflies hovered in the garden

In the summer
Of my hillside hometown
Heat haze shimmered over dusty red roads
Flies moved without urgency
And homemade ice-cream vanished in a lick
Lemon cordial and ice blocks quenched our lingering thirst
And as the air grew sticky in the late afternoon melting time
Lemon scented gumtrees left reminders on the breeze
Dandelion lawns browned before our eyes
And water-tanks ran dry when the February dragon came calling
We sought the shade of forest canopy
Rode our bikes close to sunset
And our eyes scanned the horizon for smoke

Occasionally we caught the bus to the Belgrave baths
Along slow and winding roads
And returned with chlorine saturated towels
No surfboards
No seaweed
No sand
The coast and its waves were alien
No Cowabunga
No Gidget and Moondoggie
And though we listened to the Beach Boys sing the praises of Barbara Ann
And danced The Stomp
We lived in the valleys and on the ridges
And we saw summer through a forest of ferns
It was the same season

Just dressed in a different outfit





Comments

  1. We're waiting for spring, so your summer post had me disorientated this morning. I want to live near Fisherman's Beach, too, Alan. The images were lovely.
    Kevin

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    1. Thanks Kevin. My southern hemisphere perspectives do tend to create a sense of disorientation. Same season, different times. I am indeed fortunate to reside in a lovely part of the world. My travels have taught me to appreciate that fact.

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  2. I agree with Kevin -- it's so strange to remember that you are living with summer/fall right now as we are just getting ready for warmer weather. Your poem and pictures were simply scrumptious! My favorite line that rings of summer: "While the chirping of crickets stole silence from the dusk." Thank you!

    Jennifer

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    1. Thank again Jennifer for your positive remarks. When I living in the US, I got to experience two winters per year! During the US summer we would return home to an Australian winter. Hence my summer yearning.

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  3. The poem offers so many vivid images. And while the setting is vastly different, the feeling of the heat of summer is familiar, reminding me of the hot Indiana summers when I grew up And some of the childhood activities are familiar- we, too rode bikes close to sunset (though no scanning for smoke) and carried chlorine-soaked towels home from a day at the swimming pool. We had no dreams of the coast, only hopes for a trip to the lake or river sometime during the summer.

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    Replies
    1. So even if we live in different hemispheres there are shared experiences with the seasons. Indiana summers sound familiar. Thanks for your kind response.

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  4. How beautiful! Your imagery and phrasing are wonderful. So many lines are my favorites, but the ending with its personification,
    "It was the same season
    Just dressed in a different outfit"
    is so fitting and perfect.

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    Replies
    1. Every writer seeks to evoke a response from a reader. I greatly appreciate your positive remarks. It was a joy to write this poem. The experiences were close to my heart, my memories and that is always a great place to begin. You care about the words and ideas that dwell close to your heart.

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  5. Something about the tone of this reminds me of Ray Bradbury. Not the sci-fi aspects, but the deeply sensory nostalgia. Like others in the Northern Hemisphere, I was delightfully disoriented by your reference to the passing of summer.

    Your response to the essential question in your sidebar reminds me strongly of my father, a photographer. He saw everything--well, "through that lens" is so awful it's not even a pun, but he lived life with an awareness of what would be a telling or beautiful image.

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    Replies
    1. Wendy you humble me with your reference to Ray Bradbury. There lies in all our memories a deep sense of nostalgia. it certainly does for me. As for the photography, I believe it adds a keener sense of observation to my writing. I have always loved taking photos. We create images with words but we are often inspired by the images we gather, create.

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