Next week it is Easter. The shops are filled with chocolate eggs and bilby bunnies.
Already the Australian days are cooler and soon, on the 31st March, all Victorians will turn back their clocks one hour and embrace daylight saving. Of course this will put my time at odds with our family in Queensland. Queenslanders argue that they have enough daylight as it is, so their time stays the same. However, all states in Australia agree that the continent has four seasons, Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter
However, the first Australians understood that this continent has more than four seasons. Daylesford Nature Diary: Six seasons in the Foothill Forests is based on the six seasons Aboriginal communities used to understand the changes occurring in the flora and fauna around them. Tanya Loos, Daylesford naturalist and local newspaper columnist, lovingly illuminates the world within and around a Wombat Forest bush block – from that mysterious bonking at the bottom of the garden to why there are suddenly so many green parrots in late summer.
Acutely observed, the Daylesford Nature Diary reintroduces the six seasons for Victoria’s southern foothill forests in all their splendour.
Part What Bird Is That?, part Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories, the 36 tales of nature contained in the Daylesford Nature Diary are insightful in the knowledge they impart, while whimsical in tone.
Starting with early spring and heading round to winter, Tanya provides a series of sketches of the birds, plants and animals putting in an appearance each season. Not simply the rare and endangered, but those you might commonly expect to catch sight of from the back door.
Gently threading her way, Tanya instructs us on how the natural order of things is attuned to the rhythm of the six indigenous seasons. Life beats to their pulse.
The diary also includes a full colour, beautifully illustrated wheel calendar by Anne Mason of wall poster size as a reference and guide
All my life I have enjoyed regular camping visits to the area known to me as The Grampians, now referred to by their original indigenous name, Gariwerd. I love every inch of these beautiful mountains, in particular a scary outcrop called The Jaws of Death. Two ledges of rock cantilever over a massive drop to the valley floor below. How could any man, woman or child resist testing their courage?
At the Brambuk National Park and Cultural Centre is featured the six seasons of Gariwerd.
Six distinct weather periods are recognised in the Gariwerd seasonal cycle. These are genuine seasons that relate to climactic features as well as referencing environmental events such as plant flowering, fruiting and animal behavioural patterns.
For thousands of years, the lives of the Jardwadjali and Djab Wurrung have been intimately linked to this seasonal cycle.
Understanding the land through seasonal observations was once essential to survival. Today the cycles are a vital tool and contribute to the management of Gariwerd.
This morning I struggled into my wet-suit and plunged into Patterson Lakes for my early morning swim. It was cold, darn cold and I decided that from now on I would either kayak or bike ride until warmer days arrived. But whether I wait six seasons or four for warm weather to return, I really don’t mind. Every season has its beauty and I love them all.