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See the beauty and magic in this season of the golden wattle
Many Canberrans tend to wax lyrical about the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, as the English poet John Keats has so famously described it. And rightly so, of course. Canberra's deciduous trees put on a spectacular, Instagram-worthy show during the fleeting autumn months.
However, I think Canberra puts on a much more spectacular show during late winter. Because this is the time when the Bush Capital is blooming everywhere with golden flowers: the golden wattle.
I've always felt that the time from late July-August in Canberra should be its own season. It's not so frosty as June-mid July, it's windier and feels colder than early winter, we have a lot of rain, and the golden wattles are in bloom everywhere. This is where our indigenous seasons make so much more sense than the four seasons we inherited from European settlers. In fact, according to the D'harawal calendar (D'harawal Country and language covered a large part of the Sydney basin and the Illawarra region), there are actually six distinct seasons in this part of Australia. August is known as the Time of Wiritjiribin: a cold, windy season when the lyrebirds' calls ring out through the bushland as he builds his dancing mounds to attract his potential mates. It is also the time of the flowering of the wattles.
The magic of late winter Yes, it's cold and chilly in Canberra during late winter, and we all look forward to the time when we can shake off our puffer jackets and breathe in the sweet fragrance of spring and Floriade. But if you continue to hibernate, you'll miss the magic of late winter.
Such as the eerily beautiful mists and fog that haunt these late winter mornings.
And of course, you'll come across plenty of golden wattle blooming all over the Bush Capital. The golden wattle is Australia's national floral emblem and we celebrate it every year on September 1, also known as National Wattle Day. The National Arboretum and the Australian National Botanic Gardens will be holding a range of activities to celebrate Wattle Day. Go here to find out more.
August also tends to be the wettest winter month in Canberra (which seems to be right now making up for all those dry days in June and July!). But for me, rainy days in winter have that warm, cosy, snug, Danish-hygge feel to it.
Winter may seem eternal in Canberra, especially when you're stuck in the month of June. But now it's August, the season of the golden wattle, the time of Wiritjiribin. So wrap yourself up in your puffer jacket and beanie, lose yourself in the mist and fog (or rain), and breathe in the sweet scent of the golden wattle all around you. And remember, the dark time of the year will soon be over.
"You think winter will never end, and then, when you don't expect it, when you have almost forgotten it, warmth comes and a different light."