Wow it’s been a while. I’ve been so busy these past months with work and Spanish classes I often forget to write anything here. I think to a large degree the novelty factor of Canberra wore off a long time ago, and I’ve slipped back into the daily grind of slouching off to work each morning and am not taking a whole lot of notice of the town around me anymore.
The trees are for the most part still barren, and although I’m seeing the odd one starting to waken, I think it’s still some months before any significant foliage returns to the city and it begins to take on a Spring-time feel. Especially given the past weeks.
A few weeks ago it snowed heavily in the Brindabellas, and I eagerly climbed up Mount Ainslie in the hope of seeing some snow in relatively close proximity to Canberra. Evidently that expedition was a bust, however little was I to know, that a once in every two or three decade cold snap was on the way. Yesterday there were a few flurries of snow in the Canberra CBD, as wave after wave of cold, moist air swept southwest Australia.
Now, for many, namely northern hemisphere folks, to whom snow may be nothing unusual, you need to take into account that we don’t even have a permanent snow line in this country. For many, seeing snow at all, let alone seeing it fall, is often a once in a lifetime experience. This was evident by the way in which all the Queenslanders on the project I’m working on, responded when snow flakes began drifting past the window (Queensland is like California for rednecks and hayseeds, for those who are wondering).
So, this morning, I dragged myself out of bed sometime before 6am, and made the long trek up Mount Ainslie. I thought it’d be a great idea to get up to the top of the hill for the crack of dawn to shoot some photos before the crowds of sight seers all raced up to the summit before work to try and pop off some happy snaps and spoil my shots.
You can tell when you’ve had a good idea, because when you get to where you’re going (in this case the summit), it’s already crowded with a bunch of people, and fortunately a lot of snow as well. As I huffed and puffed my way up the last ascent to the summit, the sound of car doors closing floated down to me and I found a decent crowd for that time of morning spread around the car park, frantically taking photographs with their pocket cameras.
As sunrise approached, the horizon lit up bright pink behind the white now carpeting the Woden valley and Brindabellas beyond. I quickly accounted for a full roll of film and found myself seriously considering the merits of digital photography, and realised afterwards I’d slipped momentarily into happy snapper mode and fired off several images in succession of the same scene but with different zooms or focal points. Fortunately I also caught a few detail and macro shots.
The last time I saw snow like this, was actually in the snowfields. But the last time I saw snow like this in an area that only rarely gets snow, would’ve been the early 1980’s, when a similar cold snap cross Victoria and it snowed heavily on the farm. I still remember the carcass of a young lamb, wedged between a rock and the fence, where my Dad had told me the lamb had been stuck there since the day the snow came, and had probably been trying to get away from the cold and crawled in there and not got out again.
Try as I might to pretend I’d seen it all before, there’s something about seeing snow transform a landscape, especially when it goes from the ordinarily raucous to deathly quiet, that really makes you take notice of what’s going on around you. I was glad to get a glimpse of it before having to back to work in the air conditioned office.