Earlier this year, everything was on fire. Or so it seemed. It was estimated that 80 percent of the Australian population suffered through the effects of long-duration smoke. The area burned was so extensive across the country, and the fires lasted for so long, that it is now called Black Summer. We’ve had an Ash Wednesday (1983), a Black Friday (1939) and a Black Saturday (2009), among others. But yep, this time we got a whole summer.
And so that seems a long time ago. We’ve moved on to another crisis – extensive in its impacts and effects on human health, the economy and ‘life as we knew it’. It makes summer feel so far removed. So when the leaves began to fire up this autumn, it has been hard to believe that we are just ending a summer that feels at least three seasons ago.
The restrictions in my state have meant I’ve only been doing rides from home for all of April and May so far. So there haven’t been any real adventures or all that much fun. I’ve been riding as much as possible, but all local rides of about 50kms or less over the same ground generally.
But as boring as that is, Mother Nature has decided to compensate for lack of adventure with a brilliant show of autumn colour. The leaves of all sorts of deciduous trees have been on fire for several weeks now. We rarely get good autumn colour in Oz. Most years the leaves just sorta turn brown at the same time as they turn a subtle colour and then fall off. You might get good colour in one species in a year, but many times the late heat in March and April just sees the leaves turn brown and go. March and April were both cooler than normal this year, and the autumn break (when the rainy season begins) came in early April. Maybe that’s been the secret to the good colour in all exotic species across the board?
Regardless, let me share some pictures of local rides over the past month – no descriptive narrative, just some fabulous trees!
There is good news. It has been one month since the dog attack and my leg is doing well. The upper, shallower wound closed at the end of week 3 and the lower, deeper wound scabbed over in the past few days. It is not infected. It is still hard and lumpy and a bit bruised around the bite site, but it doesn’t impact my life at all now. I am very happy with the rate of healing… my body is slowly getting back on track. I also had a telehealth appointment with my good Melbourne doctor and he has prescribed some artemisinin and myrrh compounds to help the lingering bartonella symptoms that are cyclic with the full moon (yes, I was a bit skeptical at first, too, but it is spot on… I could not pinpoint the sine wave cycle of worsening/lessening of symptoms, but after 4 months of paying attention, by goodness, that is the cycle! It is only appropriate that my wise man has got me on to myrrh compounds).
Restrictions have lifted just enough now in my state that we are allowed to drive places to recreate, as of Wednesday. No overnight trips yet, but I’m excited that I’ll be able to go ride somewhere other than all my local routes that I’m getting a bit tired of – time for some new roads somewhere this coming weekend when good weather, at this point, is forecast!
I’m already looking at the wall map, thinking about where we might go, and disregarding how far behind I am in my coursework and how my weekend should be spent studying instead of riding!